EVERYONE KNOWS, IN THAT PARALLEL UNIVERSE where many Tea Party-faithful live, that free markets and American freedoms are under sustained attack. The danger is critical. The cast of characters nefarious. The leading malefactor, of course, is President Barack Hussein Obama. His allies and abettors include swarming dark-skinned people who want to live in America, evil union thugs and gay people.
The latest howl of fear comes from John Sununu, who warned a petrified right-wing audience yesterday that President Obama needed to "learn how to be an American."
Hoping it might be possible to come to grips with this paranoia, your humble blogger decided to sit down with Tea Party philosopher John Galt for a talk. What follows is a transcript of the interview (which, trust me, we are not making up):
Humble Blogger: Mr. Galt, an honor. (Galt is normally highly elusive.) I loved how you saved free enterprise in Atlas Shrugged.
John Galt: Let us hope it is possible to save it still, even to finish our interview before agents of the Marxist in the White House come for us...
HB: I wonder. If the president is a communist how is it that the stock market has recovered from its incredible plunge, touched off by Wall Street barons, themselves, while he has been in the Oval Office? It sank to a low of 6,400 in 2009, wiping out trillions in investment. Now the market has rebounded to 12,870. Why aren't corporations more worried if a communist has his tentacles wrapped round the economy?
JG: This is why the situation is so grave. Because most people don't see it. It's like trying to see what possessed Disney to think John Carter was a good idea for a movie.
HB: Could it be that you can't see the threat because it isn't, technically speaking, "real?"
JG: No, no. Look at the clever way Obama first convinced people he was a Muslim. Remember how he used to go around in 2008, bragging about his ties to Islam, always calling himself "Barack Hussein Obama" in every speech?
HB: ...I think that was Sarah Palin and all the douche bags at Fox News...
JG: It was a plot to make us forget Obama was a communist. That he was, at heart, always un-American. And threats to individual freedom are everywhere. First, gay people destroy marriage...
HB: They destroy marriage by marrying...destroy individual freedom by exercising it?
JG: If gay people are treated equal, un-Americanism wins.
JG: Don't you see? Tyranny is already peeking around the corner! Gun ownership goes next. As leaders of the NRA have warned, the Obama administration plans to ban the use of firearms for home defense, ban possession and manufacture of handguns, close 90 percent of gun shops and ban hunting ammunition.
HB: Wouldn't the U. S. Supreme Court, which includes seven justices appointed by Republican presidents, stop them? Or your Tea Party friends in the U. S. House of Representatives? Or couldn't you filibuster in the Senate? We have a critical election coming in four months. Can't conservatives just win at the ballot box?
JG: No, no, all those illegal voters, mostly dark-skinned ones, want to kill democracy. So we have to use all kinds of voter-ID laws to disenfranchise as many poor and elderly Americans as we can... especially dark-skinned ones, because we have to save the freedoms we cherish...
HB: But "all those illegal voters" couldn't kill democracy in 2010. Your side kind of kicked our side's butt during the last election cycle. And your side won the Citizens United case and now captains of industry can pour tens of millions into campaigns. And if anyone should kind of have a rash on their posteriors, it should be liberals. Didn't activists judges hand your side the White House in 2000?
JG: Liberty is doomed...
HB: Has the Obama administration actually advanced any of these ideas to ban home defense, possession of handguns, hunting ammunition?
JG: No. That's what makes it all so diabolical. Obama doesn't DO what we fear. So we know he has a secret PLAN to do it.
HB: Like when he was going to go "soft on terror" as Glenn Beck used to say...before we got Osama?
JG: Right. Obama hates this country.
HB: Let's get back to Citizens United. It is now possible for one super-rich individual, like Sheldon Adelson, to give $35,000,000 to Republican candidates and causes...for corporations, with direct interests in government policy, say, big pharmaceutical companies, to give $100 million if they desire?
JG: Yes. We are trying to save democracy here...by buying it, if necessary.
HB: Save it from whom?
JG: People who vote for Democrats. Union members, for example, those dirty thugs, funneling all their dirty money into politics...
HB: I know your side hates unions donating to President Obama and Democratic candidates and issues. Why?
JG: Unions undermine individual liberties. Unfortunate workers all over America are forced...forced (Galt has to choke back tears)...to, to (he sobs)...belong to unions.
HB: Do you think the fact that union members make, on average, $10,000 more per year than non-union members, might soften the blow?
JG: Of course not. In a free market system we are all completely free, as individuals, to do as we please.
HB: Let me pose a few hypotheticals. A 43-year-old divorced mother, raising three kids, no support from a dead-beat father, working two jobs? Better off, because she's not in a union, doesn't have to pay dues, has no paid sick leave or health care coverage?
JG: Better off by far.
HB: A non-union clerk at Wal-Mart, making $11 per hour after five years. Clerk has to go against the company and bargain for a raise on his own?
JG: Free market perfection. Wal-Mart, free on one side. The clerk, free on the other. Just the right balance.
HB: A teacher belongs to a union and the union wants her to negotiate a $1,500 raise.
JG: Class warfare!!!
HB: Meanwhile, J. P. Morgan can make risky bets and lose $7 billion in investor money and we don't want to interfere with how Wall Street conducts business?
JG: We're not communists!
HB: So, the British banks rig the LIBOR, the basic interest rate, and this affects what the Wal-Mart clerk pays for a car loan and what the teacher pays for a home mortgage, driving up costs? Still, no need to regulate?
JG: We don't want to mess up the free market...
HB: We don't want to pass legislation to stop the super-rich from hiding their money in Cayman Island tax shelters, either?
JG: Tax increases slow job creation.
HB (mumbling to self): Where, in the Cayman Islands?
JG: Allow me to explain. The plumber who belongs to a union is a terrible danger to liberty. The CEO who makes $100 million and has a secret bank account in Switzerland is a great patriot. The gay person who wants to marry wants to destroy Christianity. Apple Corporation, which pays Chinese workers, holding college degrees, $22 per day, is protecting your right as an American citizen to worship as you please. The teacher who wants that raise wants to see your taxes skyrocket and wants to kill the American Dream. The owner of the company that wants $50 million in tax abatements to build a factory in Kentucky, or he might just have to build his factory in Taiwan, is trying to save the Dream.
HB (shaking his head in disbelief): Mr. Galt, do you think there is any hope to save the freedom's we cherish?
JG: Glimmers. Faint glimmers. Mitt Romney might do it. He has run a business before. Bain Capital, which he led for many years, was always looking out for the interests of the average American worker.
HB: Shouldn't Mr. Romney release his tax returns, then, so we can get a clear picture of how he created all those jobs?
JG: Has anyone told you lately that President Obama hates America?
HB: Didn't Bain kill Worldwide Grinding Systems, a Kansas City steel mill, after it took over the company in the 90s? When the company failed, under Bain, didn't the federal government have to step in and bail out the pension fund, costing taxpayers $44 million, and making it a federal bailout for Romney and pals?
JG: Those who invest capital must be rewarded. Or they don't create jobs. Poof! There goes your American Dream.
HB (grinding his teeth and muttering, "not to mention your pension," then asking audibly): Bain took over KB Toys, saddled the toy-maker with debt, cost thousands of jobs? Didn't Romney and crew put up a mere $18 million investment, then borrow $302 million, then pay themselves an $85 million dividend? Didn't they again saddle a real company, selling a real product, employing real people, with real debt, and end up killing 3,400 jobs?
JG: You do realize Obama is coming for our guns...our ammo...our TV remotes...
HB: And...didn't Romney and crew get the special capital gains tax rate of 15% for all the hard work they did, pushing around paper...(sarcastically) "real work"...as opposed to those poor shlubs in that Kansas steel mill or that KB toy plant in Pittsfield, New York? Don't you think maybe Mitt and his type, the guys on Wall Street, who produce nothing tangible, except obscene profits for themselves, are the real threat to the American Dream?
JG: Next, Obama starts closing churches...
HB: Didn't the Washington Post report that Bain was a pioneer in outsourcing American jobs to foreign countries? I have the article somewhere. Here it is: "[The] private equity firm was involved early on, at a time when the departure of jobs from the United States was beginning to accelerate and new companies were emerging as handmaidens to this outflow of employment."
JG: ...making us hang pictures of Karl Marx in bedrooms...
HB: Didn't Bain start with Corporate Software Inc., then develop a talent for shipping jobs to other countries with Stream International Inc., which "gave birth to another, related business known as Modus Media Inc., which specialized in helping companies outsource their manufacturing. Modus Media was a subsidiary of Stream that became an independent company in early 1998. Bain was the largest shareholder, SEC filings show."
JG: Before you know it government is unplugging granny...
HB: Didn't Modus soon say it was operating call centers and serving Microsoft from Asian locations in Singapore, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan? Didn't the same company expand into packaging and assembly work, serving IBM, Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard Co. and the Dell Computer Corporation?
JG: You're a communists, are you, Humble Blogger?
HB: No, sir, just a concerned American. Thank you, Mr. Galt. That's all the time we have for today.