Friday, October 05, 2007

Being poor or sick or downtrodden truly is funny... if you're a rich conservative.

Jill digs into the current conservative movement and pulls out the memory of Lee Atwater who, despite his deathbed realization that he was a heartless bastard, completely devoid of compassion, invented the smashmouth politics of the Reagan era and mentored one Karl Rove.
The middle class was there only to manipulate, to pull them over to the side of the wealthy with rhetoric about shining cities on a hill and false promises that if you only worked as hard as they did, you too could enter the club.


The problem is that after nearly thirty years of uninterrupted Republican and DLC rule, the middle class is finally realizing that the door to the country club is padlocked.


But inside the beltway, American workers dealing with lower pay, fewer benefits, and spiralling health insurance costs are the new welfare queens. For those whose jobs are not in any danger of being outsourced and whose benefits are secure, that those Americans who haven't bought into the I Got Mine And Fuck You Doctrine is hysterically funny.
She then goes to Paul Krugman.
... Ronald Reagan thought the issue of hunger in the world’s richest nation was nothing but a big joke. Here’s what Reagan said in his famous 1964 speech “A Time for Choosing,” which made him a national political figure: “We were told four years ago that 17 million people went to bed hungry each night. Well, that was probably true. They were all on a diet.”

Today’s leading conservatives are Reagan’s heirs. If you’re poor, if you don’t have health insurance, if you’re sick — well, they don’t think it’s a serious issue. In fact, they think it’s funny.

On Wednesday, President Bush vetoed legislation that would have expanded S-chip, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, providing health insurance to an estimated 3.8 million children who would otherwise lack coverage.

In anticipation of the veto, William Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard, had this to say: “First of all, whenever I hear anything described as a heartless assault on our children, I tend to think it’s a good idea. I’m happy that the president’s willing to do something bad for the kids.” Heh-heh-heh.

Some say that Kristol was taken out of context. I don't think so. Krugman's point is that these guys are always willing to make a joke out of the suffering of the poor and Kristol did that intentionally. If you need proof, look for yourself here. In any case, Kristol, like Bush, born with a silver spoon in his mouth doesn't deserve to be defended for any of his actions or beliefs. He represents the worst of the educated members of the movement conservatives. If he were alive today, Charles Dickens would have made Kristol into a literary caricature on the level of Seth Pecksniff. ("Some people likened him to a direction-post, which is always telling the way to a place, and never goes there." Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens)

Krugman continues:

Most conservatives are more careful than Mr. Kristol. They try to preserve the appearance that they really do care about those less fortunate than themselves. But the truth is that they aren’t bothered by the fact that almost nine million children in America lack health insurance. They don’t think it’s a problem.

“I mean, people have access to health care in America,” said Mr. Bush in July. “After all, you just go to an emergency room.”

From a spoiled, drunken, son of wealthy oil family who, despite being unable to run a business successfully, has a personal fortune in the millions and has probably never, like a majority of his ilk, had to cross the threshold of an emergency room door as his sole access to health care.

It’s not just the poor who find their travails belittled and mocked. The sick receive the same treatment.

Before the last election, the actor Michael J. Fox, who suffers from Parkinson’s and has become an advocate for stem cell research that might lead to a cure, made an ad in support of Claire McCaskill, the Democratic candidate for Senator in Missouri. It was an effective ad, in part because Mr. Fox’s affliction was obvious.

And Rush Limbaugh — displaying the same style he exhibited in his recent claim that members of the military who oppose the Iraq war are “phony soldiers” and his later comparison of a wounded vet who criticized him for that remark to a suicide bomber — immediately accused Mr. Fox of faking it. “In this commercial, he is exaggerating the effects of the disease. He is moving all around and shaking. And it’s purely an act.”
Pure Lee Atwater. Don't engage the debate - destroy the debater.
Of course, minimizing and mocking the suffering of others is a natural strategy for political figures who advocate lower taxes on the rich and less help for the poor and unlucky. But I believe that the lack of empathy shown by Mr. Limbaugh, Mr. Kristol, and, yes, Mr. Bush is genuine, not feigned.

Mark Crispin Miller, the author of “The Bush Dyslexicon,” once made a striking observation: all of the famous Bush malapropisms — “I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family,” and so on — have involved occasions when Mr. Bush was trying to sound caring and compassionate.

By contrast, Mr. Bush is articulate and even grammatical when he talks about punishing people; that’s when he’s speaking from the heart. The only animation Mr. Bush showed during the flooding of New Orleans was when he declared “zero tolerance of people breaking the law,” even those breaking into abandoned stores in search of the food and water they weren’t getting from his administration.

And, as Krugman says, the plight of the poor, the sick and the unfortunate is demonstrated by the demeanor of prominent conservatives. They think it's funny.

These are the kids of the "Lucky Sperm Club" who purport to be leaders. The trouble is, they didn't achieve their positions through their own endeavours. They inherited them.

The Lucky Sperm Club. A select (albeit unofficial) club populated by powerful men who owe their exalted status in life not to talent, intelligence, creativity, or hard work but to winning the sperm lotto by having the great good fortune to be born into a powerful family.
A club which is closed, because the only way you get in is to have been born on the right side of the padlock.

No comments: