Saturday, January 08, 2005

Home of the Brazen

There's been some controversy generated by the consumer-in-chief's plans to move forward with the inaugural festivities this month. Even a fellow Texas moneybags, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, thinks the money might be better spent on brown foreign people without homes who have lost everything:

"My point was that this was a great opportunity for the president to stand up and say that we are committed to aid, but we need to take a first step towards austerity so we can reduce the deficit," Cuban said Friday via e-mail.
"A great way to demonstrate that first step would be to have the inauguration, but cancel the parties and request the uncommitted donations be donated to the relief effort," he said."
But what about the right of the Bushies to have their big party?

"Asked if it was fair to deny Bush supporters a celebration, Cuban, who said he voted for the president, replied, "Since when is the level of celebration defined by the amount spent?"
Even Clinton has defended this egregious in-your-face rah-rah, with the mealy-mouthed excuse that:

"I voted for the other fellow, but President Bush won this election fair and square. And he ought to - he ought to be able to have his inaugural. And his supporters should be able to celebrate it, however they see fit. And I don't think that it will detract one red cent from the money that we will give privately or publicly to this relief effort."
Well, maybe not, but this is not an issue of money, Bill. It's about symbolism, and gestures of morality like self-denial, compassion, propriety, coming as it does at a time when the country has never been so polarized, and death has never been on such friendly terms with our Dauphin. But it would be too much to expect that these people have any sense of fineness, or subtlety, or that they would try to heal wounds. Nah. Such suggestions are foolish at best, outrageous at worst! How could any decent supportive American deny Bush and his scaffolding this moment in the sun?

Imagine that. Imagine being put off by a nasty, selfish little frat boy who has never been denied anything, just because he wants to spend more money than has ever been spent before on coronation activities designed to mirror those of the most profligate monarchy during a time of war and natural tragedy unseen since the days of Vietnam?

Imagine suggesting that Bush ought to generate some political good will capital by donating the money to tsunami victim relief, instead of further aggravating the perceptions of class division and polarization that have been so exacerbated by his administration's policies over the last 4 years?

Imagine suggesting that Bush himself display some of the class and humility and sense of decorum of past presidents by denying himself an opportunity of public self-puffery?

Why, what naieve and provincial ideas! Why start now? And why should we expect anything remotely resembling nobility from one of the most common and classless individuals ever to hold the office? One thing Americans like, and that's continuity. They like it in their restaurants, their movies, and their politicians. Let's not disappoint them.

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