cross posted at the demise
“This [bridge scandal] is not the disaster for him that people think it is. I think it’s Miley Cyrus. It looked like a scandal when she was twerking at the VMA Awards, but it turns out that it just made her a bigger star…I also don’t think that this is going to be a scandal that is going to affect him negatively with the people in his own party. He keeps saying ‘I’m not a bully.’ Sure he’s a bully, and that’s what they like about him. If he is not a bully, who is he? He is just [Sen.] Lamar Alexander. They’re always looking for a bully in that party.”
-Bill Maher 01.14.2014, MSNBC
“(T)he definitive Rahm Emanuel story takes place in Little Rock, Ark., in the heady days after Bill Clinton was first elected President.
It was there that Emanuel, then Clinton’s chief fund-raiser, repaired with George Stephanopoulos, Mandy Grunwald and other aides to Doe’s, the campaign hangout. Revenge was heavy in the air as the group discussed the enemies – Democrats, Republicans, members of the press – who wronged them during the 1992 campaign. Clifford Jackson, the ex-friend of the President and peddler of the Clinton draft-dodging stories, was high on the list. So was William Donald Schaefer, then the Governor of Maryland and a Democrat who endorsed George Bush. Nathan Landow, the fund-raiser who backed the candidacy of Paul Tsongas, made it, too.
Suddenly Emanuel grabbed his steak knife and, as those who were there remeber it, shouted out the name of another enemy, lifted the knife, then brought it down with full force into the table.
”Dead!” he screamed.
The group immediately joined in the cathartic release: ”Nat Landow! Dead! Cliff Jackson! Dead! Bill Schaefer! Dead!”
-Rahm Emanuel, early 1990s, As reported by the New York Times and referenced by the Huffington Post
With America slip-sliding down a predetermined path towards what many of us refrain from analyzing too deeply for fear of recognizing the accuracy of the descriptor “neo-fascism”, where intentionally nameless industrialists and financiers make the laws and select our leaders and declining wages and civil rights and rising class immobility characterize the work-weeks that lead to the work-lives for the vast majority of our citizens, we have witnessed over the past years the rise to prominence in the realms of popular culture, politics and policy of that tried and true friend of the fascist, the bully.
With the elevation of George “who cares what you think” Bush to the presidency, the bully-in-chief and his consigliore Dick Cheney became the standard bearers for the type of rightwing bully-boy behaviors that are now an accepted aspect of American political culture. And, we are all familiar with the bullying Bill Os, Bollingers, Limbaughs and their imitators and sycophants across the spectrum of cable television. And many, as referenced in the comments above by Mr. Maher, recognize that bullies are sought out and welcomed by the republican establishment and are swooned over by many in the republican, independent and libertarian sectors of America.
But, Americans of all stripes really really love our bullies. One has only to look at the cross-party admiration for the studied thuggishness and self-aware assholery that characterizes the public ‘style’ of New Jersey’s own boorish big-mouth Chris Christie to recognize that Americans can’t resist a swaggering and loutish defender of selfishness. And a quick review of the choices made by this attorney as to who he has chosen to defend in this great land will make quite obvious that what we have in Christie is not a renegade, not a reformer, not an iconoclast, not an rough and ready individualist willing to “take on the vested interests” but rather a shill, a pitch-man, a weakling whose desire, like all bullies, is to please the cool kids…America’s rich and felonious.
Christie made his way to a key note speech before the 2012 Republican National Convention (after losing a re-election bid for a New Jersey county board position) by working at the law firm of Dughi, Hewit & Palatucci lobbying the New Jesrsey State Legislature on topics that regular citizens, looking back from this the beginning of the 6th year of the New Depression, may now have some awareness of; lobbying in support of energy deregulation on behalf of GPU Energy and lobbying in support of the Securities Industry Association to ensure that the sellers of securities in New Jersey could never be charged with violating that state’s consumer protection laws. From there, the Garden State bully, was hired as a US Attorney by the Bush Administration, where he prosecuted (you guessed it) a bunch of New Jersey Democratic lawmakers, while at the same time entering into multiple “non-prosecution agreements” (of the type that the Obama Justice Department made into a form of art following the banking company felonies and failures of 2007-8) that included for example, Christie’s steering of a 52 million dollar “monitoring contract” to his former boss John Ashcroft’s company that was required as part of one of the slap-on-the-wrist & slap-in-the-face agreements that US Attorney Christie entered into with a company called Zimmer Holdings. Suffice to say, New Jersey’s pugilistic political potentate is nothing more than a bought and paid for set of brass knuckles for the class of politically connected moneyed magnates in Jersey.
Today we hear from a Democrat, Barak Obama, who, when the frightening specter of health care as human right for all regardless of their income or their wealth was raised as a prospect famously threatened any member of his party who had the temerity to not agree to the save-our-insurance-cartel law called the Affordable Care Act, who spoke about how Americans must give up their constitutional protections because he has been so informed by the surveillance industrial complex. Obama is not a man that most would characterize as a bully – meaning, he is savvy enough to not wear his disdain for us poor “folks” on his sleeve. But, in the known by all people who attended elementary school dynamic of bullyism, we know bully brutalization is often carried out as a mechanism of enforcement at the behest of the “powerful cool kids”, and Obama’s bullying of his so-called base has been a hallmark of his presidency.
The legal scholar Jonathan Turley noted that Obama, in his speech regarding his administration’s unlawful surveillance of world civilization, rehashed his role supporting the powerful over American citizens. Turley related that, “(t)he speech had the feel of a car salesman coming back from “speaking with the manager” and saying that he is able to offer a deal that no one likes but he wants to offer because he likes the customer. Of course, this “deal” does not require our consent.” While it’s true that Obama didn’t tell America, “Look you dumbasses, this shit ain’t gonna change – it’s for your protection and any mouth from any of you is gonna land you in GITMO, capisce?”, the utility of Obama for the powerful neofascisti is the smiling dulcet tones he uses to bring his followers under the boot of the total surveillance state that supports both military imperialism and corporate hegemony. The man is a sweet talking liar whose goal is to bring us as docile sheep willingly into the maw of the modern corporate/militarist state.
But, we do know that Obama can do the bully thing too, as when he mocked rank and file Democrats who want health care, an end to our world-wide imperial invasions and the jailing banking felons when this bully told an audience of wealthy donors on the QT;
“Democrats – just congenitally, tend to get…tend to see the glass as half empty. If we get an historic health bill passed – oh well, the public option wasn’t there. If you get the financial reform bill passed, then, well I don’t know about this particular derivatives rule, I’m not sure I’m satisfied with that. And gosh, we haven’t yet brought about world peace and – I thought that was going to happen quicker. You know who you are.”
Fucking hilarious all of them “folks” who want peace, healthcare as a fundamental right and equal justice under law, ain’t they? One can always suss out the allegiances of lying assclowns when they are having a pillow talk with the cool kids.
Also recently, and revealingly, was the popular reaction when the story broke that presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was revealed to be keeping a super-secret tricky-dick-nixon type of ‘enemies list’. Quite unsurprisingly, the bully receptive pundits all agreed that women politicians should be able to keep enemy hit lists and Hillary’s hit list reveals her to be a formidable politician. Not trustworthy, not in sync with American citizens with respect to issues such as the rule of law or illegal wars or inequality or environmental degradation – none of those things. But the fact that Hillary is taking names and poised to kick some ass when she gets the unbridled power to do so…well, may as well coronate the bully queen right now! Also evident from the drool dripping from the pundit’s lips as they analyzed was that they’re aching for a matchup between the Bully from Bayone (actually Newark, NJ- 9 miles from Bayone) and Bully from Bloomingdale (actually Park Ridge, IL- 20 miles from Bloomingdale). Why? Because are both aggressive bulling types who are sure to have a spectacular fight fest – clearly evidencing the fact that our press corps is uninterested in the issues facing Americans in these unbelievably trying times, but rather are spoiling for a punch fest of a 2 year presidential race- can’t wait.
Now I am sure that some readers don’t perceive the “beautiful family” of the Obamas or the “hardest working family in and out of the oval office” the Clintons to be bullies at all, and I realize that the appellation of the descriptor, “mean assed protectors of the neofascisti” is a little harsh. True. But both of these nice and friendly and Democratic partnerships did in fact hire an enforcer to do any actual bully-boy brutality required of them so they could hand a docile population over to the rich and felonius who they can pilfer the life savings from and set under the boot heel of corporo-military surveillance, and it was the same exact asshat – Rahm Emanuel (see second opening quote, referencing another Democratic leader’s enemy list).
All Democrats should strive to remember the philosophy of brother Rahm that propelled him into the highest realms of power to be a “sharp elbowed” (as George Bush described himself) asshole representing the interests of only the elite that this self-same bully has been trying to be a part of for his entire life;
“You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. … This crisis provides the opportunity for us to do things that you could not before.”
Instead of what party partisans often remember Rahm saying (as they smile happily at the notion that he’s our very own bully-boy), “(Republicans) can go fuck themselves.”
Caricature from DonkeyHotey licensed under Creative Commons