Sunday, January 24, 2010
Nobody Gets It
There's a particularly elitist stereotype that sticks to Republicans:
Republicans support Big Business because they are the primary (and wealthy) owners of said businesses, while ingenuously claiming that keeping Big Business healthy guarantees the health and well-being of the Small American - the Working Stiff.
Given this purported Republican love affair with Corporate America, one might not expect the Republicans to actually "get it" - to get what it's like to be poor and struggling. The stereotype has been cemented by incidents small in deed but large in implication. For example, the Senior President Bush was so out of touch with the real folk that he didn't recognize a bar code in a grocery market (http://tinyurl.com/nqgl5b). Or consider the footage snagged and replayed by Michael Moore in the Movie, "Farenheit 911," when the Junior President Bush addresses a ballroom full of dressed-to-the-teeth campaign donors this way:
"This is an impressive crowd. The haves......and the have-mores. Some people call you the elite. I call you my base." http://tinyurl.com/MooreF911.
I had to go through most of the movie script to find that quote.
(Caveat - I should admit I felt stinky writing that. I don't begrudge anyone for dressing to the teeth, even Republicans. I rather like dressing up, myself. In fact, if anyone wants to take me to a fancy dinner, just say the word. And more to the point, I don't think all Republicans are wealthy and out of touch any more than I think all Jews are wealthy. But I do kinda think those special Republicans, the ones in power along with the Bushes, were rather partial to their corporate pals.)
(Well, I stopped believing this - if I ever actually did - after I watched the sausage-making negotiations of the Health Care Bill. And again, I'm talking about some shameless activity on the Hill, not about my many "commoner" Democrat friends.)
"[T]he president and his Democratic allies on Capitol Hill, seem not just helpless to deal with the crisis, but completely out of touch with the hardships that have fallen on so many."
Herbert cites a new study by the Brookings Institute demonstrating the extent of the downturn impact. The study suggests the fastest growing population of poor people are suburban, with an increase of poverty by a whopping 15.4 percent by the end of 2008. Herbert believes the American people are and will continue to be left in the dust by Washington's Pretty Party People - both Parties.
I will pray Herbert's wrong, but I think his column is worth considering. I hope you will read it. I hope President Obama is reading, too: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/23/opinion/23herbert.html.