I actually blogged on this before, questioning the phenomenon, and while I still haven't figured it out completely, I'm getting closer to understanding the tactics used to create this perverse logic.
The wealthy speak the language of their "peasants". It's despicable, but brilliant.
George Bush belongs to one of the wealthiest families in America. His grandfather, Preston Bush, made a fortune financing the Nazis. And the Bush Administration was by far the best friends that Wall Street ever had. And yet much of his support came from Americans with little help of acquiring much wealth.
Karl Rove insisted that when President Bush had "a choice between Wall Street and Main Street," he came on down on the side of "the little guy." And yet the exact opposite was true. Elitism masquerading as populism:
And Bush's tactics are not his alone, but part of the neoconservative strategy.
A president who believes in "preventive" military wars certainly understands the value of preventive rhetoric in political wars. At the start of the 2003 battle over his "jobs and growth plan," while talking to reporters at his Crawford, Texas, ranch on January 2, Bush said, "I understand the politics of economic stimulus—that some would like to turn this into class warfare. That's not how I think."
What should it be called, then, when a father and his son attacked rival Michael Dukakis for representing the "Harvard boutique"? Or when Bush Id AP reporter Scott Lindlaw—during a month long vacation at his ranch said--Most Americans don't sit in Martha's Vineyard swilling white wine." Or when W., telling how a teacher and a fireman had difficulty finding a doctor during a pregnancy, blasted high medical malpractice rates, concluding with "What we want is quality healthcare, not rich trial lawyers"? Writing in the Washington Post, E. J. Dionne observed that "if setting up a teacher and a firelighter against 'rich trial lawyers' is not class warfare, then Karl Marx is the current editor of the Wall Street Journal's editorial page."
In George W. Bush we have a president who's a fourth-generation business heir, a man who never really pounded the pavement but accumulated his wealth through family contacts and favors. As president, he moves aggressively and successfully to enact a fiscal program that (a) reduces taxes on the "investor class" more in percentage terms than on the middle class, b) abolishes the "dead billionaires' tax" (estate tax), (c) shifts the burden of taxes to "earned" income and away from "unearned income" (dividends and capital gains), and, for good measure, (d) changes IRS practice so fewer multimillionaires are audited and more poor people are. (The number of civil fraud penalties against corporations plunged two-thirds, from 555 in 1993 to 159 in 2002.) Given that tax cuts for the top I percent equal all the cuts to the bottom 90 percent—and given the trillions of dollars quietly shifting from the accounts of labor and future generations to today's investor class—George W. Bush is redistributing wealth far more than George McGovern or Huey Long ever dreamed possible. (1)
In Ontario, Neocon Mike Harris used this tactic with NDP leader Bob Rae, often referring to him as "The Professor", because he was a Rhodes Scholar. He also feigned empathy with those struggling due to his policies, by suggesting that he knew what it was like to have to live on beans and bologna, something his parents were quick to refute. Harris never ate those things out of necessity, if ever. He grew up in an affluent home.
Stephen Harper, also grew up never knowing hunger, and yet he tries to paint himself as a man of the people. Opposing those who live in "Ivory Towers", to justify his cuts to the Arts and the Draconian crime bills. And like Bush, who criticized rival Michael Dukakis for representing the "Harvard boutique", Harper is constantly using "Harvard" terms to discredit Michael Ignatieff, who not only got his PhD from there, but also taught at Harvard for about five years.
And let's not forget during the last debates, when Harper pretended to understand how the unemployed felt, by saying that he himself had been unemployed for several months. Yet when reporters later asked him about it, he admitted that he was sitting at home waiting for an election, while his wife ran a lucrative printing business. Her biggest client was the Reform Party that he would be running for. That's not unemployed, it's lazy.
And then there's Rob Ford, another millionaire trying to speak "peasant". And he brings on board yet another millionaire spokesperson for the "little guy", Don Cherry.
And don't even get me started on the corporate sponsored Tea Party.
We have got to start breaking down the Neocon language. Corporations are funnelling huge amounts of money to think tanks and foundations, all attempting to convince citizens that extreme wealth held by a few is good for us. THINK!
Does that make any sense to you? THINK!
Are the seniors (Baby Boomers) really at fault? THINK!
Is Stephen Harper really a Tory? THINK!
Should Canadians go further into debt to give corporations another huge gift? THINK!
And when you're done thinking, VOTE!
It's time to take this country back, because the only ones feeding from the public trough are the gluttons, and the Harper government is spoon feeding them.
1. The Book on Bush: How George W. (mis) Leads America, By Eric Alterman and Mark Green, Penguin Books, 2004, ISBN: 0-670-03273-5, Pg, 54-55