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August 29, 2004

We few, we happy few: Billionaires for Bush

Intimate glimpses of lifestyles of the rich and famous! Click to enlarge this exclusive footage of the Dynastic Duo at their Fifth Estate:

levitra_ss0A debutante prepares to step out

Matt1Matt E. Riel, media baron

levitra_ss2Levitra DeShill, objective spokesman for billionaire rights

Thad and I defected to the illiberal cultural elite by joining Billionaires for Bush. We know which side our brioche is buttered on.

Today denizens of America's upper upper crust celebrated the arrival of the RNC. Festivities began on the Great Lawn of Central Park with gruntled and civilly obedient game of croquet. Yours truly won an embassadorship in a friendly wager!

After briefing our media attaches, our august company marched decorously downtown to express our gratitude to President Bush for his ceaseless efforts on behalf of Billionaire Americans.

A good time was had by all.

Slide Show: Croquet on the Great Lawn and Million Billionaire March

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Posted by Dick Minim Well done! Pip pip! Billionaires for Bush. Tutor could put on a spanking demo with these folks, like old times.... [Read More]

Comments

Actually, I kind of agree with Lindsay's sign, though the grammar is a bit off. I'd say corporations are "made up of" people, just like any organization. (Whether this validates "corporate personhood" is something I leave to the legal experts - certainly basic freedoms of speech, property and association should apply).

Of course, I'm also the guy that would wear the Onion T-Shirt "I just love corporations!" and would fly the version of the American flag put out by Adbusters that features all the corporate logos in the star field, but for the fact that people would think I was a sarcastic liberal rather than a sincere laissez-faire capitalist libertarian.

BTW, Lindsay, purely as coincidence, I happened to have posted about the Billionaires for Bush as well as the Communists for Kerry a few days ago on my blog. I wasn't terribly keen on the Billionaires, but if anyone could make it work, it'd be you and Thad.

Have fun. And stay safe, okay?

Kraorh,

I think you're letting your politics get in the way of your sense of humor, my good man. After all, what could be finer than a Sunday morning promenade in [b]our[/b] park? So kind of Bloomie to have reserved it for our exclusive use. I hear he let the riff-raff in later in the day, more's the pity, but that just means we shall have to try harder to have it privatized.

Moreover, these timely radio addresses and fine phonograph recordings are quite droll. Really, that glee club they have is simply outstanding.

On the other hand, we encountered the Communists for Kerry during our Million Billionaire march, but they were rather a bore. They couldn't seem to think of anything to say to us -- evidently they were too intimidated by their betters. I thought Communits were supposed to be good at chanting and such? These chaps didn't even seem to know the words to the Internationale.

Kraorh,

I think you're letting your politics get in the way of your sense of humor, my good man. After all, what could be finer than a Sunday morning promenade in our park? So kind of Bloomie to have reserved it for our exclusive use. I hear he let the riff-raff in later in the day, more's the pity, but that just means we shall have to try harder to have it privatized.

Moreover, these timely radio addresses and fine phonograph recordings are quite droll. Really, that Billionaire's glee club they have is simply outstanding.

On the other hand, we encountered the Communists for Kerry during our Million Billionaire march, but they were rather a bore. They couldn't seem to think of anything to say to us -- evidently they were too intimidated by the sight of their betters. I thought Communists were supposed to be good at chanting and such? These chaps didn't even seem to know the words to the Internationale.

My apologies for the double-post. My pageboy still doesn't seem to have the hang of this whole interweb business. I'm having him flogged right now.

Oh, and Kraorh?

In a few hours, this woman -- Sheri Dew -- will be giving the "opening invocation" at the RNC.

Here's what she wrote recently in Meridian Magazine:

This escalating situation [i.e., gay marriage -- ed.] reminds me of a statement of a World War II journalist by the name of Dorothy Thompson who wrote for the Saturday Evening Post in Europe during the pre-World War II years when Hitler was building up his armies and starting to take ground. In an address she delivered in Toronto in 1941 she said this: “Before this epic is over, every living human being will have chosen. Every living human being will have lined up with Hitler or against him. Every living human being either will have opposed this onslaught or supported it, for if he tries to make no choice that in itself will be a choice. If he takes no side, he is on Hitler’s side. If he does not act, that is an act—for Hitler.”

May I take the liberty of reading this statement again and changing just a few words, applying it to what I fear we face today? “Before this era is over, every living human being will have chosen. Every living human being will have lined up in support of the family or against it. Every living human being will have either opposed the onslaught against the family or supported it, for if he tries to make no choice that in itself will be a choice. If we do not act in behalf of the family, that is itself an act of opposition to the family.”

If I were you, I'd start putting some serious thought into which Wisconsin microbrew you'd like to send me.

Re: Billionaires.

You're right - my politics may make it harder for me to find them funny. And I'm offended, I should say, at this contextless hatred of the rich qua rich, as if there's no real difference between people who get rich on their own efforts and talents, and those who get rich from corporate welfare, like Ross Perot.

My reaction is also more one of a sense of irony... I mean, of the two candidates, the actual billionaire is... John Kerry, who would be the 3rd richest president ever if elected, making the Bushes look utterly middle class by comparison. Who didn't earn his money, but married a wealthy heiress like a true gigilo. And you're mocking Bush, who's personality is, as you've stated before, the down-to-earth populist (whatever you think of his policies), vs Kerry, who is the arrogant upper-class dandy. I realize the humor is more about the issues that the two candidates represent, but still, the juxtaposition is striking.

As for them being funny... I don't know, it just strikes me as lame. Jon Stewart's Daily Show and the Onion are funny. Craig Kilborn is funny. Conan O'Brian is funny. Even when they take positions opposite of mine. The Billionaires, in contrast, feel like the proverbial well-past-its-prime SNL sketch that they needed to kill three seasons ago. Still, as I said before, if anyone could make it work, it'd be you and Lindsay.

I am disappointed that the Communists weren't more entertaining... their spiffy website led me to think they'd kick ass in NYC. Still, there's having a humorous idea, and then there's actually executing it - two very different things. Of course, your politics may be making it harder for you to find them funny. :) Though not knowing the "Internationale" is damn near inexcusable, I admit... they should have a new version with new lyrics about Kerry by now.

And I'm offended, I should say, at this contextless hatred of the rich qua rich

Kraorh, darling, I'm afraid you are soooo completely missing the point. Did you even listen to those radio spots? Or check out the issues page?

Bush, who's personality is, as you've stated before, the down-to-earth populist

No, I didn't, and no he's not. Honestly, Kraroh, does "Walker's Point" in Kennebunkport ring any bells? (Hint -- that would be the "W" in G.W.) By any measure, the Bushes (and the Walkers) were one of the most powerful and influential families in America long before Junior decided to run for governor of Texas, long before Reagan chose GHWB as his running mate. They are the personification of Old Money. I should scarcely need tell you this...

John Kerry, on the other hand, is a traitor in the Class War. His policies are bad for Billionaire-Americans -- though he married well, he's now turned against us, and that is why we Billionaires for Bush are out in the street protesting his shameful anti-Billionaire platform.

My reaction is also more one of a sense of irony...

I might well say the same thing about the Communists for Kerry (who were, among other things, completely inept at street theatre?). I mean, remind me again -- which candidate is it who still has Communist shrapnel in his ass?

Also, I'm not sure why you think their website's so spiffy. I don't.

As a Dungeon Master to the Stars, I would be more than happy to put on a pro bono spanking demonstration if any of your wealthy friends are willing to take their secret life public. The rich no less than the poor require moral training. All thrashing are for educational purposes only, to delight and instruct.

The Beer Issue: I'll write something to respond to the Billionaires tomorrow (I have to crash - work tomorrow). But as for who is more banal - the protesters or the Republicans. I submit the following:

Rich Lowry, "More than 57 Varieties of Bush Hatred"

Slogans sited at the protest - here, here, here, here, here, and finally, I don't know if this really counts for either you or me, but this one has to be mentioned. I quote: "The LPers have just started marching around the lawn, banners aloft and chanting "Draft beer, not people!" and "George Bush, John Kerry, no real choice is really scary!" when the Billionaires for Bush come strolling by. The Billionaires are a one joke group, and for the most part that one joke has been decomposing on its feet since 2000, when it was clever for a few minutes. But it was pretty amusing to watch them raise their martinis and exclaim: "Oh, LiberTEHrians! Don't you people work for us? I hope you're getting our park privatized! HuzZAH LiberTEHrians!" They hang around to mug and quip for the assembled journalists, who are doing their best to equal the protesters' numbers. I take off before the joke gets old."

And before I forget: You both look hot in your digs. You'd make good billionaires.

Kraorh,

But it was pretty amusing to watch them raise their martinis and exclaim: "Oh, LiberTEHrians! Don't you people work for us? I hope you're getting our park privatized! HuzZAH LiberTEHrians!

Yeah, that was great. Most of libertarians were laughing along with the rest of us. Mugging and quipping for the assembled journalists was precisely the point of their event, same as ours, and the media-savvy libertarians did their best to get their message out. If they didn't want to talk to the press, they could have all moved away from our little croquet game -- there was plenty of room in the park that morning.

I should add that I'm impressed that the libertarians who showed up were all anti-war -- "Drop Taxes, Not Bombs," etc. Most self-identified "libertarians" I run into on the net (present company excluded) are actually Republican shills who never miss an opportunity to carry the Bush administration's water or parrot Karl Rove's talking points, so it was nice to meet some real ones for a change.

On the subject of whether the Billionaires for Bush gimmick is relevant -- and personally, I thought the irony of our billionaire mayor telling the people to stay the fuck out of Central Park on Sunday pretty much settles that question -- I respectfully submit the following:

Monday is Grover Norquist's yacht party, which we would not miss for the world.

Link.

Yacht party. Yacht party, Kraorh. But Bush an' Norquist and all his Pioneers and Rangers are jus' reg'lar folks, right?

Also:

Even The Neocon New Republic loves the Billionaires. ("Whose media? Our media!")

username: igotalotta

password: billions

Excerpts:

Billionaires for Bush easily could have slipped into the liberal fury rut, infusing their cries of "Lower the minimum wage" and "No justice? No problem!" with real bitterness. But they believe the problem with most protesters isn't lack of passion, but lack of good humor. Billionaire Geoffrey Laff addressed the need for niceness at Sunday's march: "I think people respond to messages that are not said in anger. When you appear on the surface to be positive, and happy about something, people respond, and then when they realize that it's a satire, they're doubly pleased because it's a positive message and yet the cynical undercurrent is there." It's a one-two punch: Charm the pants off onlookers with big smiles and beauty queen waves, and then flatter them as hip ironists by letting them in on the joke. Meanwhile, slip your serious message under the radar.

[...]

The police, and nearly every other breed of spectator, seemed delighted by the Billionaires. A few people looked perplexed, and one or two shouted "Screw you guys!" or "Gore won the election!" (to which a Billionaire replied, "We bought the election fair and square") but most smiled and snapped photos. Pretzel vendors grabbed stickers printed with the Billionaire logo, a red and blue piggy bank bursting with cash. A van full of cops crawled alongside the protest, its passengers grinning and waving. "Thank you for working without a contract!" one billionaire said to an amused policeman. "Move it along," said a cop, "no one's making money standing still." "We make money standing still!" protested a Billionaire.

[...]

Sourness tainted the fizzy atmosphere of the march when the Billionaires collided with Communists for Kerry. The Communists wore great outfits--red shirts, clumping boots, and fake beards--but their satire lacked punch. The wittiest they could manage: "Foreign Policy? Ask France First." The Communists, unlike the Billionaires, haven't figured out that people will willingly listen to any message, even one they disagree with, as long as it is delivered through smiling lips. Unlike the effervescent Billionaires, they tried to get laughs by shouting angrily and insulting their audience, a tactic the most amateur comedian at Caroline's knows to avoid. "Bush-haters of the world, unite!" bellowed the Commies, and "Viva la revolución!"

At this most meta of moments, the right-wingers disguised as liberals had adopted the ineffective anger of the group they purported to mock, while the left-wingers disguised as Republicans had wisely embraced the upper crust's bonhomie. If Republicans want to make a good showing in the irony sweepstakes, they're going to have to do a little better than Russian-accented Communists shouting, "Goddamn billionaires--I hate you. I hate your goddamn guts." The majority of Sunday's crowd, which probably does hate billionaires' goddamn guts, was less interested in observing faux Fidel Castros than in chuckling at a passing Billionaire who remarked, "It's all about trickle down. I overtipped my sommelier last night." By the time the Billionaires broke into choruses of, "Let them bow, let them scrape / Let them peel us all a grape / The election is paid for by us," the Communists for Kerry had clearly been bested. Their unequivocal defeat suggests that a decades-old piece of conventional wisdom about American politics--that the left takes itself too seriously and that the right is better at projecting sunny good humor--holds even when left and right are being played by each other.

Also:

Wonkette's much-anticipated report on the Americans for Tax Reform Yacht Party.

Still think our satire's off the mark? We report, you decide.

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