POST-ELECTION GLOAT AND HYSTERIA
Robert Bartley writing in the World Street Journal surveys what he dubs “hysteria and name-calling” by leftwing columnists and pundits in response to the Republican victory at the polls on November 5. As a lifelong liberal, I do not see it as hysteria and name calling but as perceptive and accurate commentary on what the victory means to the ordinary people of this nation.
He quotes Bill Moyer: “If you like God in government, get ready for the rapture” because Republicans will have “monopoly control” of the government and will “turn their radical ideology into the law of the land.” This means “forcing pregnant women to surrender control over their own lives” and “using the taxing power to transfer wealth from working people to the rich,” as well as “giving corporations a free hand to eviscerate the environment.”
I see no hysteria in Moyers’ assessment of the results of the election. I see rational and logical inferences based on what the Republicans have done so far and what they would have done, and will do, with control of the House and the Senate. Can anyone who is current in following Bush and company believe that it is hysteria to say that Bush will appoint only anti-abortionists to federal courts, everyone of them as close to being a clone of Antonin Scalia and his joined-at-the-hip twin Clarence Thomas as he can find? Can anyone believe that Bush will not push his faith-based agenda and generally chip away at the wall separating church and state; or will not strengthen the corporate strangle-hold on the nation’s economy and elections by lowering the bar against corporate corruption and political bribery; or give the back of his hand to environmentalists and the go ahead to capitalists, who see only two-by- fours and deck lumber when gazing at a giant sequoia; or introduce tax legislation that favors the rich and short-changes the poor?
Bartley in response to what he calls “hysteria” attempts to answer the criticisms and concerns of liberals, which attempts are somewhat of a concession, I surmise, to the validity and truth of the liberals’ assessments. He opines: “A lot of people aspire to join the rich….” He explains defensively: “Anyway, the top half of taxpayers pay 96 percent of the income tax.” He summarizes: ”Far from being radical, that is, the agenda of the Bush GOP represents today’s only reform agenda. And it is rapidly occupying the mainstream, both politically and intellectually.”
But a lot of people do not aspire to join the rich: no person who decides to be a teacher has riches of a monetary kind in mind; no person who works in government is naive enough to believe riches are found in such employment; no person who becomes a minister or priest or social worker or artist or poet or craftsman or scientist or an employ in a dozen other occupations— has in mind getting rich.
Anyone with any intellect and a developed sense of empathy is not so blind as to believe that life has no more meaning than singlemindedly to seek riches. Some Christians apparently have read the Mother of all Sermons and have concluded that the pursuit, the acquisition and the burden of riches constitute an insuperable obstacle to entering the Kingdom. Most people want enough to live in dignity, not in luxury. And many people understand that the best way to become rich is to reduce one’s wants rather than scramble incessantly to try to satisfy one’s every want and wish, which is a scramble without end.
Mr. Bartley and his ilk are stung by the statistics that reveal that Bush’s tax breaks favor by far the wealthy. So he and others are quick to point out that the wealthy pay the greater amount of the taxes. The problem with this argument is that the wealthy get wealthy by virtue of capitalistic economics by which they acquire profit, dividends and capital gains. But all of these incomes are to a large extent derived from the expropriation of the value that labor produces but that capitalists get. Profit, observed Marx, is surplus value created by labor but pocketed by capitalists. This aspect of capitalism is the sweet enticement to the greedy.
Mr. Bartley takes issue with the liberal claim that the Bush agenda is radical. No it isn’t , he says. It’s a reform agenda and is the one that is becoming “mainstream, both politically and intellectually.”
It is a radical agenda in the sense that it deviates radically from the New Deal of FDR— a reform necessitated to repair the Republican perpetrated wreck of 1929—and from the policies of all the liberal presidents up to Ronald Reagan, the renegade who was liberal when he didn’t have it but became a right winger when he got it. He was a pocketbook politician as so many politicians are. Their political principles reflect the amount of their bank accounts, not the principles that make for a stable society.
It is true that Bush’s economic, political and geopolitical agenda is becoming mainstream; that is, it is tilting toward fascism and world hegemony. It is nothing new in history that nations arise from tribes and through sacrifice and conquest become strong republics and then in their triumphalism set out to conquer the world and shape it into their image. The Greeks evolved in like manner. So did the Romans and the British. Bush is a faux Caesar contemplating the crossing of the Rubicon with the assistance and encouragement of Cheney, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft, Karl Rove and all the other super patriotic empire builders in his administration.
Karl Rove in particular is representative of the thinking and the tactics of Bush’s inner circle of global shapers. When asked in a question session after a speech before students at the University of Utah whether he was concerned that a war in Iraq might kill 200,000 innocent Iraqi women and children, he replied with a answer typical of a small-minded demagogue: “ I am more concerned about the 3,000 people who died on Sept. 11.”
The death of 3000 on 9-11 is no justification for killing 200,000 women and children in retaliation. There is surely among other diabolic ingredients in such a statement the ingredient hysteria, a hysteria that Rove and company have fueled without cease since 9-11 in order to win on November 5. He is a machiavellian, who uses cunning, duplicity, deceit and expedience in his statecraft. Bush imitates him.