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Hey Joe Six-pack, Are You Feeling Deserted Yet?
March 27, 2001
By Bradford Shaw

Hey Joe Six-pack, Are You Feeling Deserted Yet?

During the last election cycle, George W. Bush did his level best to show himself as a plain spoken, regular guy, reaching out to the heartland of America for his base of support. These average American working people came to be known as Mr. and Mrs. Joe Six-pack to both campaigns, and were to be the strong central base for a conservative victory. He campaigned constantly in the center and south of the country, making several promises to change the tone in Washington, and represent the common man and good old American values.

Reviewing the facts and figures of the outcome, we find that his strategy seemed to have worked. The electoral map that was used by most news agencies, with Bush in Republican red and Gore in blue, clearly illustrated the center of the country as pretty much solid red. Only the coasts and certain enlightened intellectual zones were blue.

The middle and south of the country, both traditionally conservative, did their best to stand up and support the Republican candidate with money and votes with the sure and certain hope of having their traditional values and lifestyles upheld and confirmed as the status-quo for this nation. They wanted to have their chosen representative achieve several specific goals when in office, some of which include: Restore dignity to the White House, instill confidence in our nation and economy, guarantee a safe and prosperous future for our children and grandchildren, and provide a suitable role model for all productive citizens in the free world. They had full confidence in Shrub as one of them: a good old boy from Texas with a simple and understated way. A son of the south and a straight-shooting level-headed conservative.

Though I respect their right to vote for any candidate they choose, time has already proven that their choices in this election appear to have been wrong. If most learned scholars in this country would have been asked two years ago who might be the best qualified person to restore dignity to the highest office in this land, the poor boob that even mentioned Shrub would have been laughed out academia entirely on the spot. His checkered past, combined with his lack of command of the English language, along with his adopted Texas mannerisms all add up to what some might characterize as a "dignity dud."

So far his attempts at Presidential comportment seem to be coming off as stiff and over-reaching. His terse attitude toward cell phones is just the tip of the tension iceberg that threatens his dignity restoration project. When he finally snaps, there will likely be dignity flying in all directions. Innocent witnesses standing by are cautioned to wear protective clothing.

Restore the dignity? All he chose to do was restore the political careers of several of his fathers failed administrators. A consensus of sorts is beginning to be felt in the political opinion arena, that Bush and Cheney were doing their very best to tank the economy in order to justify a huge tax cut for the wealthy. They have been at this "low expectations" game for several months, since before Christmas in fact.

Every time I see either GW or Dick on the news or at some political function, they recite the same mantra of belt tightening and economic slowdown. In the course of pushing for the big tax cut, our newly selected President has invoked a case of self-fulfilling prophecy. He has literally talked the nation out of any confidence it may have had in what was, at the time of the election, a robust and healthy economy. This series of statements and actions does not instill any type of confidence in our economy, as the last few ugly days in the market have proven. Rather, it has the opposite result: a short or even possibly longer recession.

Many of Shrub's supporters lost quite a lot of money during this last massacre on Wall Street, but I am sure he isn't worried about them right now. He knows that his biggest financial contributors won't be affected by this little bump in the economic road. They are well off enough to be in the market for the long, long haul. This type of downturn will ruin many small investors, but the deepest Republican pockets will always be there for a good lapdog like old Shrub.

As to the question of guaranteeing a safe and secure future for our children and grandchildren, in the first few weeks into this Presidency, Shrub's administration has come down hard against workplace safety, and the increase of pollution standards, as well as a direct appeal to exploit one of our nations greatest natural treasures, ANWR, Alaska's most pristine and unspoiled native species habitat.

Such short-sighted planning seems to completely leave out any thought for the future and our descendants. It seems to favor a business plan over a values plan. Instead of standing up for the common man and our common future, Shrub has decided to spend his entire time in office standing up for big business, and it's successful future.

Does all of this pro-business, anti-environment posturing demonstrate a good role model for our children? Possibly so in some cases, if you are planning to leave this planet soon. But if you want to be able to breathe clean air and drink clean water, a better role model would be a person who cared enough about his children's future to do something about it, regardless of the impact on the profit margin. George W Bush is, by his own deeds and words, not that person.

So in terms of the goals previously mentioned for the heartland of America, this new President is a disappointment on all levels.

As his union rights are trampled on and his economy ruined, the question for Joe Six-pack is: do you feel deserted yet? As family values are abandoned in favor of business values, leading to decreasing consumer protection, the next question is: will your family be better off in the future with this administration? When you watch Bush and his handlers jet-setting from one country club to another attending future fundraisers, another question that comes to mind is: are these people really common folk, or are they rich, haughty snobs who wouldn't even want you and your types to walk their dog? And the final and most important question for Joe and his family: do these people represent you, or their own interests?

It appears that so far, Shrub is more interested in paying off his rich contributors than protecting the interests of the average mid-country dweller. Many financial experts agree that his tax cut, which will echo for the next ten years across our fragile economy, won't benefit Middle America for many years. With the economic slowdown, and recession on the horizon, surplus revenues may not be there next year, not to mention ten years from now, so how do you make up the shortfall to cover the tax-cut? You borrow against your children's future. It's a fine old Bush family tradition. Read my lips: no new tax ideas!

If Joe and his friends only knew a few months ago what was in store for them in the near future, they may have changed the way our economy and that electoral map turned out. We would have changed the tone, to a message to business that individuals matter more than the corporate bottom line. We would have kept up our continued success and confidence in our market and economy because, after all, back then it was growing and moving forward at a pace that made business and government happy. We would have guaranteed a safe and clean environment for our future generations through strong environmental legislation and executive action.

Al Gore has never given the impression that he was in politics for personal gain. He has always been a strong and effective candidate and office holder, often working to the point of exhaustion, sacrificing his own peace and well being in order to try to serve his country to the best of his ability. This self-sacrifice and dedication without thought for personal profit would have made him the best President and as a result best role model in the oval office in recent history.

So, Joe Six-pack, in terms of your goals for the Presidency, are you feeling deserted by the Republicans yet? Give it time. We're all going to feel it.

 

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