IT'S NOT enough for The UK Observer's Will Hutton that people vote. They must vote the correct way, otherwise it's a Dark Day for Democracy. Testify, Willy:
The election in Georgia said it all. The Democrat governor, Roy Barnes, had dared to remove the Confederate symbol from the state flag last year. His Republican challenger wanted to bring it back, to honour, he said, 300,000 Confederate 'veterans'. A Republican has not occupied Georgia's governor's mansion since 1872. After last Tuesday, one does, courtesy of wanting to celebrate a civil war fought to defend slavery.
Georgia "said it all"? Hey, Will, you want to talk about racism in the US, go take a look at your friends on the Left, mate.
Europeans do not understand the curious civilisation that the current America is becoming.
Will knows well of what he speaks.
They especially do not understand the undercurrents of an increasingly self-confident and subtle racism that is its own variant of the forces that in Europe gave us Le Pen and Pim Fortuyn.
Was race an issue in the midterm elections? Anywhere?
Anyone who thinks the Tory party is 'nasty' has not encountered contemporary American republicanism. Georgia's Republican Party, for example, is now lead by Ralph Reed, a long-time crusader against abortion, divorce and single parent families.
Hutton is married with three kids. Could it be that he secretly shares Reed's "nasty" values?
And so one of American liberalism's darkest days was repeated across the country. Minnesota and Missouri, long-time Democrat strongholds, fell. Governor Jeb Bush, despite the Democrats insisting that justice now be done for those infamous chads, won in Florida.
Those chads only became infamous at Democrat insistence. Will's head is, as we say in Australia, up his arse.
There will be radical tax cuts for the rich and the corporations; a freezing of all efforts to stiffen regulation in the wake of America's corporate scandals; moves to privatise the social security system; and a roll-back of environmental protection.
Don't forget the death camps, the Venusian invasion, and the ominous rise of the HypnoToad.
Following the ideas of the high priest of ultra conservatism, Leo Strauss, they want to construct a republic of 'moral', god-fearing citizens who adhere to traditional virtues, rewarding the rich who can only have become rich through the virtue of hard work and penalising the poor who are only poor because of their own fecklessness.
More fecks for the poor! No justice, no fecks!
This is the most fiercely reactionary programme to have emerged in any Western democracy since the war, and for which last Tuesday's vote, argue Republicans, is an explicit mandate. Horseshit. George Bush has al-Qaeda and a low turn-out to thank for his victory.
Al Qaeda militiamen kept Democrat voters trapped in their homes until the polls closed.
America is not a happy place.
I've just driven across it, from NY to LA. September 11 notwithstanding, the US is happier than I recall it in 1990, the first time I drove coast-to-coast. You know what isn't a happy place? England. Nothing but bitching and crying and moaning all the goddamn time. "My skin is grey", "I've got mad cow disease", "Help, I'm being stabbed again". Would it kill these people to smile once in a while? Cheer up, Will, you great sneering nonce.
A generation of increasingly conservative policies has shrunk the American middle.
He might be right about the middle, but other areas seem to be doing OK. Next, Will tries his hand at designing a victory strategy for the Democrats, beginning with the idea that the US has a "silent liberal majority":
The trouble was that this silent liberal majority was only prepared to voice its preoccupations at state rather than national level, if it bothered to vote at all.
One sure way to remain silent: don't vote. Clever folks, them liberals.
But the game isn't up. America's conservatives, blinded by their ideology and in control of every lever of government, will overreach themselves and the reality of what they plan will become evident to all, stirring the apathetic voter and reminding the best of America what it stands for. Last week represented the highwater mark of American conservatism and, although it looks bleak, the beginnings of the long-awaited …
Blah, blah, blah, more crap from someone who just phones it in and cops a pay cheque no matter what. Will Hutton should be:
a) celebrated as a journalist of piercing insight
b) presented with even more awards
c) forced to live in a squalid London housing estate with illegal immigrants and turned into food when he is shot during a burglary
UPDATE. Brad Ems writes:
"I live in Missouri, and anyone who claims that this state is a 'long-time Democrat stronghold' doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about. Sure, our current and former Governor are/was Democrat, but prior to that we had John Ashcroft, now the much-loathed Attorney General of the US, who left the office to become Senator (our other Senator, Kit Bond, is also a Republican). Missouri has been a conservative state for ages and even the Democrats in the Statehouse reflect that, with the exceptions of the inner-city Democrats from St. Louis and Kansas City."
Andrew E. Hansen has more on the alleged "Democrat stronghold":
"Republican John Danforth was elected 3 times by Missouri voters, in 1976,1982, and 1988. Kit Bond served two terms as the Governor of Missouri (1976, 1980) before being elected to the Senate in 1986, 1992, and 1998. John Ashcroft, the current U.S. Attorney General, also served two terms as the Governor of Missouri (1984 and 1988) before being elected to replace Danforth in 1994."
See what I mean about "phoning it in"? Hutton clearly hasn't checked anything, researched anything, or read anything beyond the most shallow analysis before filing his valueless copy. R.R. Ryan is another who knows more than the Observer's star columnist:
"Voter turnout actually set a record in Minnesota and was up by two percentage points nationally over 1998. Can't these twits get the most basic facts right?"
Nope. And from gmx.de comes this concluding dismissal of Will Hutton, superjournalist:
"The photo you linked to in illustration of the 'great sneering nonce' indicates that you probably already have appreciated this quote from Oscar Wilde: 'It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances.'