MSNBC's Martin Bashir honored the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens' birth Tuesday by likening Republican presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney to two of the author's most reviled creations.
"From Ebenezer Scrooge to Wackford Squeers, Dickens created the most pompous, condescending characters who loved nothing more than protecting their own status while humiliating the poor" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
MARTIN BASHIR: I have a suspicion that Dickens would probably be surprised to discover that while so many cities around the world now look so beautiful, the people are still disfigured. Cities that contain vast numbers who rely on charities for their daily food, who live in permanent fear of losing their jobs, and have lost their homes often through no fault of their own.
But Dickens would not be surprised by the political leaders that we now have. From Ebenezer Scrooge to Wackford Squeers, Dickens created the most pompous, condescending characters who loved nothing more than protecting their own status while humiliating the poor.
And that nicely brings us to Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, one who would send poor children to clean toilets so that they could be civilized, the other who says he’s not overly-concerned about the very poor in our society. Both Republicans, both Dickensian in their outlook. Sadly, maybe not much has changed in 200 years.
For those unfamiliar, Squeers is the brutal villain in Dickens' "Nicholas Nickleby."
As for Bashir, wouldn't Barack Obama fit far better into his Dickensian view of the world?
After all, under this president, unemployment reached levels not seen in many decades while income inequality has expanded as the number of people receiving food stamps and other forms of government assistance exploded.
We learned from the Labor Department Friday that the labor force participation rate now stands at its lowest level in 30 years.
As neither Gingrich nor Romney have been in office during this sad period in American history, it's quite absurd to be blaming them for the nation's misery.
How about pointing that pompous, condescending finger at those presently in power that have caused and/or presided over this nightmare?
In Dickens' terms, that's not something the perilously liberal and hopelessly biased Bashir could possibly countenance.
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