Communism, fascism, socialism, capitalism, barbarism, – hucksterism.
Hucksters know more and something different from what they’re telling their potential buyers. Hucksters do great infomercials. Don King is a huckster. Managers for professional wrestlers, certain evangelical preachers, (Swaggart, Hagee, Haggard) – are all hucksters. They sell hollow products by agitating false needs and cruelly exploiting genuine ones.
Government is an attractive haven for hucksters. Rumsfeld was a government huckster. He had an impatient, incredulous look when someone challenged his product. His exasperated sighs would say, you have no idea how good for you what I’m selling you is, and that’s just too bad – for you.
Condoleezza Rice furrows her brow and is amused by a questioner’s lack of edification as they cast doubt on her product. You can almost hear the sympathetic, “tsk, tsk, tsk” beneath her patronizing quizzical look.
Rush Limbaugh yells and pops blood vessels as he makes a case for whatever the administration is making a case for. He’s hyper huckster empowered by his lack of respect for the people to whom he’s pitching. His contempt for them creates a special intimacy – a bond between consumer/victim and huckster.
Cheney has the soft, sonorous sell. He’s stealth huckster. He knows – he really knows – he knows so clearly and deeply that he only needs to speak in a pitch that has you leaning forward to pay attention. “You come to me for this thing that you and I both know you need,” his tone of voice seems to be saying. “I’ll tell you only what I think you need to know about this thing I’m selling you and not one syllable more.”
Bush is the boy huckster. Like the ne’er do well son trying to legitimize his errant pitch by smiling with satisfaction at the logic that might be escaping you but not him.
If hucksters get into government, it might be the fault of the electorate. How could one not know? If an election is rigged, then it’s a covert coup and the question becomes how did the hucksters even become serious candidates.
Candidate Bush was asked by a BBC reporter in 2000 who the presidents or leaders of nine countries were. He knew not one. He sniped at the reporter – “Well – do you know?” To which the reporter replied, “No – but I’m not running for president.”
This is the question for history and for us right now. Why did he run for president? Why was he asked and empowered and sponsored to run for president?
The years have revealed an answer - because he was and is a huckster. At the moment he’s a tired huckster but there’s a product he was put there to sell and he’s been doing his job. But who hired him? Who said, this is the man who should be president?
A president should be capable of making visionary decisions –can balance mass psychology and anthropology with strategic confrontation and diplomacy and with keen social awareness and a comprehension of all the resulting implications. Who said, “Our money is on Bush to be that man?” Was it some interested collective that needed a huckster – the way GE needed Reagan and the Church needed Bishop Sheen, and bad architecture needs Trump?
Hucksters are not leaders. They’re borderline criminal. Bush has crossed the border. Emboldened by impunity he has decided that he is the one who decides. He goes to default position, which is - I am the president.
Cornered hucksters usually get run out of town. This cornered huckster says, well – what do you have to sell? And then – from his corner he rises up to say, I make the decisions – I no longer need to sell or buy anything.
Ironically, now that he seems to be retiring his huckster status – he is at his most dangerous and he himself now needs to be retired.
Bill C. Davis is a playwright – www.billcdavis.com