Everyones talking about cooperation and bipartisanship Bringing America Together, as the Bushmen say. Thats the official slogan of the corporate-military state, in case you hadnt heard. Quoting Scott Shuger in Slate: Imagine what they could have come up with if they hadnt been robbed of four weeks of valuable transition time!
I dont know what Id do without Shuger in the mornings. His crisp, daily digests of Americas leading papers give me the news I need without the personalities. Its what NPR must be to other people, only I cant stand the sound of Nina Totenbergs teeth clicking together. Similarly, I cant read through a whole issue of The New York Times anymore theres something so white about the Grey Lady lately.
Thus to our own Democratic governor, Howard Dean, moderate extraordinaire, who was quoted in Sundays Times on the subject of states rights that is, President Selects sudden re-conversion to Republican doctrine that The Federal Government is Bad For You. According to the Times: Across the spectrum of domestic policy issues, from health and welfare to education, transportation and environmental protection, the new administration promises to shift power from the federal government to the states, and state officials of both parties said they expected the promises to be kept.
You may wonder how President Select who owes his White House victory solely to the collusion of the last word in federal authority, the U.S. Supreme Court can be so earnest now about the 10th Amendment, which guarantees the states all powers not specifically granted to the federal government. Select prefers to regard the states as partners, not interest groups, whatever that means, and Howard agrees with him.
I do believe that the states will end up with more flexibility to manage Medicaid and other health and human-service programs, Dr. Dean declares, having told us already in his inaugural address that he wont dictate the direction of health care in Vermont. I have deliberately avoided laying out the specifics of how I believe our three goals of cost control, reducing the cost shift and universal access should be achieved, Dean said. I want this to be our plan, not my plan.
You see? Such cooperation! Such bipartisanship! There followed the obligatory words about consensus on how to proceed not consensus on health care, note, only on proceeding to it followed by pieties in the Bushman mode: At this moment we are not divided. We are Vermonters. At this moment, we are united in one mission, etc., etc. Riiight.
Of course, Dr. Dean will be proposing cuts in Medicaid benefits and higher co-pays for Medicaid recipients, which in any case are already in effect. Please dont take this as a sign of dictating anything. Given the composition of the Legislature this season, Dr. Deaths measures should have no trouble passing, and then, you see, it wont be his fault.
Peace in our time, eh, Howard? Im one of the people who didnt vote for you, as it happens, not because I think youre a bad executive, but because I think youre a bad doctor. I dont think youre a doctor at all anymore, and I wish youd stop calling yourself one. Wheres Neville Chamberlain when you need him?
Better get used to it, anyhow, because this is how its going to be under the Bushmen words saying one thing and hands doing just the reverse. You can see this already in the composition of Selects proposed cabinet, which may be diverse in appearance but is purely corporate, and purely right-wing in fact.
Im not the first to point this out, obviously indeed, everyone is pointing it out but on it goes, all the same. Why should we be surprised? Weve just seen the first wholly artificial presidential election in American history. You may not have noticed, because the dogs of the press are so busy writing articles about themselves and each other, and talking so much on so many channels at once, I think there may be a shortage of hounds in the pack just now.
This is the saddest part of the spectacle the dismantling of American democracy is taking place right before our eyes. Weve got the best of American reporting and investigative journalism covering the same event, all the time, and the only result is theater absurdist theater, at that. Everythings the opposite of what it seems. And while our bipartisan cooperators squabble over Selects more egregious nominations especially the repulsive John Ashcroft as U.S. Attorney General theyll shoo in Colin Powell, the coziest, cuddliest, whitest general since Hindenburg, and help the Bushmen toward their goal, which is the militarization of the government.
Selects lack of a popular mandate will mean nothing in this scenario. The agendas set and will be carried out as announced gifts to the rich, theft from the poor, religious charity in place of social services, education reform as a means to segregated schools. And lets not forget the Missile Defense Shield, opposed by our allies and insane on the surface. Theyre going to do exactly what they want, and the excuse theyll give is the economy.
Well talk about the economy next time, children, if we can see our way past culture, and if Im still allowed to write. I leave you with a quote from Select, taken from CNNs news broadcast of December 18, 2000, and guaranteed verbatim: If this were a dictatorship, itd be a heck of a lot easier just so long as Im the dictator, heh, heh.
Howard has nothing to worry about.