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Political Brass and Unbreakable Crystal Balls
by Andrew Barbano
Oct 23, 2010 | 1062 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Occasionally I notice the obvious. The following comes from the Barbwire of Jan. 21, 2001:

Even the lowest swine can produce pork chops. Long after he killed off his opponents, Hitler-loving fascist Generalissimo Francisco Franco was asked if another Spanish civil war would follow his death.

“No,” replied Franco, “for I shall leave a large middle class.”

The old S.O.B. proved pretty smart. He knew that if you spread the wealth, few people would start shooting. War is bad for business. Spain today is a democracy with a Franco-restored figurehead monarchy.

Restorations in other countries have not gone nearly as well.

The February 2000 edition of Harper’s Magazine published the year’s most in-depth yet compact compendium about the shady side of Dubya. Maverick Republican historian Kevin Phillips contributed a fascinating analysis of replays gone bad.

“The essence of political restoration is neither republican nor monarchical. It depends upon the delusionary psychology of a political class willing to let its memory grow more and more clouded until it sees fit to reinstate something second-rate, after that something’s replacement has become even less acceptable. This is why restorations contain an element of farce.

“Both Charles I (of England) and Louis XVI (of France), whose kingly failures began the two previous restoration cycles, were as widely disdained as the senior Bush. And the interlopers who came along to revolutionize their countries’ respective governments - Oliver Cromwell and his son Richard (‘Tumble-down Dick’) in England in the 1650s, and Maximilien Robespierre and then Napolean in late-18th- and early-19th century France — also made themselves unwelcome,” Phillips wrote.

“In both countries, the political elites came to prefer the return of an inexperienced heir. Charles II was called back to England in 1660; Louis XVIII to a re-established throne in 1815...Bush the Younger is classic restoration material...Not a few observers have described him as cocky, lazy and arrogant (like Charles II), and intellectually undistinguished (a perfect late Bourbon).

“These comparisons are not yet proven, of course, but for the first time in U.S. history, the qualifications of a frontrunner for the presidency are converging with those of the Prince of Wales: heredity and birth.” Phillips noted.

He recounted how the new president’s “own mother once made him sit at the opposite end of the table from the Queen of England, for fear of what he might say, when he was 44 years old.”

Rejoicing at the U.S. royal family’s return to power may prove short-lived.

“When the restored James II fell in 1688, that was the end of the Stuart kings. When the restored Bourbons followed suit in 1830, that was the end of their house. Should a Bush Restoration implode on its own whir of cocky inadequacy, that could be a similar last hurrah not simply for the family’s power but for the Republican Party,” Phillips stated. (See his 1999 book “The Cousins’ Wars.”)

It doesn’t take much to predict that George II will soon risk American lives in some foolish war. Dick and Colin are back fouling the bowels of government. Few seem to remember that the Gulf War, which continues to kill and sicken so many both here and abroad, was fought to protect the Bush family’s Persian Gulf drilling rights, perhaps the most rotten of all Dubya’s dastardly deals.

In his Harper’s cover article preceding Phillips’ sidebar, author Joe Conason concluded “the vast agglomeration of monied influence is what has made George W. Bush both a rich man and a potential president. Knowing how he became what he is, it’s difficult to imagine Bush cleansing the soiled hem of democracy, as his advertising promises he will do. He professes compassionate conservatism, but his true ideology, the record suggests, is crony capitalism.”

Indeed, Dubya offers a single cure for all ills. At any bad moon on the rise, he howls for a huge tax cut for rich campaign contributors.

German poet and dramatist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said we become that which we despise.

To anyone who criticized Bill Clinton for breaking his promise to clean up government, remember the words of the Gipper: you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

What it means in 2010

Voters appear seized in a fit of co-dependency, the abused spouse syndrome whereby constant beatings prove to the bloodied victim that he or she is needed. A desperate and financially ruined electorate may well vote back into power the vampires who sucked them dry. It’s the only protest vote available. The silver lining to the dark clouds forming over the coming years may be that Phillips’ prediction comes true and the GOP, led by the likes of (gulp) Sen. Sharron Angle, implodes. Continuing leanings of recent years, Democrats will then become the party of business and a new Labor Party will emerge. Nevada union members are already talking it up.

Starting this week

The new season of Barbwire TV starts just in time for an election near you. The first will be about (what else?) jobs. The lack of them is well documented. How we’ve blown them and where they can be regenerated, that’s something else. I guarantee you’ll get mad enough to want to get even. Watch for show times. Help us get the word out. Support the project at

Be well. Raise hell.

Andrew Barbano is a 41-year Nevadan and editor of E-mail Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988.
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