The other day, Mitt Romney was in North Carolina building alliances for his 2008 shot at the Republican presidential nomination. After warning that terroristic Islamic fundamentalists wanted to conquer America (or maybe not), he said this:
Romney said that his administration had eliminated more government jobs "in Massachusetts than any other state in America."
Leaving aside the grammar question (I don't think that, as governor of Massachusetts, he was in a position to eliminate jobs in any other state) there is something really unpleasant about using that as a bragging point. Small government Republicans make a habit of referring to civil service employees as "the bureaucracy." The bureaucracy, in their use, is an amorphous, sinister mass that is opposed to all decent American values. The bureaucracy seeks to strangle the American character.
In reality the bureaucracy is a group of middle-class Americans with moderately well-paying jobs. They pay their taxes, send their kids to school and contribute to the economy by spending their money in local stores. They are our neighbors. It is only by dehumanizing the civil service that someone like Romney could proudly announce how many middle-class jobs he's eliminated and expect to get applause. It is to our shame that most Americans are easily enough fooled that they do applaud, rather than throw fruit.