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Roberts’s “Bush Moment”

by Mark Crispin Miller
Thursday, 22 January 2009
Chief Justice Roberts screwed up Obama's oath of office because his heart just wasn’t in what he was saying—just like Bush, whose tongue broke down whenever he was forced to sound a note of altruism or idealism or inclusiveness, or any other alien notion.
With the whole world watching, Chief Justice John G. Roberts garbled up Obama’s oath of office yesterday—deliberately, some say, since the new president must speak his piece precisely, and Roberts made that quite impossible (unless Obama had decided to ignore his clumsy prompts, and do it right entirely on his own).

“I’m relatively certain they re-administered the oath out of view of the masses to make it all legit,” writes a friend. “I say he screwed it up on purpose.” That could be, although, if so, it would be a pretty brazen move. [Ed. Note: In fact, the Chief Justice did readminister the oath to President Obama at 7:35 p.m. in the White House's Map Room.]

I’d say that Roberts didn’t do it consciously, but that his screw-up was a stark bit of unconscious interference with Obama’s swearing-in. Roberts is, of course, a flaming Bush Republican—and, as such, intent on (further) disenfranchising the very citizens who voted, or tried to vote, for Obama/Biden.

For example, Roberts has been on (what we might call) the Klan side of every Supreme Court decision that pertains to voting rights since he was placed on that almighty body. He voted to uphold the Indiana photo ID law, having made some idiotic arguments defending it in open court.

The stated purpose of the law was to halt in-person “voter fraud” in Indiana. Replying to the point that there was not a single case of such fraud ever having been discovered in that state, Roberts noted that such lack of evidence was no surprise, since “voter fraud” is, by its very nature, secret, and therefore leaves no traces. (Cf. Rumsfeld’s Law: “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”) And upon hearing that ID-less Indiana voters have to cast provisional ballots, and then travel to the county seat to get them counted, Roberts said that that was not a hardship, since county seats in Indiana aren’t so far away.

And the Roberts Court has recently decided to take up a lawsuit arguing that there’s no longer any need for Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act—a move whereby the Court could simply nullify Congress’s extension of the Act back in 2006. (Click here for more on this.)

Such moves make very clear that our Chief Justice is a faithful servant of, and true believer in, his ever-shrinking party and its racist base. Thus is he operating squarely in the un-American tradition of the Court that gave us Bush v. Gore. (He’s also following in the footsteps on his predecessor William Rehnquist, who made his bones as an anti-democratic activist way back in the early Sixties, when, as a lawyer for the GOP, he roamed the precincts of South Phoenix on Election Day, trying to block minority votes.)

In short, Roberts personifies that spirit of fanatical elitism whereby the Bush Regime, and its bad works, were forced on all the rest of us. Small wonder, then, that Roberts couldn’t make his tongue behave as he stood out there yesterday, half-trying to suppress his rage sufficiently to swear Obama in. And so he screwed it up, because his heart just wasn’t in what he was saying—just like Bush, whose tongue broke down whenever he was forced to sound a note of altruism or idealism or inclusiveness, or any other alien notion.

And this won’t be the last time that we hear the voice of Bush (or Cheney) piping up in unexpected places. Much depends on whether our new president will be polite, and let it resonate, or whether he will shut it down at last, and try instead to say—and do—what’s right.

Mark Crispin Miller, a professor of media ecology at New York University, recently edited a book about voting fraud, Loser Take All, a compendium of investigative reports. Miller researches such topics as modern propaganda, history and tactics of advertising, American film, and media ownership. His recent books include The Bush Dyslexicon and Cruel and Unusual: Bush/Cheney's New World Order. This article, published in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author, was originally published on the author's "News from Underground" blog.

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This story was published on January 22, 2009.