Sunday, May 08, 2005

And Texas Toast Is Another Name For Garlic Bread

The Gravity Geek Boots Land in Crawford ... Andy Card Delivers the Post Mortem to Fat Timmy ... Tommy Franks and the Sack of Shit ... An Opulent Former Nazi is Crowned Panzer Kardinal ... More Discussion of Pressing the "Freak Button"

"If you're a two-working family like a lotta families are here in America, and, uhh -- two people working in your family, and the, the spouse dies early -- before 62, for example -- all of the money that the spouse has put into the system, uhh, is gum -- held there, and then when the other spouse retires, he or she gets to choose the benefits from his or her own work, or the other spouse's benefits, which is ever higher but not both."
- Dubya discusses "two-working families", Prime Time Press Conference interrupted by Paris Hilton, White House, April 28, 2005

"If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever."
- George Orwell

What will Dubya do now? That seems to be the question that has every strategic thinker and corporate pimp in Washington up late at night - from the dark alleys and recesses of the Beltway to the corner chairs of the National Press Club to the dried up cocktail parties in locales such as Arlington and Georgetown. You can only imagine what the discussion is like in the tense and comfortless bunkers of the organized spin operation known as the American Enterprise Institute, where bought-and-paid-for shills like Bill Schneider and Frank Luntz are burning a great deal of midnight oil wondering if the second-teamers amongst the Rovian Fiasco Court have indeed shot their load entirely or whether Dubya should go back for sloppy seconds on his personal e-ticket ride to pinheaded rapture and messianic nationalism.

In the murky world of Rethug politics these days, the idea of a "vision thing" is like rubbing salt into a gaping wound that is now festering beneath the surface of an impatient electorate. Not even Dubya's daddy liked the "vision thing," a codeword from the 1992 campaign that became the dunce cap for a candidate lacking a true political agenda and a clear understanding of what needed to be done after the election. There was so much public discussion of vision with respect to Bush 41 that Clinton did an end-around and beat him with the Herbert Hoover dope stick until he became marked with the Scarlet "L" for Loser - and Dubya apparently never forgave him for it. But our wonderful Child Preznut learned something important from this political lesson too. In his mind, and in the collective estimation of his loyal minions and big contributors, all you have to do is step to the microphone, order up a crisis of the day, and appear somewhat convincing and devoted to Jesus for about 45% of the voting public: The rest of the petty hassle - the liquid six to seven percent of the registered voters who could shift a poll from "go" to "no go" - is left to the talking heads filters and dissection machines on Cable TV and Talk Radio; the very air of American politics is so electrified with manufactured outrage that forty doses of Oprah and Klonopin couldn't tame the shrew.

Millions of dollars and thousands of high-cash jobs depend on what Dubya does next; then what the Democratic and Rethug leadership brings to the knife fight; on how the media machine parses the fallout from the Social Security flamethrower battle and whether the margins are so close for the 2006 midterms that calculating Senators such as Frist, McCain and Lott start scurrying for the escape hatch and make a few proposals of their own, all of which will never reach the floor.

The wiseguy money is moving heavy on the Democrats right now because the momentum has swung - not all the way to the left, but a lot closer to the center. Not just because Dubya can be seen retreating from the pressure of public opinion in the very manner that outraged the Rethugs when Clinton did it - by reading polls and shaping the public policy debate in light of them - but because every elected politician in Washington has been reading the tea leaves from back home and the approval numbers on Congress are shrinking twice as fast as they are on Dubya, neither of which is a positive turn for the majority in power, and why the Rethugs in private are lobbying the preznut to stay clear of the political third rail - not for him but for them and their long term survival.

There's no reason to mention names at this point, but it's probably a good time to point out how things are shaping up under the big circus tent. For the party loyalists and chief policy wonks who have to deal with legislators who threaten to cut and run on paid for votes and hang out the their associates because they want new appropriations and federal funding for their constituencies, here's something else important to consider: For the first time in 56 years neither an incumbent president or vice president will be on the ticket in 2008 and the Rethug field seems wide open, unless Dubya's Number Two holds another of his appointment committees and selects himself as the most qualified crony in the pack.

MR. RUSSERT:  Let me show you another poll.  That was Quinnipiac.  This is Marist College, the Democratic field for 2008.  Hillary Clinton's at 40 percent; John Kerry, 18 percent; John Edwards, 16 percent; Joe Biden at 7 percent; General Wesley Clark, 4 percent; Russ Feingold from Wisconsin, 2 percent; the governor of Mexico, Bill Richardson, 1 percent; Virginia Governor Warner, Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana, Tom Vilsack of Iowa all asterisks.

Republican side, Mary Matalin, Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York at 27 percent; John McCain at 20 percent; Jeb Bush, the president's brother, governor of Florida, 10 percent; former Speaker Gingrich at 8 percent; Senator Santorum of Pennsylvania at 3 percent; Bill Frist of Tennessee at 3 percent; New York Governor Pataki at 2 percent; Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, 1 percent; Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, 1 percent; Haley Barbour, the governor of Mississippi, 1 percent; Governor Owens of Colorado, Senator George Allen of Virginia and Sam Brownback of Kansas all asterisks.

Happy Mother of God, Sparky! The fat is indeed being hung above the fire already - touching the flames ever so gently for the moment, and without any one major candidate in mind, just yet, but there is no underestimating the harsh taste of blood in politics. Sometime between now and the end of 2005, Dubya will have to bite the hand that's been feeding him since the day he took a meat cleaver to John McCain's shins in South Carolina - essentially calling the Arizona Senator a crackpot with a Negro child and his wife a dope fiend. Even the most sadistic operatives in Washington know that the moment of truth has to happen before the 2006 elections - if not for the selfish reason of setting the stage for 2008, then because of Dubya's real inability to sell the rest of the conservatives and moderates within his own party that the lunatic fringe of the religious right is not scaring the shit out of the country, or why our "Freedom Is On The March in Iraq" soiree is breeding more terrorists now that their elections have been settled and a governing council is in place.

Another great piece of action to take if you like long odds at the betting window, a great purchase at 20-1, is that Dubya will finally crack both mentally and spiritually under all the theocratic posturing and outrage incitement, and he will develop a serious case of Munchausen Syndrome: A psychological disorder characterized by the repeated fabrication or causation of disease symptoms or trauma for the purpose of gaining medical attention or treatment.

This is not as crazy an idea as it may seem at first glance - not even in the framework of my own cruel and punishing opinion of the state of national politics these days. The Chimperor, a semi-professional archetype of Forrest Gump as leader of the quasi-free world on Xanax, has never felt the sense of pressure that is about to be deposited at the White House back door. His whole existence is turning to hell and his wife suddenly gets all the best one-liners from Karen Hughes' twisted imagination, now that Dubya is reduced to a broken and battered shell ... like the abusive husband who violated the terms of a restraining order one too many times and becomes the prison house pleasure unit for a gang of serial rapists.

Domestic abusers don't do very well in the can. To land in general population with the tag of "wife beater" is to violate some kind of savagery litmus test to the career criminal who specializes in armed robbery or assault or even murder. Not even the unlucky stiff who got five to ten on grand theft larceny will sit next to the wife beater during morning chow time, unless he wants a second helping of scrambled eggs by beating his mark with a metal feeding tray.

Now and then you get this same sense about Dubya - that he is not more than just big talk and strength in numbers tough status quo until the hungry sharks arrive for the real bloodletting, the type of people and special interests who can smell weakness beneath his twelve layers of juvenile hubris and know exactly how to push his "wow, a new skateboard!" button. It happened with Iraq, and then again with ANWAR and the Bankruptcy Bill. And for this same reason, my position is and always will be that I highly distrust power and supreme authority, whether those in charge of the Skinner Box keys have earned them by conventional or religious means - or whether it came by distortions, lies, armed conflict or bribes to the shadowy players behind the scenes. Today there are three main evils in the world as far as I can tell: the first is religion, the second is politics and the third is ignorance. And frankly - in America these days - there is no hope of abolishing any one of them. So we're going to have to chip away at these evils slowly, and that's where the battle must be drawn. On one side are those with enough discipline and conviction to see it through, and then those who believe that the freaks at the gates are just playing along the margins with no impact on the forest without the trees - which happens to be the current administration's environmental policy. But it's really either camp now, with no middle ground. All of what I used to know about America, plus all of my experience in Europe and plus all of what I have read or studied about the Third World and global history have convinced me that the "civilized" nations of Planet Earth are about to get their "once-over" from the "under developed" world who are all waiting in line to pounce because of centuries of collective hatred and ignorance about anything that does not look like our Giant System of bullshit, suppression, puppet governments and social order.

In the end it may not even be a real threat - certainly not like what a fundamentalist thinks about an activist judge. But the parallels are disturbing. Because in the last half century, this precious little experiment known as the American Way of Life has been dimmed by reactionaries with a hard on for disturbing progress on the small planet we share. And it should worry you - greatly - and this reality should scare you about what is being left behind to a generation of young people bloated on pails of soda and WalMart-sized buckets of Cheetos, and their brains made more vacant than a dozen Terri Schiavos by the relentless pounding of videogames and cellphone ringtones on the cerebral cortex. Which means by the age of forty most of these children will grow up to be the best addiction society of sociopaths ever created, their medication cabinets glistening with bottles of narcoleptic wonder and their TV sets blaring "product placement" twenty-four-seven. Our eroding democratic experiment may have worked out well for you and me, but they will not be so fortuntate or even lucky.

Then again, the preznut has not yet called your children a crisis.


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