Entry for December 19, 2005

Who knew.  All these years I thought Harold Bloom was a Republican.  Read him on Bush, Huey Long, Melville, Walt Whitman and others in the Guardian, December 17, 2005, “Reflections in the Evening Land”

Simultaneously governor and a United States senator, the canny Kingfish  uttered a prophecy that haunts me in this late summer of 2005, 70 years after his violent end: “Of course we will have fascism in America but we will call it democracy!’ 

I reflected on Huey Long (always mediated for me by his portrait as Willie Stark in Robert Penn Warren’s novel, All the King’s Men) recently, when I listened to President George W Bush addressing the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Salt Lake City, Utah. I was thus benefited by Rupert Murdoch’s Fox TV channel, which is the voice of Bushian crusading democracy, very much of the Kingfish’s variety. Even as Bush extolled his Iraq adventure, his regime daily fuses more tightly together elements of oligarchy, plutocracy, and theocracy.

At the age of 75, I wonder if the Democratic party ever again will hold the presidency or control the Congress in my lifetime. I am not sanguine, because our rulers have demonstrated their prowess in Florida (twice) and in Ohio at shaping voting procedures, and they control the Supreme Court. The economist-journalist Paul Krugman recently observed that the Republicans dare not allow themselves to lose either Congress or the White House, because subsequent investigations could disclose dark matters indeed. Krugman did not specify, but among the profiteers of our Iraq crusade are big oil (House of Bush/House of Saud), Halliburton (the vice-president), Bechtel (a nest of mighty Republicans) and so forth.

All of this is extraordinarily blatant, yet the American people seem benumbed, unable to read, think, or remember, and thus fit subjects for a president who shares their limitations. A grumpy old Democrat, I observe to my friends that our emperor is himself the best argument for intelligent design, the current theocratic substitute for what used to be called creationism. Sigmund Freud might be chagrined to discover that he is forgotten, while the satan of America is now Charles Darwin. President Bush, who says that Jesus is his “favourite philosopher”, recently decreed in regard to intelligent design and evolution: “Both sides ought to be properly taught.”

…

There is now a parody of the American Jesus, a kind of Republican CEO who disapproves of taxes, and who has widened the needle’s eye so that camels and the wealthy pass readily into the Kingdom of Heaven. We have also an American holy spirit, the comforter of our burgeoning poor, who don’t bother to vote. The American trinity pragmatically is completed by an imperial warrior God, trampling with shock and awe.

…

Though he possesses a Yale BA and honorary doctorate, our president is semi-literate at best. He once boasted of never having read a book through, even at Yale. Henry James was affronted when he met President Theodore Roos

And on he goes!

Also of interest, Jonathan Alter of News Week, December 19, Bush’s Snoopgate  reports on how the New York Times sat on the story of domestic spying for a year and how Bush summonsed editors to the White House December 6 to ask them to kill the story again, not out of fears for national security, as he complains, but out of fear of exposure of his illegal activities.

Today, Barbara Boxer, following up on John Dean’s assertion of impeachable crimes (not the first time he has intimated such) has written four unnamed legal scholars to ask if they concur. 

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