Wednesday, June 30, 2004


In a Salon .com article by Mary Jacoby on past Republican House Majority leader, Texan Dick Armey, we learn that verbal abuse of opponents is just the way Republicans do business. Dick Cheney’s verbal abuse of Senator Leahy is only the tip of the iceberg. Armey called Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank, Barney “Fag” and he’s called Hillary Clinton a Marxist. It, of course, takes a Fascist to recognize a Marxist. I wonder if Armey wants to take back his name calling?

Combined with verbal attacks is the Republican tendency to ignore facts in order to push their ideology. Tom Delay, another Texan not strong on intellect, ridiculed the findings of the conservative Heritage Foundation when it weighed in on the cost of the Medicare prescription bill. The Heritage Foundation’s figures showed that the Bush administration was low-balling the cost of the drug benefit. Delay told the vice-president of the Heritage Foundation that his work was “uninformed”. Turns out that Delay was uninformed and a man on a mission to hide the truth.

In the same Medicare debate, Richard Foster, Medicare’s chief financial officer, “revealed after the vote that the Bush administration had threatened to fire him if he informed Congress of his true, higher cost estimate: not $400 billion but as much as $600 billion over 10 years.”

Intimidation and threats, that’s the way these Republican guys work. American Enterprise Institute's Norm Ornstein reports that Delay, “has taken every norm the Legislature has operated on and shredded it.... On a scale of 1 to 10, Democrats abused their majority status at about a level 5 or 6. Republicans today have moved it to about an 11.”

Republicans are trying to pack lobbying groups with Republicans according to Jacoby. “For years, Norquist [Americans For Tax Reform president] and Delay have worked to purge the nation’s corporate lobby shops of Democrats; companies that fill GOP campaign coffers with money are rewarded with access to lawmakers. Enemies don’t get their calls returned—without access, they lose clients. Access is coordinated by the White House, often through the office of another powerful Texan, political strategist Karl Rove.” These tactics are politicians meddling in private enterprise, using the power of political office to extort business to favor the businesses they the Republicans favor. This is rich men using political office to enrich themselves. No wonder Cheney’s Halliburton is getting such a good deal.

Republican government is not and never has been government for the people; it’s government by and for the rich. On every hand, they stifle debate and democracy and encourage plunder. Any other time in history, when people were literate and read their newspapers and paid close attention to what was going on, this government would be in deep doodoo, but in another place I came across the fact that another of Bush’s largest support groups is among married white males with little education.

Now, look, I was once uneducated too and had to work very hard to become a literate, reading member of society, so I don’t take kindly to knocking men who aren’t interested in learning anything. Being an avid reader is an acquired taste. That’s their choice if they don’t want to do the work which to them seems a waste of time. If they didn’t think reading deeply and often was a waste of time, they’d be putting their time into it. But, this being America, we must honor their choice to be illiterate.

And these illiterate men can say they have facts, but it’s not just facts that count. Anybody can listen their way to getting some factual information, but the ability to read and digest long and complex arguments comes only with the skill of reading. Reading equals thinking. And with facts only, twisted by men who want to con you, you are at their mercy. Like a very smart man, once said, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” And, I add, that sucker doesn't read very well. Too bad for him and for us who do.

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