summer, I totally blew off the Fourth of July
on the grounds that there was nothing to celebrate.
I went back to see if I even wrote an essay about
it, and discovered that while I did write an essay
on the Fourth, it was about President Fustercluck's
bray to the people of Iraq to "bring them on!"
was a discouraging time. While it was clear to
anyone who was paying close attention that Iraq
was a complete fiasco, the American people didn't
seem to know or accept this, and support for the
war remained strong. It was considered a given
that Putsch would raise over $200 million for
the campaign and just blow whoever the Democratic
candidate was right out of the water. The neo-cons,
still riding high, were talking about attacking
Iran and Syria, and the administration was broadly
hinting that it would start punishing its political
foes for being political foes.
left me wondering if the people setting off fireworks
and having barbeques and the like were celebrating
the birthday of a corpse.
hadn't given up entirely. On that weekend, I wrote
a piece called "The Invincible Balloon," and in
it, I said: "The captive media has been making
a big thing lately about Putsch's popularity,
and the huge amounts of money that he has gathered.
To hear the babble from happy radio commentators
and dispirited Democrats, Putsch's reelection
is a sure thing' and the possibility of a liberal
or moderate getting the Democratic nomination
is dead in the water. It's a pervasive message,
one repeated by hundreds of right wing radio talk
show hosts and written by hundreds of right wing
newspaper pundits and passed out among the vast
right wing grapevine in the corporations and the
churches. The only problem is that it is sheer
course it was, but the bugger factor was whether
the voters would figure that out in the next 15
months or not.
out that they have, in large numbers. Putsch's
approval ratings have plummeted to 42% and figure
to drop further as more and more people see "Fahrenheit
9/11" (the gross is presently $50 million and
will easily break $100 million). Eighty percent
of voters don't believe Putsch was being straight
with America about why we attacked Iraq. And while
the polls show Kerry and Putsch neck and neck,
these same polls fail to account for the six or
seven percent Nader gets. Since Nader only got
2.3% last year, and will be doing good to get
one fifth of that this time, I assume the polls
are getting bad data.
we have an honest election.
the voters realize that GOP propaganda about how
good jobs are coming is pure horse manure. We
have eight million more people who need jobs than
we had in 2001. That the government only counts
1.6 million of them is irrelevant.
the Democrats don't sell out the left in their
urge to become one with the political center.
You cannot lead from the political middle, a group
which consists of the easily led. If Democrats
start forsaking liberal values, and exchange leadership
for marketing, they will lose, because Republicans,
vile as they are, at least take bold stands, and
convince the middle to move in their direction,
rather than becoming one with the Olive Oyl voters.
we don't have an "October surprise" -- one top
intelligence officer told the press that he felt
terrorists might stage a Spanish-style terrorist
attack in hopes of getting Putsch re-elected,
since Putsch has done so much for al Qaida.
the treasonous thieving bastards who own the electronic
voting machines don't simply steal a lot of votes
everywhere touch-screen paperless machines are
the election isn't close enough for the Republicans
Kerry doesn't turn into Hubert Humphrey. Folks
old enough to remember the 1968 election will
remember the Hump. He was a party stalwart (the
vice president, in fact) who staged a come-from-behind
nomination against two insurgent candidacies,
from Eugene McCarthy and the assassinated Bobby
was in a bind. He knew that most of the people
in his party opposed the war in Vietnam -- hell,
he had watched the war destroy Lyndon Johnson's
presidency. He knew Democratic voters, unlike
their Republican counterparts, wouldn't blindly
vote for party over everything, especially Vietnam.
But LBJ had made it clear that if he wanted LBJ's
support and resources, he had better keep his
yap shut about the war and not take any position
that might suggest he opposed Lyndon's policies.
Hump was missing in action on the issue that matter
most to a majority of voters and a big majority
of his own constituency.
was running against Richard Nixon, who took a
real simple approach to the issue: he simply lied
to the voters. "I have a secret plan to end the
war in Vietnam," Nixon intoned, promising something
called "Peace with honor."
care to guess what might have happened if Humphrey
had come out and promised to bring the troops
home ASAP along about October, 1968? We would
never have heard of George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld,
Dick Cheney, William Safire, G. Gordon Liddy,
or all the rest of the poisonous Nixon legacy.
Watergate would be just another Washington hotel,
and thousands of Americans and millions of Vietnamese
would be leading happy and productive lives today.
is MIA on Iraq, and it's eroding his support among
what otherwise would be his strongest supporters.
Nobody is quite sure why he is being so reticent
about taking a stand of any sort beyond "support
the troops" and keeping them there indefinitely.
But it's hurting him.
a growing consensus that Iraq was a terrible mistake
from the get-go. The press, which failed miserably
to avert the quagmire in the first place, is now
condemning it, too late to regain any squandered
credibility for themselves, but in a belated attempt
to "bring people the news" that the media thinks
is best for the ratings.
has every opportunity to win this election. But
if he subsides into the role played by far too
many Democrats of "me too, only nicer," he stands
to blow that opportunity.
he leads, rather than follows, he will win.
single action makes all the earlier Ifs moot.
Posted: July 6, 2004