Monday, October 27, 2003

They died so that others might spin

For some time now, we've been waiting for the right opportunity to comment on the disgrace to Irish-Americanism that is Ed Gillespie, chairman of the Republican National Committee, and therefore one of the chief spinners, organisers, and fund-raisers for Dubya. We're not big fans of Dubya's policies to begin with, but to watch Gillespie put an Irish-American populist veneer over reactionary elitist policies is sickening -- but in this regard he merely mirrors his master's voice, who after all, sells his uber-WASP Andover-Yale-Harvard upbringing and his Get-Dad's-Rolodex business career as some kind of hard working blue collar achievement.

And once you've bought the image of Dubya as a hard working man, then for lots of extra money (for others), we'll also include the supposed blue-collar tax cuts as well, and don't bother asking why it is that the budgetary cost of the tax cuts to the very rich could easily pay for things like reconstruction in Iraq, the shortfall in Social Security and Medicare etc.

Gillespie likes to use his father's tale of upward mobility as an argument for the tax cuts -- even though since his dad's upward mobility would have been achieved at the time when the tax burden was rising, we're not sure how that logic works. But it's a paragon of clarity compared to the inference we are supposed to draw from this anecdote [busted link] in one of his recent speeches:

On the boats that sailed from Ireland crammed with people escaping the Famine, the Irish government posted notices in the dismal sleeping quarters with the heading, “Advice for Irish Emigrants.”

It read, in part, “In the remote parts of America an industrious youth may follow any occupation without being looked down upon or sustain loss of character and he may rationally expect to raise himself in the world by his labor. Wealth is not idolized, but there is no degradation connected with labor. On the contrary, it is honorable and held in general estimation."

This is presented as supporting evidence for why Americans like Bush's tax cuts. Let's just briefly note the reference to an "Irish government" in a period that covers Ireland's membership in the United Kingdom and move to the apparent analogy between, say, a CEO's monstrous pay package earned by appointing all his buddies to the compensation committee, and the brutal hard work of say, a homesteader in Iowa in the 1850s. And that's assuming that the unfortunate Famine emigrants, racked by starvation and disease, ever got as far as Iowa. Our thesis: Dubya's ultra-rich friends, not happy with all their cash, may soon be putting themselves up for sainthood as well. No wonder the Pope has been getting tributes from some odd places over the last few days.

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