The Power Elite’s Dream Ballot

If you hear gleeful giggling from behind the curtain shielding the political elites from the mere masses, you’re not alone. There’s a party going on and we haven’t been invited. It’s a presidential election party, where the puppeteers of our democracy are celebrating an upcoming election that they can’t lose. It’s a contest between two of their own.

George Bush versus John Kerry is a dream ballot for those whom C. Wright Mills called the “power elite,” that tight little club of economic, political and military leaders who truly rule the nation. The power elite doesn’t care about political party affiliations. That’s child’s play. In their view, fools line up to vote while the real players decide who’s on the ballot. And for some reason we still refer to the whole charade as democracy. The joke’s on you.

Bush v. Kerry is simply nirvana for the bluebloods. As they say in the business world: it’s a win-win situation. From their perspective, whomever places his hand upon the Bible (yes, the Bible) on January 20, 2005 doesn’t matter because with a Bush/Kerry contest they’re already assured there will be no meaningful change in America for the next four years. None. Zero. Zippo.

Before the delusional Democrats out there start peppering me with hostile emails about the absolute necessity of getting “anybody but Bush” in the White House, just stop yourselves long enough to consider these facts: Kerry supported Bush’s war on Iraq; Kerry supported Bush’s tax cuts; Kerry hasn’t proposed one major social or environmental initiative in over 20 years in the U.S. Senate; Kerry hasn’t put forward any meaningful policy initiatives in his campaign for the presidency regarding jobs or healthcare. Kerry’s campaign seems to be all about proving that he qualifies as “anybody but Bush.” And all that takes is a pulse.

Bush and Kerry are also, of course, both proud military men. Bush took the easy way out of the Vietnam War by joining the National Guard – whether he showed up or not is another matter. Kerry, as he’s so fond of telling us, served his country by running gunboats up and down the rivers of Vietnam. Brace yourselves, folks, because the Bush/Kerry contest will be filled with assertions and accusations about who loves the military more.

Kerry is really confusing on the issue of the military, too. Before pro-military audiences, Kerry trots out his military medals (three Purple Hearts!) and talks tough about his “duty and service” to the nation. But then he’ll stand before the Dean Democrats and talk about how he led the anti-war movement when he got home. Well, John, what’s it going to be: duty and service or conscientious objections?

It’s this kind of double talk that has littered the political career of John Kerry. He’s always hanging around talking out of both sides of his mouth until it’s safe to actually pick a side – and then only if he’s forced to. Kerry doesn’t need Botox injections; he needs a spinal transplant.

Then consider Kerry’s oft-quoted attacks on “special interests.” Apparently, his special interests are holier than Bush’s special interests. The truth, of course, is that they share many of the same special interests, all to the detriment of we, the non-special people.

While it pains me to invoke the words of David Brooks, a conservative columnist at The New York Times, he did sufficiently lampoon Kerry’s rhetoric on special interests in a recently published column entitled “Kerry’s Special Friends.” After detailing many of Kerry’s special favors to the high and mighty, Brooks concludes as follows:

“You just ask David Paul, one of the big figures in the savings and loan scandal, if Kerry didn’t make him feel special. You just ask the high-tech executive Bob Majumder how special Kerry made him feel, at least until Majumder was charged with 40 counts of conspiracy, witness tampering, fraud, tax evasion and illegal campaign contributions. You just ask the law firms, the brokerage houses, the oil companies, the <H.M.O>.’s and the drug companies, which have donated tens of thousands of dollars to Kerry.

“Oh, he sometimes pretends that he doesn’t care about our special interests. He puts on that callous populist facade. But deep down he cares. Maybe he cares too much. When he’s out on the stump saying otherwise, he’s just being a big old phony.”

Of the many similarities between the patricians Bush and Kerry, there’s nothing more disturbing than their membership in the super-secret and super-elite Skull & Bones club at Yale University. The fact that both men are members of this club and neither is willing to spill the beans on any of its internal secrets and favors should speak volumes about the apparent “choice” this nation is being offered on the November ballot.

“America is about to choose between two presidential candidates,” writes Sam Smith, editor of the indispensable Progressive Review (<>), “who belonged to an organization whose values were infantile, elitist, misogynist, anti-democratic and secret and whose purposes include the mutual support and protection of its members as they make their into the upper ranks of American society and throughout their adult lives. Far from apologizing for this, the two candidates refuse to give open and honest answers about their participation. Further, at least one of the candidates, Kerry, has retained a close enough relationship to the organization to have sought news members from among his young acquaintances.”

If Bush v. Kerry is truly the choice being offered to the nation in November, we don’t even have to wait for the voting to begin in order to declare the winner. This nation’s power elites are not only poised for yet another victory, but they’re thrilled by the prospects of four more years of calm, non-threatening waters from which they float their political boats.

MICHAEL COLBY is the editor of Wild Matters. He can be reached at:



Michael Colby is the president of Regeneration Vermont, a nonprofit that documents the threats of industrial agriculture while promoting regenerative alternatives. He is also a campaign consultant to the Organic Consumers Association.