Small Businessman Bush & the Evil Trial
July 17, 2004
By Rush Roberts
Ah, the power of television. I was watching the news this morning
against my better judgment, when he did it again. Our Wonderful
Leader put me in a foul mood to begin my day.
He did it in Wisconsin, speaking in a brief clip in which he proudly
delivered another custom-tailored snippet to perfection, that trademark
self-satisfied smirk on his face giving away the fact that he knew
as soon as the words had escaped his mouth that he’d be high-fiving
his speechwriters back on the tour bus over kool-aid and cookies
in a few short minutes.
What he said was this:
“You can’t be pro-small business and pro-trial lawyer at the same
time.” He then added, “you have to choose” to the raucous applause
of the very patriotic audience.
I was quite confused. I was not really angered at first; in fact
when I first saw it I nearly felt sorry for Dubya and wanted to
sit down and tell him a few things. Like the definition of a small
business. Then I thought it would be much more fun to write this
article, plus I don’t think I could sit in the same room as him.
This was obviously a not-very-well disguised jab at Senator John
Edwards, the Vice Presidential nominee of the Democratic Party.
As most people are aware, Edwards was the son of a mill worker,
was the first in his family to go to college, worked his way through
law school, and then spent the next two decades fighting HMOs, insurance
companies, and large negligent corporations on the behalf of everyday
people. Then he ran for the United States Senate, carrying out a
promise to his recently deceased teenage son, and won. And all this
by the time he was 45 years old.
But the Bush Administration (as usual) does not seem to be too
concerned with factual evidence, and would prefer to play on peoples’
fears and prejudices. Lawyers can be perceived as unpopular at times.
Especially during election years, when you are desperate.
And so Team Bush has decided to portray Edwards as some greedy
bloodsucker who made his living bankrupting struggling small-business
owners in a series of frivolous, trumped-up lawsuits.
This is astoundingly absurd.
First of all, I believe Bush is confused as to what actually construes
the definition of small businesses. For example, an HMO is not a
small business. Enron is not a small business. A “large
negligent corporation” is also not a small business. (The same
Christopher Hitchens who recently defended Bush’s Iraq war and lambasted
Michael Moore has a good word for Edwards? Objectivity is not extinct,
Sad as it is, Bush himself probably fancies himself as something
of a former small business owner. He did drive several oil companies
into the ground while his father was trying to keep him out of his
hair during his twelve years as Vice President and President. So
technically, this could be perceived as accurate. Yet unlike every
single other small business owner, Bush had his family fortune of
millions to fall back on each time he went under. That is basically
what is wrong with the first part of his statement: his mangling
distortion of the term “small business”.
The second part is just plain nonsensical. He has to choose? A
Vice Presidential candidate must now choose between the small business
lobby and the trial lawyer lobby, when he is not claiming to represent
either, let alone both? John Edwards became a United States Senator
in 1998. Beginning then, his duty was to the people of North Carolina.
Now, as a Vice Presidential Candidate, his duty is to the American
Karl Rove and his roving band of delightfully irreverent character
assassins seem to be particularly bent on pushing Edwards’ image
underwater and smothering it until it stops kicking, for one simple
reason: He is a living and personified walking example of the original
Horatio Alger American Dream, the type of up-from-the-bootstraps
story that Rush Limbaugh masturbates to on air. Yet has a (D) next
to his name and state instead of an (R) because even though he has
made millions thanks to his talents and intuitions, he has never
in the dark hourless nights of his long career let go his original
ideals and mores. In simpler words, they resent and envy him because
he has the courage to believe in something more powerful than money.
And this is a trait that appeals to everyone, small business owner
Being the son of a small business owner and growing up in the 80’s
and 90’s, I can say that the latter were much more kind, economically
speaking. But Bush seems to be comfortable portraying himself as
something he’s not. So I say let him strut around in flightsuits,
let him claim to know something about small businesses, and most
importantly, let him go back to Crawford in January and pretend
to be a Texan until they get tired of him up there too.