281 to 1

I’m reading Mark Crispin Miller’s The Bush Dyslexicon, a witty but deadly serious analysis of Bush’s real as opposed to advertised nature, and what the election of such an ignorant, unqualified, spiteful man says about US politics and media. Miller makes, for example, one point that doesn’t get made nearly often enough or loudly enough – that Bush and his propagandists succeed by conflating ignorance with poverty – intellectual poverty with literal, financial poverty.

However, the comparison with Andrew Jackson is, to put it mildly, problematic. That military hero was, of course, a fiery democrat…When ‘the laws’ are used ‘to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful,’ Jackson wrote in 1832, ‘the humble members of society – the farmers, mechanics, and laborers – who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their Government.’ Our president, on the other hand, is at the service only of the haves – as any cursory study of his record will make clear…

This calculated, transparent, insulting flim-flam serves a dual purpose: it gets a thicky like Bush elected, and it deceives a lot of people about the grotesque and ever-growing inequality of the US system, where CEOs make 281 times what their workers do. No problem. There’s a rich scion of privilege in the White House who got into Andover, Yale and Harvard on family connections, but he doesn’t know anything and he can’t put a coherent sentence together, therefore he’s just plain folks. Right.

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