Scared Witless and Playing the Patriot Card
If, by some small chance the Republicans lose one of the houses of Congress or (horror of horrors) both of them, serious allegations are likely to blossom into indictments.
Which is understandable. The being scared part, that is. If, by some small chance the Republicans lose one of the houses of Congress or (horror of horrors) both of them, serious allegations are likely to blossom into indictments.
Hard to get more scared than that, if you’re the likely target of investigation.
Topping the list of scares is the quite probable indictment under the articles of impeachment of another sitting president. Two in a row. What have we come to? Either we are scraping the bottom of the barrel candidate-wise, or we have become excessively and aggressively partisan, or we’ve lost our sense of balance. Perhaps all three.
There are a good many Democrats and a good many citizens as well, who remain stung by what they considered to be a foolish and frivolous impeachment of Bill Clinton. Newt Gingrich has admitted as much, but the fight and the distraction stopped whatever momentum Bill Clinton’s second term had going for it, which was the real purpose.
Aforementioned Democrats and citizens look around them today and see a whole government cloth crafted of the fabric of presidential lies. White House manipulation, from the wrong war against the wrong enemy to refusal to carry out laws he disagrees with, points squarely at George Bush. Inappropriate sexual dalliance seems the lesser trauma by a sitting president, albeit a particularly Democratic weakness if the Kennedy-Clinton presidencies are exampled.
Be that a yes or a no, far more serious (if less dramatic) allegations depend upon the November results. The machinations of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld will without doubt be scrutinized and neither can withstand the cold glare of investigation. The combined manipulation of energy policy, outright thievery resulting from Cheney’s Halliburton patronage and the war crimes incurred during Rumsfeld’s watch will no doubt come with the threat of jail.
Serious stuff. Shrugged off in more popular days. Scoffed at in the boy's-club comfort of control over all three branches of government. Yet the wheels have come off in the past year and, as his own party abandons him, the president is running scared.
An administration predicated on lies cannot now find any truths to save itself. Sophocles nailed it, 450 years before Christ—
“How dreadful knowledge of the truth can be when there's no help in the truth.”
However. There's always a however. So, having appropriately howevered myself, there are two very plausible reasons the Republicans may pull it off;
Electorates are strange in the fact that, while they may be thoroughly disgusted with politicians in general, they are reluctant to see their own particular candidate in that light. A subtext of that is ‘the power of incumbency.’ Senators or Representatives who have been in office for several election cycles accrue benefits to their constituencies—benefits the voter is loath to give up.
By the advice of Karl Rove, President Bush is going to dress this election in the cloak of patriotism. Americans are slow to respond to ‘isms’ other than racism and patriotism. The racist card is always dangerous to play, although it will be alive and dressed in less colorful garb, as an immigration and Arab terrorist issue. But patriotism is a sure winner and Bush will rouge it up and flog it unmercifully down to the wire.
Democrats, if they can dump Nancy Pelosi and find their voice, should avoid their usual defensiveness and refuse the bait. Criticizing a war we were lied into for reasons that change as quickly as they are disproved, is not an invitation to ‘meeting terrorists in our streets,’ no matter who says so.
Staying in Iraq to honor the 2,500 kids killed under false pretense and the 10,000 wounded for reasons not yet explained, is a dishonor to that stalwart American bravery, no matter who says otherwise.
Managing the nation’s energy resources in secret and in collusion with those who profit from the consumption of America's energy—then refusing to divulge who was even at the meetings—is criminal collusion, no matter who says it’s none of our business.
Awarding tens of billions of dollars, without competitive bid, to a company formerly headed by the Vice-President of the United States, stinks all the way to a prison term, no matter who says it’s ethical.
Taking a government in budgetary surplus and destroying its finances by unfunded wars and tax giveaways to the rich is incomprehensible as well as criminal, no matter who says it’s the engine of prosperity.
“Stay the course” will be the cry of this president until the eve of November 7th. “Fight terrorism in Iraq or face the terrorists in our streets” is the demagoguery of 2006. Fear is the game and ignorance is fear’s handmaiden. James Baldwin said
“Ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.”
These are ferocious times. Quotes are good to drag out in ferocious times, because they resonate and give us the teachings of the wise and the famous when no one seems either wise or famous. Reach back a hundred years, boys, and quote Theodore Roosevelt—
“To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”
To stay the course, when the course is wrong is unpatriotic and servile. To fight terrorism in Iraq or face the terrorists in our streets, is another lie and a statement morally treasonable to the American public.
Other comments out there on the mid-terms;