presents The Angry Liberal
Are Bush, Republicans really "Pro-Competition?" Yeah, Right!
January 28, 2002
During the 1980s, America was becoming more health conscious. By the end of the decade, the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant chain had a problem: Fried foods are unhealthy, aren't they? One of the silliest portions of the chicken chain's strategy to combat this perception was the following: Change the name of the chain from "Kentucky Fried Chicken" to "KFC." After all, fried chicken purchased from a place called "KFC" is healthier than fried chicken purchased from "Kentucky Fried Chicken," right? Recently, I have heard several conservative commentators mention a similar repackaging plan for Republicans who want to get tough with the Enron folks during the many hearings on the hill schedule.
As conservatives scramble to distance themselves from the Enron scandal (I hear the little flag lapel pins are being replaced with buttons that say, "Kenneth Who?"), they face a dilemma. How can they persecute a dirty corporation without appearing "anti-business" to all of the other dirty corporations that slather the Republicans with campaign cash? It seems that, as with KFC, this all boils down to a perception problem. According to the conservatives, it is possible for Bush and the Republicans to go after the bad guys at Enron, not because they are "Anti-Business," but because they are "Pro-Competition."
I love this! Now, that belongs on a button! George W. Bush and the Republicans are now "Pro-Competition?" I say to you, my friends, that there is no party and no person in American more afraid of competition than the Republicans and George W. Bush.
To expose the Republican Party's fear of competition, one needs to look no further than campaign finance reform legislation. This is unbelievably simple: Republicans are against campaign finance reform because in a forum in which issues are fairly debated, they lose, and I mean lose huge. The only way they stay in power is by using the boat loads of cash from the business interests they represent to drown out the Democrats. Why risk discussing the tax giveaway to the rich that just blew our nation's tax surplus when we can scream about killing babies instead? Why get sucked into an argument on the merits of health care reform when we can holler about taking away guns? (Hello, Chuck? People are worried about a 7.2% increase in health care costs in 2000. Fire up a bunch of them nasty NRA television ads.) Now that a majority of house members has pried the Shays-Meehan Bill from the trembling hands of Dennis Hastert, America has a chance to begin to level the political playing field. I will enjoy watching terrified "Pro-Competition" Republicans working behind the scenes to kill the progress of this bill. "Pro-Competition," my ass.
I can't even discuss the notion of George W. Bush being "Pro-Competition" without the veins in my neck bulging. Regardless, here I go, bulging veins be damned. As a child, an uninterested George W. Bush had what could charitably be described as a lackluster scholastic career. Yet he winds up going to the prestigious Philips Andover Academy in Massachusetts, Yale, and Harvard. How can somebody so utterly unqualified to attend these institutions get accepted? Simple. LACK OF REAL COMPETITION. Dubya's famous dad and his connections circumvented the competition and made it happen. In 1968, when Bush is twelve days away from losing his draft deferment, he decides to sit out Vietnam (sacrifice is for suckers, kids) by getting his name on the waiting list at the Texas Air National Guard. The wait to enter the Guard at the time was a year and a half. Despite this, Bush is accepted the same day he applies. How could this happen? Simple. LACK OF REAL COMPETITION. Next, Bush enrolls in flight school. His scores on the pilot aptitude test: 25%. Yet he is enrolled anyway, ahead of many who scored better. How could this possibly happen? LACK OF (well, you know).
Later, when Bush decides to seek his fortune in the oil business, he heads up several companies that lose nearly all of their stockholders' investments, and yet Dubya winds up rich. How? (All together, now!). Next, Bush, on the world's longest winning streak, is contacted by Dad's close friend and commissioner of baseball Peter Ueberroth and is offered part ownership of the Texas Rangers. Two of the other owners are none other than William DeWitt and Mercer Reynolds, the owners of the oil company that purchased Bush's losing company and made him rich. Why would Ueberroth ask Bush, a CEO who never once headed up a successful company, to buy the Rangers? (Let 'em hear you outside!)
Finally, after outspending Al Gore by more than $60 million (Bush had raised more than $193 million from the Ken Lays and Enrons of the world, compared to Gore's $133 million, which included federal matching funds), Bush loses the 2000 Presidential Election popular vote by better than 500,000 votes and was in danger of a recount in Florida that could have cost him the election. Yet by relying on antiquated electoral voting system, a state campaign co-chair in charge of the Florida election, and a decision by Dad's (and Dad's old boss's) appointees on the Supreme Court, the second-place finisher enters the White House. How could this travesty of Democracy happen, you ask? One guess.
In short, I hope the Republicans adopt the nifty new slogan of "Pro-Competition." The Democrats should be able to beat them bloody with it. As for our "president," had Bush grown up in a world that was "Pro-Competition," he would currently be assistant manager of a Kentucky Fried Chicken somewhere (Oops! I meant "KFC").
I wonder if KFC requires employees to pass a drug test?
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© 2002, The Angry Liberal
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