Just Above Sunset
March 7, 2004 - Kulturkampf? Blitzkrieg? Why would a critic of George Bush use such words?
Sidney Blumenthal is a
former senior adviser to President Clinton and author of The Clinton Wars - a book which explains, in detail,
just who was out to “get” Bill Clinton and when, and who paid for it. And
he’s a man with a grudge. Here’s something he just published regarding
Bush’s new culture war against gays and uppity scientists and who know who else....
The launch of his Kulturkampf has been a blitzkrieg. Bush
proposed a constitutional amendment against gay marriage. He dismissed two scientists
who dissented on his bioethics board, which he has used to ban forms of stem cell research, replacing them with adherents
of the religious right. Bush made a recess appointment of William Pryor of Alabama
as a federal judge, blocked in the Senate for his extremism. Pryor had said that
"abortion is murder” and supported the building of an altar of the 10 commandments
in a courthouse. Then the attorney general, John Ashcroft, subpoenaed the medical
records of women who have had abortions at planned parenthood clinics.
Well, his popularity didn’t
exactly jump due to all this.
The born-again Bush, who reconstructed his self-image after 9/11 as a messianic leader, assumed that the agendas of the neocons and the theocons were one and the same. However, Bush outsourced his foreign policy on the Middle East and Israel to the neocons in part for an electoral purpose, hoping to capture the Jewish vote, which will not be fulfilled because of his anxious devotion to the theocons.
Cool. Each part of the base was concerned with different, contradictory things.
The neocons and the theocons were bound together in reaction against the 1960s for different reasons: the neocons by foreign policy, the theocons by their continuing fundamentalist revolt against modernity. Under Ronald Reagan, this coalition was held together in the crusade against godless communism. But George Bush is haunted by what happened next to his father.
Yep, what are you going
to do when what Ronald Reagan called “the evil empire” is gone. Find
another, of course. The Muslim hoards and the gay guys! They’ll do.
Just as Bush stokes the culture war, Mel Gibson enters, sprinkling holy gasoline on the fires. Only in the combustible atmosphere Bush has fostered could Gibson's grand guignol version of an anti-Semitic medieval passion play, The Passion of the Christ, become the number one box-office hit. This is the ultimate Mad Max escapade: blowing up the cultural contradictions of American conservatism.
Yep, the culture war is
underway. And it's a mess. Gibson
forgot the Jews are the good guys now - killing Palestinian children (by mistake) and building big walls to keep them out
(Bush chants again and again Ariel Sharon is a “man of peace”). Mel,
get it straight! Jews are victims of the Islamic bombers killing their
children! They aren’t the bad guys!
They may vote Republican in the fall! Man, you just can’t depend
on religious zealots anymore....
With his culture war the son is echoing another political error of the father, who alienated Jews
and Catholics by permitting his 1992 convention to be used as a platform for the religious evangelical right. This latest revival is frightening Jews, cautioning American Catholics (overwhelmingly of the liberal John
XXIII/Vatican II persuasion, and holding the same view on abortion as other Americans), and scourging mainline Protestants. The more Bush supplicates his base, the more he repels the others. Moreover, Bush is running against a Democrat who's a modern Catholic, with lineage to the oldest mainline
Protestant families of New England and Jewish ancestry.
Oh well. The modern world is overrated, isn’t it?
At Harvard Business School, thirty years ago, George Bush was a student of mine. I still vividly remember him. In my class, he declared that
"people are poor because they are lazy.” He was opposed to labor
unions, social security, environmental protection, Medicare, and public schools. To
him, the antitrust watch dog, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Securities Exchange Commission were unnecessary hindrances
to "free market competition.” To him, Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal was
See President George Bush and the Gilded Age
March 1, 2004 - Yoshi Tsurumi (now Professor of International Business, Baruch College, the City University of New York)
Read all about the economy and about the man who wishes to direct it. He has his principles - moral and economic - from which he has never really wavered. He just didn’t mention them in his campaign against Al Gore. Wouldn’t be prudent. But we should have known.
Geez, at least none of my former students has really embarrassed me, so far.
This issue updated and published on...
Paris readers add nine hours....