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Friday, October 27, 2006

About sacrifice, pt I: the stab in the back

Some people serve

Jamie Rose for The New York Times
Some people serve drinks

At Play in the Realm of Political Animals
Partying heartily at Swine on the Vine at the Potomac Polo Club near Washington.

Published: October 22, 2006


THE gravel driveway for the Potomac Polo Club is unmarked, but the 200 young men and women who traveled here, 45 minutes from Washington, knew they were at the right place when they spotted the black Hummer limousine and saw the crowd at the beer bong.

They had arrived at the fall party, Swine on the Vine, of the Capital Club, a Washington group of 100 politically connected young men, who are known for partying like they’re back at a fraternity kegger.

For a certain set of young Washington, the parties are a raucous antidote to the restrained fund-raisers and embassy cocktail gatherings that otherwise make up the district’s social life.

“The Capital Club has no mission except to show its members and their many dates a good time,” said Jayne Sandman, associate publisher of the Washington magazine Capitol File. “It’s hedonistic relief from a city of suits and ties.”

Among the club members and their guests, most in their 20’s and 30’s, were White House staff members, Capitol Hill aides, lawyers, publicists and lobbyists. About 90 percent of club members are Republican, and 80 percent work in government. Barbara and Jenna Bush have been known to show up at some of the parties, six a year, which provide a glimpse of Washington’s young power elite with ties loosened, six years into the Republican domination of government.

When the cover band took a break at Swine on the Vine, guests crowded around the beer bong, eager to take their turn guzzling a can of beer poured down a funnel. A young man shook a portable outhouse because he knew his buddy was inside.

The dress code was preppy enough for a polo ground: women in pearl necklaces, lightweight wrap sweaters and jeans tucked into riding boots. Men favored oxford shirts with sunglasses strung around their necks. Jeff Kimbell, a lobbyist who is a former club president, wore a belt buckle made from a car’s gearshift handle (with options for “drive and reverse,” he said suggestively). Josh Overbay, who works for the United States Chamber of Commerce, wore a camouflage hat that said, “Support Wildlife. Drink Wild Turkey.”

“Girls love to hate them,” observed Bridget Bunner of the Capital Club’s 100 men. Ms. Bunner, a 23-year-old fund-raiser for Democratic Congressman Alan B. Mollohan of West Virginia, added, “They’re the kind of guys their moms want them to marry.”

This summer, members sent each other Internet links to a Smirnoff ad on YouTube that parodied every cliché of the WASP elite, down to their seersucker suits and the popped collars of their polo shirts. It featured three blondes in pearls and tennis clothes, with young men rapping “where my WASP’s at?” and calling haters “jealous because our families run the nation.” Capital Club members said it reminded them of themselves.

Members of the club have connections throughout government, and in some cases are wired right into the brain trust at the White House: the Republican lobbying firm DCI Group, which has strong ties to the Republican Party chairman Ken Mehlman and the White House senior adviser Karl Rove, has sponsored its parties. But club members insist their gatherings are not about networking or advancing anyone’s career or political agenda.

If we are to discuss Bush's failures, and we are, let's start with his greatest one: a refusal to call for sacrifice.

A bunch of vermin, otherwise known as Republican staffers , feel not a pang of guilt over living it up, while others die to make their fantasies come true. I'm sure ifg you asked these moral cowards about the price of freedom, they would spout some nonsense about supporting the troops.

Sure, as long as they didn't have join them. Instead, they play at being rich and connected and other people die, every day, in the sandbox.

The Iraq War was doomed from the very start for many reasons, but in the end, one which stands out is the colonial detachment which it was treated with. Oh, the "soldiers" will fight our colonial war.

This the same group of people who gave you the CPA, or as I called it, the GOPCPA. The callow young Republican who's never missed a meal in his life. Never sweated in a swamp or carried a rifle, but is certain other people should do those things. Not even willing to question it.

So this is what we get, the kind of culture which permits this without calling anyone to account. Young Republicans rejoice in their privlege, while the 11B's, which come from an entirely different world, does their dirty work.

There's a reason we give to veterans groups in my family. We know they get treated like shit, and the people quickest to do it are these same people. The ones who cheered them on, but wonder why that guy walks with a limp or has a missing arm or in a wheelchair and then goes right back to their plasma TV and blonde future pundit. They see no connection between their indulgence and the sacrifice they demand of others. No sense of shame or need for sacrifice.

Iraq is an "issue", not the place where three Americans a day are dying and triple that are wounded. Nope. It's an issue. It doesn't affect their lives one bit.

And that, is the stab in the back. The people who wanted a war they would not fight, would not lift a finger to support.

posted by Steve @ 9:05:00 AM

9:05:00 AM

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