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The First Green President.

In the middle of the President's midwinter publicity tour, NBC's Brian Williams asked if the federal government's faltering response to Hurricane Katrina was due to racial indifference, and for a half a second you could almost hear Dubya's vertebrae fuse together as he perceptibly grew about a quarter of a millimeter. His reedy twang trembled, and he snarled with a noticeable lack of teleprompting, "You can call me anything you want, but do not call me a racist.

Which was not the point, but it certainly is true. It's not fair to call the President of the United States a racist. This is not a man who gives the tiniest whit about black or white. This is a man who cares only about green, and whether or not you have any.

He doesn't judge people by the color of their skin. He judges people by the size of their wallets. In George Bush's America, if you're wealthy, you'll get taken care of. If you're not, you won't. Pretty much as simple as that.

Not only is Bush not a racist, he is not an ageist or a sexist or a fascist or a typist. Or a homophobe. Or a xenophobe. Or a xylophone. Rather, he is a cashist. The First Green President, but about as friendly to the Sierra Club as a patch of thistles is to a pair of nylons. The only whales he's interested in saving are the kind that get comped 1,500-square-foot jacuzzi suites in Vegas.

Look at his record. Tax cuts for the wealthy. Economic stimuli for the wealthy. Legislative amendments for the wealthy. Overseas incentives for the wealthy. Judicial appointments designed to nurture favorable decisions for the wealthy. Secret winking loopholes for the wealthy. Complimentary all-you-can-eat seafood buffets with a pearl in every oyster for the wealthy. No-bid contracts for his buddies. Who happen to be, say it with me now ... wealthy.

For the poor: You got your cuts. Student aid cuts for the poor. Medicaid and Medicare cuts for the poor. Food stamp and nutritional cuts for the poor. Education cuts for the poor. Outlandish dress codes at state dinners to further disenfranchise the poor. Outsourcing jobs to create more poor. With George Bush in charge, it's a bull market for the poor. On the other hand, it's not fair to accuse him of not knowing how poor people live. You see pictures of him looking out the windows of Air Force One as he flies over them all the time.

To boil it down, if you got money, just sit yourself in a comfy chair and prepare to get showered with more. If you ain't got nothing, he and his people will throw up roadblocks, plexiglas, guard dogs, razor wire, enough red tape to wrap a moose: whatever it takes to keep you from getting any.

I know the theory on paper is trickle down. That rich people will spend their money, which eventually will trickle down to the poor. But my theory is that that theory is crap. And not just on paper. Rich people hang onto their money. That's how they got rich. You give us poor people money, and we'll spend every damn penny we get our grubby little hands on. Why do you think we're poor? Blowing it on superfluous stuff like food and rent and medicine and gasoline. Silly, profligate us. Besides, I don't know about you, but I'm tired of being trickled on.

So, let's be straight about this. Kanye West, although a wonderful singer and deserving of the Best Song Grammy for "Gold Digger," is dead wrong about the President. George Bush doesn't hate black people. George Bush doesn't hate poor people, either. He just LOVES rich people. A whole lot. With a love of operatic magnitude.

Like a fellow waiter back in Milwaukee used to say, "It's not that I like the rich more than the poor, it's just that they tip so much better."

Political comic Will Durst actually thinks poor people tip better. But the rich do order more expensive bottles of wine.
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Title Annotation:Off the Map; George W. Bush
Author:Durst, Will
Publication:The Progressive
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2006
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