Smarmy Alligator

Politics, pop culture, and self-deprecation

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Reading Forbes



As a raving liberal living in the city of Boston, it’s not often that I come across Bush supporters, and I’ve had many occasions to ask myself in the past year who in their right mind would vote for Bush this November. I don’t get many opportunities to sit down with right-wing Bushites and pick their brains, and I tend to avoid ultra-conservative publications.

That’s why I decided to start reading Forbes. It’s good to get some kind of idea of what the opposition thinks, right? Reading nothing but Noam Chomsky can only serve to isolate me in my liberal ideas, and further convince me that no sane people could possibly be Republican.

I’m still not sure Republicans are sane, but I am fully convinced that they excel at the art of willful ignorance. I’ll take just one column from the September 6 issue of Forbes: Current Events, by Paul Johnson.

Johnson is “keen” to see Bush in the White House because he was “revolted by Bill Clinton’s lies and reassured by George Bush’s straight talk.” I’m not going to say Clinton didn’t lie. Of course he did. He’s a politician. But “George Bush’s straight talk?” Giving the appearance of being a straight-shooting man of integrity does not actually make the words that come out of his mouth true. The tenacious belief in Bush as an honest man reveals how firmly image and illusion play into our politics.

Johnson, further, is “suspicious” of Kerry because he enjoys French support. He asks why the French are “so keen to see Kerry in the White House,” but nowhere does he attempt to answer his own question. His distate for Kerry, in this regard, seems to stem mostly from what it appears Chirac expects from the US if Kerry should take office in January. A perfect example of right-wing use of inflated suspicions and rhetoric to paint a picture of something that doesn’t, actually, exist.

Johnson then moves on to Kerry’s supporters, namely Michael Moore and Goerge Soros.

I’ll let Johnson’s own words speak for his ignorance re: Moore:

“I haven’t seen Michael Moore’s anti-Bush movie. But all I have to do is to mentally line up Moore alonside Bush to decide whom I prefer…Bush looks to be a man who keeps himself trim through self-discipline, while Moore is a gross, shapeless, unshaven monument to self-indulgence and gobbling.”

Way to judge the issues on their merits.

And finally, in a beautiful bit of irony worthy only of a hard-line fiscal Republican, Johnson complains about Soros’s donations to the Democratic party and liberal think tanks. He writes, “No other financier of modern times has made such abusive use of his money to exercise power.” Riiight.

Johnson sees in the Democratic campaign “a species of conspiracy by money men, showbiz celebrities, and other self-important pseudo-idealists to hijack the presidential election.” He trusts that “ordinary American voters will recognize what is happening and vote accordingly.”

So do I.

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Written by laura k

August 24, 2004 at 11:35 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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