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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

“In the feudal system,” The Oxford English Dictionary says, a vassal is “one holding lands from a superior on conditions of homage and allegiance.”

The system lives on in modern American politics, forsooth in changed form. No longer is it local lords providing military support to a king in return for grants of land. Nowadays, the vassals show their loyalty in the form of large campaign checks. In return, they are promised various economic privileges, among them protection from taxation.

The ritual in all its pageantry has been on display at the Bush family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine. There former president George Herbert Walker Bush, his wife, Barbara, and other members of the Bush dynasty hold court to advance Jeb Bush’s quest for the presidency. The object is to make Jeb the second son of H.W.’s, after George W., to capture the White House.

Picture the Bush clan treating CEOs, sports-team owners, and other modern-day vassals to lobster rolls and consenting to pose in the courtiers’ selfies. Imagine the splendor: the many houses, including a new one for Jeb, perched on the rocks of Walker’s Point, the Atlantic crashing at their feet.

Such invites are “the prize for members of the vaunted Bush fund-raising operation,” writes political reporter Nicholas Confessore. They are why Jeb has raised as much money for his campaign as the other Republican presidential candidates and their SuperPACs combined.

Spending so much time in this closed society may also help explain Jeb’s politically awkward remark that Americans “need to work longer hours.”

In olden times, the serfs were regarded as beasts of burden, to be whipped into higher productivity. Conditions are much improved, but one can assume the conversations at the Bush compound do not linger long on the common folk’s economic interests.

A big reason Donald Trump is matching or passing Jeb in the polls is that he is talking to the serfs. He may be saying stupid things, but at least he recognizes their existence.

Bush complained that his views are being taken out of context and elaborated. He really said that sustained growth requires that “people work 40 hours rather than 30 hours.” That way, they have more money and can “decide how they want to spend it rather than getting in line and being dependent on government.”

Another way of stimulating growth would be to have Americans work the same hours but get paid more. That, too, would put more money in their pockets, prompting more spending and saving. This solution might require employers to share more of the profits with their laborers as they used to do. Such scenarios don’t cross the royal mindset, the key to growth always being to crank up the serfs’ stress level.

The reality is that lots of Americans would love a 40-hour job but are instead stuck working two 30-hour jobs, neither offering such luxuries as health coverage and vacation time. That’s the sad reality of today’s job market and one reason the Affordable Care Act was so necessary. It subsidizes health coverage for workers who can’t get it through their employment.

But economic security in some eyes is dependency in others’. One conservative argument goes that repealing Obamacare would force workers into the 40-hour jobs they’re alleged to be turning up their noses at. It’s the lash, always the lash.

Over at Walker’s Point, donors are meeting a new set of Bushes, known as “P’s crowd.” That would be George P. Bush, a son of Jeb’s apparently looking to claim the family political inheritance. Some of P’s followers have parents who back P’s parent.

Methinks the show goes on.

Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at [email protected] To find out more about Froma Harrop and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Web page at

Photo: “George W. Bush and family” (circa January 2005) by Eric Draper, Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

  • FireBaron

    Wow. Denouncing an elitist for failing to recognize his elitism.

  • 1Zoe55

    Jeb Bush seems totally unprepared for the tough campaign ahead. He is inarticulate needing to backtrack most of his statements. Does Jeb, like Mitt Romney, expect to be anointed President? The thought of all those millions of dollars from his wealthy donors going down the drain would be a wonderful moment, one to be relished.

    • idamag

      That didn’t stop the war criminal from becoming president.

      • Kathleen

        I love yours also. Both of you are on point and really educate me.

        • idamag

          Thank you. I am an American history buff. My career was in technical writing where we are taught to use only facts and a good technical writer cannot put his or her personality into her writing. Also, on e of my classes was expository writing and we learned to spot untruths and dogma.In simpler terms we developed a B.S, meter.

  • Eleanore Whitaker

    Actually, there was another poll just yesterday that shows that Hillary Clinton is ahead of Trump by 6 points and 8 points ahead of Jeb.

    • CPAinNewYork

      What poll is that, dipsh$$t? The Libber Poll?

      • Eleanore Whitaker

        Pew and Heritage Foundation…Dipshit..what’s the matter no more corrupt number crunching today? CONman?

        • Kathleen

          Eleanore, I know you get a lot of flack, but I love your comments!

          • Eleanore Whitaker

            Kathleen, I never post anything I can’t substantiate. That’s why these bubble headed males who hang on these threads for dear life, can’t keep up.

            It’s one thing to make a statement and another to make a statement for which there is no substantiation…they used to call that “lying.”

            I am not now, nor ever, going to allow these male bullies to intimidate me. I’ve lived my entire life (not of my choosing) in a man’s world since birth. If I don’t know the chaff from the wheat by now, I’d have to be catatonic…Thank you for your kind comment.

          • idamag

            Some of those bigoted fascists are women.

          • Eleanore Whitaker

            Thanks Ida for pointing that out. I guess I view women who sidle up to right wing ideology as mostly leaches who are financially dependent on a man for their existence.

            Women like that only know how to shake their heads up and down (YES) and NEVER side to side (NO) lest their buttered palms go dry.

          • idamag

            Reminds me of the women, I seen, standing behind Romney while he was giving his speeches. Reminded me of the bobble heads you see in the rear window of cars sometimes.

          • Eleanore Whitaker

            The women behind Romney, right wingers and CONservatives are usually “golddiggers” who wouldn’t know what a real day’s work is. They think having to hand their maids the day’s menu for meals is hard work. These are the same women who are the first to look down their noses at women men have abandoned to fend for themselves. Then, when these women prove they don’t need a man, these golddiggers act as if we are from some alien planet.

            I’m just as hard on golddigger women as I am on rich “entitled” men. No where in the Constitution does it say these people are “MORE” entitled than the rest of us.

  • pmbalele

    What does that picture tell us-All-In-The-Family? Any way they look good.

  • Mortalc01l

    I think the positive thing we can take from this whole Trump debacle, is that Trump has nakedly stated what we all knew; that Republicans are racists and that the days of Republicans having smart, balanced politicians are far gone these days.

    The fact that Trump can LEAD the polls right now, should make every single decent Republican weep in frustration. Not only have the lunatics taken over the asylum, but they also have the keys to the Bus and are running amok and there’s nothing the mainstream Republicans can do about it.!!

    Republicans like to paint Obama as “weak”.. well how weak are the Republican’s so called leaders, that they have allowed this fiasco to destroy ANY chance they had at regaining the Presidency? They can’t control this egomaniacal, narcissistic blowhard; what chance would they have of controlling Putin, or ANY of the situations in the Middle East? Talk about WEAK!

  • Dominick Vila

    Hopefully nobody is surprised by the fact that the only wife missing in the family picture shown in this article is Jeb’s wife, Columba, a Mexican American. They are hiding her like the pest because they know that the moment the far right see her that will be the end of Jeb’s chances. The Donald is more aware of how the far right thinks than Jeb is, and he is playing them like a fiddle.

    • dpaano

      But you also rarely see Melania standing next to her man, do you?

      • Dominick Vila

        Maybe she is too busy trying to save her skincare line, or is not happy with the results of her last plastic surgery.

  • CPAinNewYork

    Trump is right on one thing: We have too many illegal aliens in this country. The sooner that we kick that crap out, the better this country will be.

    • Independent1

      You’ve clearly become such an unabashed racist that your posts these days are really meaningless.

    • Paul Bass

      I guess you are a native American with documentation on your inheritable land rights from the 16th century?
      Oh No? Gee then I guess you are just a f$$King hypocrite.

      • idamag

        I remember a t-shirt, I once saw: It shows Columbus’ three ships approaching the shore. On the shore are a bunch of native Americans. One of them is saying, “Should we ask them for their green cards?”

        • CPAinNewYork


          You are truly an idiot.

          • dpaano

            And you are truly a typical GOP…..can’t come up with anything of substance, so you call people names. Get a life!

      • CPAinNewYork

        All I need, shith##d, is to have been born in the United States. That makes me a citizen. The illegals’ failure to have been born in the United States or naturalized means that they have no right to be here.

        Because thye have no right to be here, assh$$e, they should be thrown out or jailed. Your asinine reference to inherited 16th century land rights, which is irrelevant to our dispute demonstrates your inability to come up with a compelling argument.

        • Paul Bass

          Wow are you stupid. So your momny came here illegally.
          Big deal, i guess you can walk on water too.
          Here only the most logical reason, are you and your army of tin hat preppers going to find and drive out over 12,000,000 individuals?
          Good luck with that. When st ronnie and goober bush were faced with 6 mill and 4 mill THEY (your holy ones) gave up and gave them amnesty.
          So you musr be way smarter than your saints if you can provide any solution other than the oral flatulence of your opinion.

          • CPAinNewYork

            Dear Paul Basstard:

            You’re the dumb one, you piece of crap. You’re also a traitor who would surrenter his nation to a bunch of America-hating greasers for low wages.

  • Polana

    looks like Jebbie’s wifey poo is missing in this pic. After all she is chicana and must be hidden from the public. Who will be a 1st lady if Jebbie who?? wins??? Will they hide her in a broom closet????? Go Trump at least U run on your money and can’t be bought.