Recently sighted in Downtown Washington D.C.: A howling elephant.
The Club for Growth, a Republican fundraising organization has created an advertisement designed to attack Howard Dean. In it, an actor reads the following line:
"I think Howard Dean should take his tax-hiking, government-expanding, latte-drinking, sushi-eating, Volvo-driving, New York Times-reading, body-piercing, Hollywood-loving, left-wing freak show back to Vermont, where it belongs!"
From a perspective of style alone, I'm not impressed with this particular example of the Republican leadership's angry rhetoric. I mean, what does it say that the Republican leadership has to go out and hire a couple of actors, a director, a staff of writers and a film crew just in order to insult Howard Dean's supporters - for loving Hollywood?
The Republican President of the Club for Growth explains this unprovoked personal attack on the supporters of Howard Dean by saying, "What we're trying to show is Dean is supported by the cultural elite and not by anyone with middle-American values and finances."
Ahem. Hello, Club for Growth? Can I have your attention, please? I am middle class. I have middle class finances. I live in rural America. Doesn't that make me a member of "Middle America", or am I just one of those Americans that just doesn't get to join your club of self-proclaimed Real Americans?
To the Republican Club for Growth, I say this: Don't you dare try to tell me that Howard Dean is not supported by "anyone with middle-American values and finances". I use my middle class finances to make donations to the Howard Dean campaign. I prove your outrageous statement wrong.
As for "middle-American values", I don't know where the Republican Club for Growth has been over the last decade, but it's the middle class that has made drinking lattes, and other kinds of fun coffees, popular. Cappuccino machines , most of which sell lattes, have been put up in gas stations all over America, even in Texas, so that hard-working middle-Americans can stay awake after a hard day's work as they make a long commute home.
Where does the Republican Club for Growth get off telling hard-working Americans that they're "freaks" because they sometimes pick up a cup of coffee at a gas station on the way home from work?
When the Republicans smear people who find comfort after work by drinking a nice cup of coffee, they're not just insulting Howard Dean. The Republicans are insulting the entire middle class.
By the way, I don't live in Vermont. I don't know anybody in Vermont. I live in rural Upstate New York. I was born here, in Oswego, the capital of America's snow belt, where we just had an 18-inch snow in 6 hours. I love it here, in spite of the hard work of getting through our winters. So where do the Republicans get off telling me that I ought to have to move to Vermont, just because I don't agree with radical Republican politics?
The Republican leadership lately seems to be eager to engage in a kind of cultural cleansing reminiscent of the genocidal tactics of the Serbs under Slobodan Milosevic. No, the Republican leadership is not calling for anyone to go out and kill political dissidents, but take a look at the script for that advertisement again. Here the Republican leadership is, telling the mainstream Democratic base that because it doesn't share the Club for Growth's extremist conservative cultural values, the Democratic mainstream should move "to Vermont, where it belongs".
What are the Republicans trying to suggest, telling political progressives that they're not welcome to live anywhere but Vermont or a tiny neighborhood in Southern California? Who are they to tell us where we belong, where we can and cannot live? It's hard to believe, but the Republican leadership is now on record as calling for their opponents to be moved into cultural ghettos.
Is this REALLY what Republicans vote for?
You know, I know plenty of ordinary Republicans, and I'll tell you that they just don't talk like this. They never threaten me, or insult me, or tell me that I have to move out of their neighborhood just because I happen to disagree with them about politics.
Am I to believe that my Republican neighbors really hate me as much as this Republican-funded advertisement suggests? Do my Republican friends really think that my family is a "freak show"?
I don't buy it, and for that matter, neither do my Republican friends and neighbors. I guarantee you that none of the Republicans that I know are members of the Club for Growth. None of them are that nasty and mean. More to the point, none of them are that filthy rich.
See, the dirty little secret of the Republican Party is that it's really two parties. There's the ordinary, run-of-the-mill Republican, like the people I know and work with. Then, there's the other Republican Party, the party that takes place behind closed doors.
This second, secretive Republican Party is made up of private clubs, like the Club for Growth. None of my Republican friends and neighbors get to join these clubs, because the clubs only admit members who are able to pay huge amounts of money.
Howard Dean's campaign is funded by contributions that average just under 100 dollars. That's checks from people like me - ordinary folks, or, what the Club for Growth might call "Middle America". The campaign of George W. Bush, on the other hand, relies on big checks that average between 1500 and 2000 dollars each! Does the Club for Growth expect us to believe that the people writing 2000 dollar checks to the George W. Bush re-election committee are from "Middle America"?
Well, yes, they do expect us to believe it. Shame on us if we do.
Groups like the Club for Growth are not made up of people from "Middle America". They're made up of the super wealthy kind of Republicans who can afford to give out thousands of dollars at a time, just as pocket change. They're members of the Republican elite.
That's right, I said Republican elite. I'm not talking about the average Republican who just works hard for a living and picks up a cappuccino at the gas station on the way home. I'm talking about the filthy rich corporate executives who create groups like the Club for Growth. They're an elite, and they're abusing the average, working Republicans that I know.
Think about it? Who's the real elite? People who pick up a rich and creamy coffee from the gas station on the way home from work, then enjoy a nice movie from Hollywood on the VCR as they relax before another 9 to 5 slog? The Club for Growth wants you to believe that these people are a "cultural elite", a "freak show" that threatens the American way of life.
Then there's the fat cats behind the Club for Growth, people who were either born rich or got rich the same way that most corporate executives get rich: making millions of dollars in special bonuses as a reward for cutting jobs and lowering the wages of ordinary working Americans. Now that's an elite: The Republican elite.
I don't know what's worse, the Republican elite trying to buy off our democracy, or the Republican elite taking out big advertisements just to insult us for not having as much money as they do.
This inhabitant of "Middle America" has had enough, and I'm betting that other "Middle Americans" have had enough too. As individuals, we may not have as much money as the members of the Republican elite clubs, but when we come together we have many more resources than any corporate executive could hope to have.
At least for now, America has a democracy of "one person, one vote". Come election day, I know where my vote goes. I'll be voting NO to the insults of the Republican elite.
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