Monday, December 11, 2006

President Bush is the Lone Ranger

I'm thrilled that checks and balances have been restored to the White House. George W. Bush ought to be thankful, too. Finally, he has an opportunity to work with qualified political professionals, and not the right-wing goon squad that has been rubber-stamping his deluded and destructive policies.

Bush reminds me of the old joke in which the Lone Ranger, surrounded by hostile Indians, turns to Tonto and says, "What are we going to do now?" Tonto emits an Indian war whoop and says, "What you mean we?"

The right wing has been kept afloat by cruelty, bully and bombast. Watch now for a rise in old-school Republicanism and a new, centered and sensible, Democratic party.

And Dick Cheney will resign to become a full-time babysitter (as opposed to remaining in office and finishing out two more years as a full-time babysitter.)

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Impeachment is a Move Backwards

Part of me would relish impeaching President Bush. But really, it would just be another volley in the wasteful, trivial game of ping pong the left and right have been playing since the Reagan era.

Bush deserves impeachment, of course. Few if any administrations have abused the power as much. But in creating a balance of power we have established the corrective measure needed so that government can be conducted sensibly. If Rush Limbaugh can say he is now "liberated" from now being the mouthpiece for the ruling right wing, then W. ought to thank God he has now one last shot at redemption. Yes, if he listens to his Daddy (not the one in heaven, but in Kennebunkport,) he may be known for an act or two of decency in his homestretch. A Democratic victory will turn out to be his saving grace. Because the Cheney-Rumsfeld presidency is effectively over, the Vice President might resign and Bush will bring back home Condi to serve and he will for the first time revert back to the persona he had as the hail-fellow-well-met governor of Texas.

Clinton's impeachment was spearheaded by the very same vicious, mean-spirited assassins who have just been shown the door by voters. In 1998, we were not in the muck of war. Impeachment would be a sweet dessert if we had time to kill, but we have no time. This is not just a new Congress. This is a PARAMEDIC Congress that has too much emergency surgery to perform right away than to diddle around with impeaching George H.W. Bush's errant little boy. In fact, if the boy has any of the Christian heart he claims to have, he can probably be of use in helping mop up some of the mess he's created, and that his bosses (us!) have hired a new crew to correct.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I Don't Think America Can Take This Much Childishness

John Kerry is absolutely right. If you don't get an education, you can very well get "stuck in Iraq." The Rumsfeld-Cheney cabal are willfully ignorant of the repercussions of their actions. Those with knowledge of the region predicted this violent stagnation. While Rumsfeld and Cheney ignored, Bush fiddled. They are being held accountable for their stupidity, for thinking this Iraq folly would be a cakewalk. Shame on John Kerry for not lashing back at these spineless, billionaire bullies two years ago. Shame on all the rest of us if we back down now and do the next best thing to throwing them out of office -- and that is to neutralize their unchecked power with oversight by electing Democrats to the Congress and Senate.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Unfit to Command or Thank You Sir May I Have Another?

At an Indiana campaign rally, President Bush continues screeching that the actual Democratic plan on Iraq is to "leave before the job is done." He also said Democrats don't want the government listening in on terrorists.

Anyone with half a brain, including the President, knows these are lies and it isn't necessary for me to explain that Democrats seek effective leadership in Iraq and insist on constitutional oversight, not to prohibit, when the administration wants to tap anybody's phone. But Bush has to lie about his opponents to appear better than them.

He reminds me of the character Mike, played by Dennis Quaid in the 1979 film "Breaking Away," the hometown quarterback whose stardom disappears after high school and who sizzles in resentment at those who move on to college sports and adult lives. Like Mike, Bush had his moment in the sun when he stood atop the rubble with a bullhorn. Personally, I wasn't very impressed by that moment. It was a very human moment, but it wasn't great. It wasn't the pinnacle of leadership so many claim it to be, just as Ronald Reagan saying "there you go again" in a televised debate wasn't anything more than momentarily clever retort, and not a dazzling presentation of idea. I was shocked when, at Reagan's death, they kept playing that clip over and over, as if the man had contributed nothing more to our lives than a snooty, dismissive response. And now, it's repeated by a president with lesser, crueler talents that are maybe befitting a lesser, crueler age. Bush's willingness to be dismissive of his opponents now means that he is dismissive of not only Democrats, but high-ranking Republicans, a growing legion of career generals, former staff members, and more than 60% of the public he governs.

If the best he can do to keep a grip on his cozy leadership is to sneer at us and call us stupid and cowardly, then he's not up to the job.

What next week's election will reveal is how many voters are sold by this rhetoric. How many Americans truly need to despise other Americans in order to feel good about themselves? That's what the mid-term elections will tell us. And that psychological study on our national character will be the most interesting indicator on whether we as a nation have learned our lesson from the Bush administration, or whether we are willing to bend over in front of the paddle and say, "Thank you, sir, may I have another."

Saturday, October 28, 2006

America Leans Toward Democrats Now Because They Are Wise to Being Manipulated by Hatemongers

Why is American leaning toward Democrats now?

To understand, consider the family led by parents who fight because of their children's discipline problems. If they have a kid who is manipulative, disruptive, who plays them against each other, then they will fight.

That is America of the Bush administration, pushed and taunted to distrust and dislike each other. America has wised up to the scare tactics of the cowardly hard core right wing. We citizens long for a culture where we can like and trust each other. We're rejecting the fear baiting that wants us to hate each other.

The hard core right wing can survive only as long as Americans despise each other. And we have taken their bait, and they have been in charge for six years, and the only way they know to stay in charge is to remind us how much we hate each other.

The only problem is we are tired of hating each other. It's a terrible feeling. It's bad citizenship and malicous community. And we are suddenly wise to how we got to this point. We have been manipulated by shameless powermongers of the right wing who have used religion and patriotism as a smokesreen to achieve power.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Scars of History

"Come out, come out, wherever you are..."

The Good Witch sang and the frightened Munchkins emerged.

So, too, emerge Americans from the darkness. It is as if so many Americans have wakened to the cowing and the browbeating and the bullying from the far, hard right wing that they've reached a tipping point.

I'm thrilled with the sea change in America. Sure, not one vote has been cast yet, but I can feel a change in the air. It is the smell of accountability, and those who have been in charge for years will soon be accountable for their actions. If the vote goes our way on November 7, then the smell of accountability will turn into a sweetness we can all taste.

But what has America waken up to?

It is the realization that what we call Conservatism has not really been Traditionalism. Today hard right wing are not conservative or traditional. They've revealed themselves to be, in fact, self-serving and hateful. For all their talk of religion, they are aroused by condemnation. For all their talk of community, they eschew the poor and cut taxes at the expense of libraries, schools and basic nutrition for the poor.

It is a linguistic justice that the word "conservative" is now as tainted as "liberal" and so now maybe we can shove both words into an archive next to Whig and move on.

What will have to change is how they made "taxes" synonymous to "evil." This is a watershed year for hearing my Republican friends express astonishment at how cheap and selfish their party has become. Cut taxes, cut taxes, cut taxes is not merely their mantra, it is their compulsion, like the robber baron industrialists who strip-mined entire forests. Just as you can still see from the sky over Georgia the new trees that replaced those burned by Sherman on his war of attrition march to the sea, you'll be able to look back at the legislation of the Bush administration as a charred mark on our history.

But just as after a blaze there emerges new life to repopulate, I am hopeful that after the cheap, selfish, my-way-or-the-highway brutes are booted from power, America will be stronger and prouder, with the wounds of abuse to show its ability to survive through harsh, foolish times, and be ever wiser.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Why Obama Could be the Best Democratic Hope for 2008

Baby boomer politicians have been at each other since the 60s. Barack Obama is 45. During the Montgomery bus boycott, the community of black ministers, all of whom had been part of the community for years, couldn't decide who would be their voice during this time. They decided that the young minister, Martin Luther King, Jr., had little baggage and his very freshness, his sense of a clean slate, is what made him best suited to be the voice for their progressive cause.

The same goes for Senator Obama.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

All We Can Count On Is That America Starts Ignoring Lies

WASHINGTON -- Hundreds of people called the Bush administration's policies a crime and held up yellow police tape in front of the White House on Thursday amid a nationwide day of protest against the president.
-Associated Press

Of course, Dick Cheney went right on the attack to deem any protesters as allies to terrorism, which is the equivalent of a child who gets caught stealing cookies lashing out at his parents, "You hate me!" The dumb parent stops to explain, "No, honey, I don't hate you" and loses the battle immediately. The smart parent sees through the tactic and stays on the subject of the kid's dishonesty.

American citizens are parents to the Bush administration. We have failed to hold them accountable for their abuses of power that have been committed in the name of "protecting" America from terrorism.

Even the president has stooped to Cheneyesque distortions. Last week at a California fundraiser, Mr. Bush said, "Democrats take a law enforcement approach to terrorism. That means America will wait until we’re attacked again before we respond."

His second sentence is a lie. He has to know it's a lie, too. And if he doesn't, he's too dim to hold the office. Proactive investigative anti-terrorist detective work is exactly what thwarts plans.

My only hope is that citizens are smart enough to "not be fooled again" by this, as Hunter Thompson called him, child-president's buck-passing rants. My last hope is that America has been burned and America has learned a lesson that will leave us with scars for years to come, but will hopefully be rememied in November by electing officials that will not enable the Bush administration to continue it's unopposed trample over the nation's laws and destiny. We'll suffer a long time for the presidency of George W. Bush, but we can begin to fix it this November by electing officials who will stop the administration in it's tracks from doing any more harm.

We're stuck with them for two more years. Let's at least contain them so they can't damage the world any more than they have. Vote for Democrats this fall to contain the administration of President Bush until we can elect a president who has the intellect, honesty and sophistication to deal with the world as it is.

Protesters holding up yellow tape are concerned about their neighbhorhood being destroyed by thugs. Their neighborhood is America.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Our Strained Psyche

President Bush says, "I can't tell you exactly when it's going to be done," he said, but "if we ever give up the desire to help people who live in freedom, we will have lost our soul as a nation, as far as I'm concerned."

Leaving Iraq now would be disastrous, he says. But that's just typical CYA. Entering Iraq was the real disastrous move, but that's old news. Good soldiers are obeying bad orders, and now we're asking them to continue obeying bad orders to save the President's face.

He still believes that our malaisse has something to do with being weak in the knees. If we have lost our soul as a nation, it is because we entrusted the wrong presdient to lead us, and he has led us astray. Bush broke Iraq, so he bought it, and it just so happens that we're responsible for two more years for what this renegade breaks.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Brat Right

Not long ago I saw headlines that made big news about President Bush answering "unscripted" questions. It became big news that Bush took questions from citizens and reporters, something that public officials do every day, all the time, since time began and forevermore.

So now we heap praise upon the president for this?

Why stop there?

Why not splash on the front page the following headlines:

"Garbage man lifts lid from trash can and tosses rubbish into truck!"

"Barber snips hair!"

"Waiter brings water to table!"

The genius of Karl Rove in shaping George W. Bush as the face of neoconservative policy is this: Shamelessness. That crew is without shame in lowering the public's expectation of the candidate (and now, the president) so that when he makes a complete subject-verb agreement, we throw a parade.

They are also shameless in sliming their opponents (if only to change the subject and deflect responsbility.)

The Left can fight fire with fire, but they'll lose, since they aren't anywhere near that unscrupulous. The Left can't wait for the public to cry out and be disgusted by the shamelessness either. If that hasn't happened by now (or during the Swift Boat ads,) then it never will. And if that great chunk of the ill-read public can be that easily swayed...well, that's an entire other problem that the Left cannot tackle, at least not as a campaign tactic.

The Left must stop taking the bait of the Brat Right. The Brat Right is the bullying, poking-you-under-the-chin, incessant, taunting element. Those pious hypocrites who, like Eichman, have a list of who-to-hate-next, should NOT be IGNORED because their taunts won't go away. The Left must parry and thrust the Brat Right by being aggressive and not taking the bait.

Only then will voters recognize that it's NOT okay for a U.S. President to make headlines for daring to taking unscripted questions from an audience. For as long as our leadership is permitted to be so doltish, so too will the rest of our national discourse, and so too will our civic progress.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Administration as Child

Blaming the New York Times for making public a story about the administration's clandestine abuse of our right to privacy is like blaming the conscientious teacher for catching a student cheating on a test. Of course the conniving student is angry. Of course the student will react with accusation. Of course the student will try to re-frame the story. Bottom line: the student, and the Bush administration, lash out in defense because they got caught. Anyone with children will recognize that this administration has the personality of a spoiled, insolent child who is unaccostomed to a life of discipline and respect for others.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Worst Nightmare for Advocates of Illegal Immigrant Migrant Workers

Since it is alleged they do all the work no Americans want to do, if we give them legal status, will they wake up the following Monday and say, "I'm not going to do that crap work anymore. I'm an American citizen!"

Even if President Bush's Approval Ratings Were 1%

I'd still be depressed that nearly 3 million -- 3 million! -- think this guy's doing a good job.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Wiretapping for the Troops

President Bush should be allowed to tap phones without a warrant. If they don't catch terrorists, they will nab a lot of men cheating on their wives. They can blackmail these guys, and use the money to buy body armor for the troops.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

George W. Bush, Christian

Saint Francis of Assisi said, "Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary, use words." So if we let our actions do our preaching, let us look at the actions of President Bush, who insists on renewing billions in tax cuts to the wealthiest, while cutting 141 programs. My favorite on this list is watershed protection and flood prevention operations ($75 million.) Katrina? What's Katrina? What's yours?

Saturday, February 04, 2006

The President as Ralph Kramden

What do you think of somebody who tries to make you feel afraid all the time? Such a person tries to become appealing to you by making you think, "I'm so afraid, I am so in danger, without you, I am a goner.

That is the message sent by the Bush administration to America. "You're in danger, GRAVE danger, unless you trust us to protect you."

A Republican friend of mine lamented that she had little of traditional Republicanism to like in the current administration, that it talks to America like we're children.

Let's say the Bush administration is a guy named Buddy.

Buddy talks a big game. Buddy isn't much of a listener or reader. Buddy is a know-it-all who understands how the world works, and says he goes to great lengths to protect the rest of us. He is happy to do that for we are helpless and delicate. He loves to see us tremble like baby does. This gives him self-esteem. This makes him feel worthy. This gives him power.

Without our weakness and blind-faith compliance, Buddy has no power. Buddy is the old-school husband whose wife won't say a peep, but when she does, Buddy's world flips upside down.

That's why the Bush administration thrives among the segment of religious people who surrender everything blindly to some entity that will take care of things. It used to be called God. But instead of this being faith-based diety worshop, this is faith-based political worship, which undermines democracy and smacks of monarchy.

Buddy is "king of the house." Like Ralph Kramden...only not funny.

I never before thought America would have to look to the deadpan face of Alice Kramden for inspiration, but it's time we looked this administration right in the eye and said, "Ahhh...shaddup."

Friday, February 03, 2006

Prepare Now to Fight Back Against Right Winger Smears Against Iraq Veterans Running for Congress

At least 10 veterans of the Iraq war are running for Congress, all but one as Democrats, in what amounts to an open challenge to both President George W. Bush's policies in Iraq and the traditional Republican advantage on national security issues.

Democrats, prepare now to battle, your truth and dignity to their viciousness and cowardice, the disciples of Karl Rove who are even now loading their silver bullets to assassinate the characters of the veterans who run as Democrats for Congress.

They will do at least one of three things to each Democratic veteran:

1. Dig like a colonoscopy into their past to find something that they can exaggerate into character flaws to frighten the electorate.

2. Turn the veteran/candidate into a mindless dupe of the socialist leftist elites. That's what they did to Cindy Sheehan. Is it true? Just listen to Cindy Sheehan. She's suffered. She's smart. She speaks for herself. So do these candidates.

3. Lie, lie, lie. The right wing smear machines calls Rove a genius because they recognize lies work on people who don't read and stay on top of current events.

Prepare now to dig in, fight back, and don't let their shit-slinging stick. Not only for these candidates, but in honor of all those candidates smeared by these cowardly right-wing hooligans, and for the future candidates who need us to set a new precedent of decency.

Politics is hardball. That's always been true. But right-wingers play bean ball.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Democrats: Watch out! McCain Is Usurping You as the Loyal Opposition!

Watch John McCain in his speeches. More and more he is distancing himself from neo-con Republicans. He speaks against the glut of deficit spending. At a Spartanburg County, S.C., Republican Party's fundraising dinner in late January he told the crowd that he, Lindsay Graham, and others meet weekly to spearhead a return to fiscal conservatism. Their "fiscal watchdog group will figure out how to put the brakes on excessive spending." McCain added, "I promise this group will grow larger and larger, we're going to stop excessive spending, clean up our act, and restore the principles that motivated our takeover of Congress in 1994."

McCain is running against Bush and the crazy, kudzu-growth of neo-con Republican spending.

McCain has become the loyal opposition to the sitting president and whoever -- if anybody -- will be the Bush heir apparent.

McCain has beat all potential 2008 candidates to the punch.

Democrats, don't lag. Don't navel gaze. Don't miss the train.

The Marlboro Man May Become Invisible. If They Can Smear Murtha, They Can Dispose of Farmers, Too.

You've read the story of the Marlboro Man, the American GI whose photo represented the tough, gritty American stance in Iraq. It was all John Wayne...till he got home.

Now watch what happens.

Now he's home. Like many who have served, who now have a little perspective, he questions the wisdom of the leaders who sent him to harm's way.

Cindy Sheehan was once welcome to the White House. When she started to protest the policies that sent her son to his death, she was invisible. Watch over the next three years as more and more soldiers return home to question the sanity of their president's war policies. Watch them because invisible to the White House, who is led by a most vain, unsophisticated Narsiccist who cannot bear the bad news of all he has wrought.

Lefties: Always, always, always remember how this administration treats people: With disposability or as targets of character assassination. Drive that home and eventually the tide will turn on the appeal of this cravenous right wing.

If they can smear McCain, Kerry and Murtha, they'll have no trouble tossing overboard the farmers and other midwesterners who've turned their fair states red in recent years.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Army Is Thinning, (Hopefully Like America's Patience with Incompetence)


I wish this were a report showcasing the results of the Bush administration's new "healthy diet" for the troops.

It's not.

It's all about how the frequent troop rotations to Iraqq and Afghanistan have stretched the limits of the armed forces.

The report, authored by retired Army officer Andrew Krepinevich, asserts that U.S. armed forces have been overused and underreplenished under this administration.

The key words are "overused" "underreplenished" and "retired."

You can't be active duty and talk this way or the Bush administration will put you out to pasture. To serve this president you have to be retired. President Bush has proven himself to be tough and unbudging -- not in his fight against Islamic terrorism -- but in his intolerance of truth-telling in his administration.

It's funny that you can't tell the truth to a born-again Christian president.

The author suggested that the Pentagon's decision to reduce troop levels was driven in part because they are overextended.

Tonight is the President's State of the Union address. One would think he'd use it as a rallying cry to recruit more troops to his cause. The only recruitment he's ever done was for Al Quaeda.

Don't hold your breath.

In fact, I'd recommend "don't hold your breath" with anything he says or has ever said, but that's mainly because, with the house and Supreme Court and White House firmly in the hands of right-wing Republicans, about the only thing common-sense Americans can do is sigh.

So take a deep breath. Again and again. That's the only way to tolerate children.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Their Goal is Really To Make Us Hate Christmas

Religious conservatives are threatening lawsuits and boycotts to insist that store clerks and advertisements say "Merry Christmas." Countering are those who argue they are being inclusive and inoffensive with the secular "Happy Holidays."
-Reuters, 12/18/05

I feel like a fool even responding to their bait. But I've learned a lesson from the time Senator Kerry did not respond to the unethical attacks on his character by swift boat veterans (none of whom actually served with him on a swift boat.) There was a time in American culture when one didn't dignify an insult by responding to it. Not anymore. Right wing attacks have taken on the strategy of obnoxious kids who keep banging pots, screaming and kicking till they get somebody's attention.

I don't quite understand yet, although I'm trying very hard, to understand the sick egotism of the Christian right. They love to be persecuted, or to think they are being persecuted, (they think it's their road to heaven, and so they're paving it!)at the same time they love to think they are in charge. It's a strange psychological condition. It has zero to do with living out the principles of Christ's teaching, that's obvious. They probably don't even realize it, but their mission to force us all to say "Merry Christmas" is weirdly control-freakish. They also don't realize that it makes the rest of us loathe them and disrespect them even more, which feeds into their persecution complex. That persecution complex has been growing steadily among the ranks of conservatives, then mainstream Republicans, for decades now. In recent years, especially when one of their -- Bush -- took the White House -- it has become their "onward Christian soldier" mantra...that they are under attack by the rulers, even after they have become the rulers. President Bush himself exhibits the characteristics of someone who is being "picked on" every time he deigns to answer a reporter's question. That, magnified, is the faux Christians, whom I like to call the hypoChristians whole take on their faith.

It's no wonder an evangelical U.S. President says, "You're either for us or against us" when so many evangelicals say, "You're either saved or not saved." Lines are drawn. You're either good or evil. And now that they've got a whiff of their own power, they're forcing down our throats what to say and do.

It's not all about Christmas. It's about their endless hunger to boss everyone else around and call it Christianity. It's the crusades, not Francis of Assisi. It's the Ten Commandments, not the Beatitudes. And it's pure Philistinism, chest thumping braggarts so pissy and self-satisfied that they've got, not a log, but a whole forest of lumber in each eye.

"Merry Christmas" doesn't appear in any sacred book either.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

A Parallel with Nazi Germany

I see a parallel with the Bush administration to Nazi Germany. It's not the type of comparison that will quicken the pulse of left wingers, although I do see similarities in both regime's desire for world conquest.

In 1940, Germany commenced to whip France, then begin pounding England. This is the equivalent of the American war on Islamic terrorist groups like Al Quaeda, and in how America went to war in Iraq, who harbored these groups and provided safe haven for trading.

Surprisingly, Germany attacked the Soviet Union. Hitler had no doubts that Russia would be totally surprised and quickly vanquished. President Bush attacked Iraq, with no doubts that it would fall like a house of cards and welcome American liberation. (Talk about a Messiah complex!)

Hitler got bogged down in Russia and precious German resources and soldiers were siphoned and exhausted in that front. Bush's shock and awe invasion and liberation, a slam-dunk in the win column he was told by advisors, is now a great national headache.

Democrats have to shake the chicken-skin notion that opposing stupid policy will be equated with treason or weakness. America is beyond that. I just hope most Democrats who, in their gut, feel this is stupid Bush policy, to be please be vocal about it. Or get out of the way. We all gave Bush a chance and he burned us and abused our trust. He demonstrated an inability to think and plan intelligently. He revealed a complete misunderstanding of the world and culture he intended to conquer. Now the times have changed, and I paraphrase Bob Dylan in telling Democrats in Congress, get out of the way if you can't lend a hand...

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Thanksgiving, Crawford 2005

CRAWFORD, Texas A free-range turkey will grace the Thanksgiving table at the Bush ranch tomorrow.The entire Bush family, including former president and Barbara Bush and the current first lady's mother, will gather for a traditional spread. Air Force One flew down last night.
-News Item

And will the conversation at the table be free-range? I imagined what it might be like to the twins, who turn 24 this weekend, listening to conversations around the table. Most of us can take a breather from political issues of the day by simply talking about what's going on at work.

Not in Crawford.

There are plenty of holiday dinner tables where family businesses are discussed. How many tables though might be there a father and son discussing their differences about how each executed a war with Iraq?

George H.W.: Now, son, when I engaged in warfare with Saddam, we didn't just go off all half-cocked, without any plans. We sat down and mapped it out.

(George W. rolls his eyes.)

George H.W.: And we took the time to make friends and go in as a group where we could have the power in numbers.

George W: Well, we have numbers. What about Mongolia!

George H.W.: In my day, when we went to war with Iraq in my day, we...

(George W. sticks fingers in ears and hums loudly.)

And so it goes, and having worked in advertising for years with clients who are 2nd and 3rd generation family businesses, I see similarities in the Bush family business and any other one. Quite often when the son takes over, he either takes it to a grand new enlightened level, or botches it completely while overcompensating from the pressure caused by following in his father's footsteps.

How many times have you heard that W's policy book is pretty much this: Take what H.W. did and do the opposite. That's pretty typical behavior of the renegade son. Too bad we're along for the ride.

I've seen Mr. Bush on plenty of speeches and I think he'd be a wonderful president of the Rotary. If he only operated a distributorship or tire business, he'd be a fine hail-fellow-well-met, and his Christmas turkeys would be plump, and the fields trips that local schools conducted through his warehouse with the big trucks would be fun.

If only.

America ought to look at this Bush dynasty thing with reflection and stop indulging our Old Europe fantasies of a royal family. The Kennedys are withering on the vine and we oughtn't replace them with the Bushes. The nation is too chock full of talent, people who have earned their keep and risen from the muck, to keep handing the rudder to legacies. I go back to the topic of the family business. If you've ever worked in one, (and are not a member of the family) you realize that the deck is stacked against you. You'll never rise above the kid whose dad or uncle is in charge. That warps the sense of accomplishment, and rewards the mediocre or even the talentless. Criticicize corporations all you want, but at least merit is based on talent and genuine political skills.

The most successful presidential contenders in 2008 will be common-sense adults who will leave behind the shrillness of Karl Rove and be a relief to us all. By contrast, Mr. Bush's stammering simplicity will be shocking, not to just 50% of us, but to all of us -- on the right and left -- who have seen firsthand in two terms what unchecked radicalism can do to America in just a few short years. We will look back to 2001-2006 -- I'm hopeful that our national enlightenment occurs much faster than 2008 -- as our modern dark ages, when a lethargic America allowed intruders into its most precious institutions. In Thanksgivings hence, we shall look back and be thankful for waking up before it's too late.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

A Nation Mad with Regret

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration and military leaders are sounding optimistic notes about scaling back U.S. troops in Iraq next year, as public opposition to the war and congressional demands for withdrawal get louder.

Contingency plans for a phased withdrawal include proposals to further postpone or cancel the deployment of a Fort Riley, Kan., brigade and an option to put a combat brigade in nearby Kuwait in case it is needed, said a senior
Pentagon official.

-Associated Press

Without Congressman Murtha's sensible, brave assertion, you would not have read the above news article two weeks ago. If any lives are saved because of this withdrawal, we have Murtha to thank for getting the ball rolling.

The Republicans who insulted him are not fit to govern or to hold positions of responsibility. Democrats and Republicans who campaign to promise true consensus will be the ones who win. America is tired of being left behind in the battle wrought by right wing extremists. The sudden tipping point against President is the result of a tested, tired America saying "Enough!" and slapping down the spoiled, indulgent bully administration.

Watch 2006: It will the year adults -- not the likes of the vicious Swift-Boat, assassini, Rovian Republicans -- but adults who know how to communicate with other adults (and not talk like sugar-fed 2nd graders who say "Bring 'em on!"). It will be the year that adults come in and clean up the mess that these Mad Dog Neo-cons made to this beautiful nation who is going mad with regret.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Three Words Revealed W's Inability to Lead

This will be remembered as the week when President Bush lost control over the Iraq war debate.
-E.J. Dionne


He should never have had control over the war debate anyway. Have you ever worked or dealt with someone who tried to rush things through so fast that you became discombobulated and confused -- and it worked to their advantage?

I have, and it's a form of rope-a-dope that is very clearly a strategy. Fast talkers are often swindlers. In this case, the Bush administration urged urgency ("we don't have time to talk about it!") and got their way.

What Dionne suggests is something very healthy. Mr. Bush should NEVER have had control over the war debate, for the very nature of war in a democracy requires vigorous debate, not lapdog acquiesence.

We're three years and 2,000+ deaths too late, but finally, the best American ideal is emerging. We are keeping in check a rabid White House administration with the checks and balances that have been abused and neglected for those years, but thankfully, have survived.

Now it will be a real debate, abeit a retroactive one, an attempt to fix past wrongs by a radical regime, but it is a healthy sign that a renegade administration is getting some oversight and has had its free rein snatched from it.

Too bad it took too long.

For me, I knew that George W. Bush was not equipped with the gravitas and maturity to lead a nation at war when he said, "Bring 'em on!" Those three words revealed a terrific insecurity and carelessness that puts the lives of his countrymen in danger. Since then, millions of others have caught on, and we see ... finally... belatedly, democracy at work.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Thankgiving 2005: Grateful for the President's Sinking Approval

It is Thanksgiving and we should be grateful that more and more Americans disapprove of President Bush's job performance.

George W. Bush once said that he doesn't read books -- he reads people. He trusts his gut in assessing character. Likewise, many Americans who once gave him the benefit of the doubt are now trusting the instinct that tells them that the president and his cronies have leaned hard on intelligent sources to provide them with information that would justify what the administration had already decided to do: Invade Iraq.

Americans are growing wiser to Bush and company and I'm grateful for that growing insight. If it should continue, then perhaps Congress will speak up more and put hurdles and impediments in front of Bush initiatives. If he cannot be impeached, then he can at least be neutralized -- grounded, if you will -- sent to his room so he can do no more damage.

I am grateful that a growing number of Americans see the Bush team as the Boy-who-cried-wolf. In this case, "wolf" means "You're evil if you disagree with us."

Thankfully, America isn't so easily swindled this time around.

We bought the Bush deceit at first. Hungrily, perhaps, in our desire for leadership in times of trial after the terrorist attacks.

But it is like we as a nation had become someone who was robbed and violated, then robbed and violated again by the very person we turned to for help.

So it seems we are still a trusting nation, albeit an easily misled population. Well shame on us, including Congress, for going along so easily with the White House whose disrespect for us meant they felt obliged to say only "trust us" when it came to decisions that affect us all.

I am grateful that many Americans have discovered, or rediscovered after their groggy nap, our obligations to be informed citizens, to hold our leaders in check, to expect our leaders to oversee each other, and to demand dialogue when important matters are about to take place.

Americans are wiser at a great cost for having permitted a machinery to take hold that puts into place a sputtering leadership that would brook no dissent, explain no motives, and assassinate the characters of those who dast speak up against them.

The next three years will be nauseating. The lesson we learn from this eight year fiasco will be enlightening beyond description.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Pro War. Anti Troops.

This morning I heard on Cspan two back to back calls, one from an old guy who said, "I'd NEVER let my kid serve for these thugs in the White House" and another who was more John Wayne in his "I'm proud to have served."

Both calls are two sides of one coin.

More and more I'm hearing more and more people say "I love this country, and I'm against Bush."

For three years critics have said, "I support the troops but do not like the White House policies."

Let's put the white light on the scurrilous wags who have created the policy. They have achieved the improbable: They are pro-war and anti-troop for they have taken the vehicle of the U.S. military and ground its gears and empties its tank and worn its tires bald, and are about to leave it by the roadside.

If you get stewardship of the family car, you have to take care of it.

What they've done, these gluttons for power and violence, is tainted the family heirloom -- liberty and service -- and the most we can hope for is that this administration becomes impotent for three years so that they can not do any more harm.

Congressional Critics Aren't Hypocrites. They Are (Reformed) Cowards.

From the 11/11/05 Washington Post: The White House went on the offensive in the debate over the Iraq war yesterday, insisting that U.S. intelligence had compiled a "very strong case" that Saddam Hussein harbored banned weapons and accusing congressional critics of hypocrisy because many of them voted for force three years ago.

The White House is wrong. These congressional critics aren't hypocrites. They are cowards.

There was enough evidence three years ago to question President Bush's veracity. There were enough credible voices raising doubts about the authenticity of Mr. Bush's rationale for invading Iraq. Even so, many in Congress who should have known better buckled under pressure from the White House, abandoned their conscience, and voted to give Bush the power to invade.

That was cowardice. It reveals to us that even men and women who come to positions of great power still engage in playground games where one or two bullies can hold sway over a crowd of twenty milquetoasts. That is our national lesson: America's dearth of congressional leadership, accountability and oversight paved the way for right wing hooligans to take the wheel, and drunk with power, they have been so inebriated in the driver's seat that now the nation has crashed.

While the drunks behind the wheel -- the right wing thugs and the lawless administration -- are blaming everybody but themselves, the rest of us who happily gave them the car keys and closed our eyes are also to blame.

Veteran's Day 2005, George W. Bush Style

President Bush took the occasion of Veterans Day to issue a withering response to critics of his foreign policy that led to American commitment to war in Iraq. Once again, he played the now well-worn card that those who disagree with him are "deeply irresponsible" because it demoralizes American troops and encourages America's enemies.

To sum it up, Mr. Bush turned this day dedicated to military men and women into a day about him. As he typically does, he used the military and their families as a physical backdrop to his speech. But even more conceptually, he used their "day" as something to prop up his own sagging reputation. As he did in his post-college days during the height of the Vietnam conflict, Bush used the sacrifice of others to attempt to protect his own hide.

If Bush were as noble and mature as his most ardent supporters say, he would have used Veterans Day to announce new programs that veterans and their families. What a grand opportunity it would have been for Bush to reassure America that under his stewardship, the government will institute new benefits and policies that will express thanks for their service and attend their future well-being.

Noble and mature? Not in this president. The nobility and maturity must come from the loyal opposition, who have been quiet for far too long...from Republicans who have been toadies to the administration since the 2001 inauguration...and most of all from the public who now must keep our heads and patience for three years while riding out the interminable remainder of the second term of this pretender to the throne.

Monday, October 31, 2005

The Worst Week of the Bush Presidency

Many reports call last week the worst week of the Bush Presidency. That's a bold statement, given that even the most run-of-the-mill weeks in the Bush presidency is an affront to any well-informed citizen who values democracy, privacy and honesty.

I think it's an overreaction. A headline. Harriet Miers' withdrawal from the Supreme Court justice nomination job will, at her expense, provide Bush with a new humililty that will mend him fences with his right wing base. He has been chastised, but Harriet is the one who gets the sound whipping.

Operating the United States of America is just another business that he was set up to operate, like the oil businesses W. ran (into the ground) in the past, he's the manager of this country.

Since before his 2001 appointment to the Oval Office, I have known that his credentials are light, and by 2004 everyone else should have known, too.

Thus, his 2004 re-election reveals more about the shallowness of this nations "board of directors" -- the electorate -- who rehired the inept CEO.

That the CEO, known for his firebrand and passion and stubbornness, recoiled so quickly in permitting the withdrawal of Harriet Miers reveals that the real "board of directors" who pull the strings are the hard, clenched fist right wing.

My question, Darla, is it worth the cost of a briefly humiliated Bush to have such right wing radicals in charge of the Supreme Court?

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

We Are Not Losing Our Nerve. We Are Opening Our Eyes.

On August 22, before thousands at the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Salt Lake City, President Bush said, "The American people have been steadfast and determined not to lose our nerve. And once again we have had confidence in our cause."

I believe that he believes in what he is saying. But that is not because his sincerity is a virtue. It is because he is a simpleton.

He believes that mouthing vague maxims is the same as articulating policy.

He believes that just because he encourages his sheep, his citizens, to "not lose our nerve," that losing our nerve was actually the subject to begin with.

It is not our nerve we are losing. It is our trust in a bumbling, incompetent administration. Because Bush wears blinders, he doesn't see that half of the country was on to his lies before the election, and now finally, even more are wising up to -- and judging him for -- his idiotic decision making (to go to war) and criminal strongarming (to fudge evidence to justify going to war.)

I wonder what is it in the personal psychology of George W. Bush that so lusts for war? Could it be that the former drunk turned Christian never really did give up the drink? He may not have sipped the brew, but he seeks to be drunk on power? Could it be that in his addict's zeal to replace the booze he has become so consumed by Bible stories that he has completely missed the point of Christ-like living and instead is, like a child hearing stories about Arabian Knights, becomes allured by the sense of death, victory and destiny. Don Quixote with the nuclear football.

So I believe fully that the emporor in his bubble truly does believe that his minions are getting a little soft in the knee. It wouldn't occur to him that we are simply on to him. Many of us have known from the start that he is in over his head. Sadly, this isn't a case of an everyday Joe maxing out his credit cards. Instead, this idiocy is paid for with the blood of the innocent.

We are not losing our nerve. We have always had it. What the majority did not have before was the basic insight to see that George W. Bush war was dumb from the start. His presidency was nothing until he found a reason to indulge his obsession with having a war to define his time in office.

Now is the time for creative Democrats and Republicans to stand forth and demonstrate to America that fortitude means more than blowing up countries they know nothing about.

Now is the time for creative citizens to stand up and demand more imagination and progress and not let our culture be hijacked by closed minded zealots whose superstitions are rooted in the middle ages.

Now is the perfect moment for people to stand up to the Karl Rove assassination machine and the smearers of character who have, while we were napping, taken over our government and mass media, and appeal to our bleaker angels.

The time is absolutely ripe for Americans to take back their country from the graffiti artists and muggers and Philistines who disguise themselves as conservatives, and boot them from the public arena where they don't know how to behave, and where they waste our public money, and where they burn bridges to diplomacy, and where they forfeit opportunities for our futures.

True to the bully boy form of this White House crowd, Bush has to characterize his opponents as weaklings.

But we are not losing our nerve. We are opening our eyes.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

What His Kind Do To Crosses . . . Then & Now

A Bush supporter in a pick-up truck mowed over the 150 or so crosses erected at the anti-war protest led by Cindy Sheehan in Crawford, Texas.

Used to be they just burned them.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

"Mom" = "Bring 'Em On"

Cindy Sheehan, who has attracted attention by camping out not far from President Bush's summer home to air her disagreement over his policies, says when she met George W. Bush he was disrespectful.

It was shortly after her son died in Iraq when she and other mothers of fallen soldiers met the president in June, 2004. She said that he called her "Mom" repeatedly throughout the brief meeting.

The president is nearly a decade older than Sheehan. He called her "mom" because he makes up nicknames for people. It is easier that way. He accomplishes at least two things: A playful familiarity, and it makes unnecessary his actually having to be attentive to detail.

That's how George W. Bush is with everyone, you might say. That proves my point. He is uninterested in details, be they other human beings' names, or thinking through what might happen if he commits billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of military personnel to an invasion that might, just might, not be a cakewalk to victory.

Democratic leadership from the moment Bush took office has been cowed by his bully-boy approach, reacting to him like caterers at a country club where he is guesting. That is beginning to change. But in the meantime, too many people are now dead either in body or in character at the hands of destructive Bush policies or smear politics.

Watch the Democratic leadership who can look their fellow citizens in the eye and not make up some pandering nickname like "mom." Look for the Democratic leadership who can address the likes of Mrs. Sheehan not by the simplistic, "I hear her, I sympathize with her, and she has every right to say what she wants because this is America," and actually engage her and the nation in adult discourse about what's going on in this country.

Calling Sheehan "Mom" is like telling us that "terrorists hate us because we're free." It's condescending, simplistic, patronizing and wrong -- and it gets us not an inch closer to understanding the dynamics of this world problem so that we can solve it. When Bush stripped away the dignity of the moment by calling her "Mom" he was reducing the moment to a caricature that his lazy intellect could grasp, like when he said "bring 'em on."

Friday, August 12, 2005

Cindy Sheehan Protests Because She Has Something At Stake

Have you seen all the spewing hatred aimed at Cindy Sheehan? Go look at thirty-seven year old news footage and you'll see the same bitter and vile criticism leveled at the young, often scraggly-haired anti-Vietnam War protesters.

The reason why there were so many young protesters in the 1960s is because they were the ones plucked from their lives to go die in Vietnam.

They had something at stake.

Without a draft, today's young people have less at stake, less a sense of urgency to protest.

Who does? Who's got some "skin in the game?" as Cindy Sheehan said?


She is the 48-year-old California mother whose son Casey was killed in Iraq last year.

And so it stands to reason that it is Cindy Sheehan and other mothers who not only speak the most forcefully against the Bush administration's senseless, wasteful policies, but that they are the ones targeted by the insecure right wing whose rise to power has been fueled by character assasination and who are willing to abide the real assassinations of soldiers and their families whose trust was betrayed by a president who doesn't think things through and refuses to acknowledges the consequences of his policies.

Toward the latter part of the Vietnam war, older people wised up and joined the youth to protest the stupid policymaking that led to useless death.

The same thing is happening now, but the little children are listening to their mothers.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


I don't think I've ever been more sickened by a leader than watching George W. Bush obstinately continue to tie together his folly of a war in Iraq with "the lessons of September 11th."

There was almost a justification for his doing it during the election. After all, the Bush campaigns are always marked by hardcore smears and dirty campaigning.

But the campaign is over.

And now he robs the graves of the thousands who died in Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., and New York City, by milking their memories to bolster flagging support for his corrupt foreign policy.

Republicans and Democrats should join together to insist on accountability from the Bush administration, and do everything to neutralize the White House's power to engage in more fatal, distastrous decisions.

Yes, he'll be around till 2008.

But let's do all we can to contain his deranged policies.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Dean's Big Mouth

Don't worry about Dean's big mouth.

That he called Republicans a "white, Christian party" is nothing more than the mirror image of the snide, coarse stuff that comes from the mouths of Republican pit bulls.

Too many Democrats are too enlightened to really like what Dean does, but think about it: when right-winger musclemen get bellicose, it energizes the base.

Dean's point -- and everybody knows this -- is that "Christian" doesn't really mean "follower of Christ" anymore. It has an entire political and cultural, even literary identity, and the quicksilver truth of Christ's benevolent lessons are buried deep, deep in the muck of their anger and accusations.

This type of so-called Christian is the one who can wrap their anxieties into a identity that serves them almost as an ethnic group. "Christian bashing is the last form of accepted bigotry" read one bumper sticker that I saw. What kind of self-absorbed boob would trumpet such a message on their vehicle but someone who actually LOVES the persecution, who LOVES self-pity, and -- as it turns out -- is smug about being "saved."

Give me the Christianity that lives in the words of Saint Francis of Assisi, who said, "Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary, use words."

Live THAT, and Howard Dean ain't talkin' about YOU.

Bush Trying to Boost Sales

June 25, 2005 WASHINGTON - As public support for his Iraq policy declines, President Bush is working to convince wary Americans he has a military and political strategy for success in the war in which 1,730 U.S. troops have been killed.

Also in the news today was a story about how Nicole Kidman studied Elizabeth Montgomery in order to replicate the role of Samantha Steven in the movie version of "Bewitched" which starred Montgomery in the 1960s.

My guess is that Kidman put more thought into her role than did the Bush administration in there foreign policy decision to make war in Iraq.

I'm not saying this merely to be snide (although any recognition of my snideness is appreciated.) What I see in today's news bulletin is, blown up on a grand scale, the boy who cried wolf. If the five year history of the Bush administration is any indication of how he will proceed to "convince" America that we should trust his decision making, then we are in store for the following:

  • A return to color-coded terrorist alerts, which will illustrate to us how we are in danger, how we should be afraid, and how we should put on the back burner any critical judgment of the Bush administration, ie, not worry our pretty little heads about our safety and put that safety into the hands of our benevolent, paternalistic leaders, Bush and Cheney.
  • An increased hostility, tainting and sneering, as well as smear campaigns, against anyone who raises questions about the wisdom of the decisions of the Bush administration. I predict that before the summer is out, Dick Cheney or another high level Republican figure will be caught "off the record" calling Democrats something as coarse -- and as appealing to their base -- as "big pussies."
  • A mantra, even among those who supported the ill-conceived Iraq campaign, that "we're in Iraq now, and now we have to make good of it." (To this I respond, "Of course we are deeply enmeshed in Iraq -- that is a fact -- but shall we continue to throw our money into the bad investment of Misguided Leadership from the Bush Administration? Our way to solve the Iraq mess isn't to keep on board the CEO who made the horrible investment INTO Iraq in the first place. That leaves impeachment -- which won't happen, even though impeachable offenses can be counted on two hands -- but instead, more strident opposition to what, hitherto, has been carte blanche approval of the Bush Administration's maniacal policies.)
America is learning a tough lesson right now. We have an undisciplined, careless, reckless leadership who has been extremely lucky in being backed by Congressional numbers that have given the administration and their all-but-brown-shirted base nearly dictatorial control over the nation. Their wildness of policies, akin to an out-of-control teenager ruffian, has finally pushed us against the wall, forcing us to take stock, and exhausted, draw the line and put an end to it.

They will not be tamed without shrill, violent thrashings. The violence will come in their smear campaigns, their continual lies (just check out much of what comes out of Dick Cheney's mouth on any given day,) and their cloaking themselves in the flag and declaring themselves God's chosen messengers. That latter point, that they are privy to God's will, and will carry it out, is the most enlightening, for they give us a crystal-clear illustration who are today's New Testament Pharisees.

Just watch President Bush pitch this inane campaign to his fellow citizens. Watch what dime-a-dozen saleman's techniques he tries putting past us. Watch his baits-and-switches, his non-sequiters, his inability and unwillingness to be forthright about mature discussions of how we should proceed with this policy to fix the mess we made in Iraq, and proceed with the long-term neutralization of the terrorist threat that springs from the radicals who bastardize Islam.

And once you watch the President be less than candid, and shirk responsibility, and feign blamelessness, and oversimplify, and condescend to us as if we are five-year-olds, remember that he is just the hand-picked figurehead of a larger movement that has seized it's oversized piece of the pie by being organized, committed, loud -- not to mention vicious, cunning, and dishonest.

If they can do it, intelligent liberals who can bring to bloom the potential of the U.S. Constitution as it was meant to be, not as it has been warped by angry, unhappy, frightened and vindictive conservatives.

He'll be out doing sales calls, this president of ours, who had he been born with a different name might have been the assistant sales director of some fledgling manufacturing firm where back-slapping and mano-a-mano winks gets you halfway to closing the deal.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Conservative Baby Boom Generation In the White House

Over the past three decades, you got the impression that if the Baby Boom Generation botched things when they took over for the GI Generation, it would be the result of liberal excess.

It turns out that the any states of ruination going on now are the result of an administration borne from the conservative wing of the Baby Boom Generation.

Just to show you that liberal and conservative are meaningless words, look back to the Clinton administration to see fiscal responsibility and mature diplomacy. We see in the Bush administration reckless spending, reckless diplomacy, and exorbitant self-indulgence when it comes to letting friends feed from the public trough.

So while they continue to call themselves conservatives, we can either argue the semantic point, or change the definition of conservative.

Or, instead of playing into the cynical game of name-calling, (or redefining a word), how about if Democrats simply start touting leaders who can speak naturally to what common sense Americans desire: Technology-friendly business communities; health care planning; and a reconstruction of the international ties severed by the solipsistic runamok Bush administration, who came to power by scaring America witless with phony color-coded terrorist warnings, Bible-waving, and enlisting the muscle of lying swift boat goons. They can be beat if Democrats stop tolerating their nonsense and fight like men. I say fight like men because the right are little children. Witness their trantrums when they don't get everything their way.


They can be beat. Sadly, it will take the self-evident destruction of their eight crash-and-burn years for it to become glaringly obvious to what has become a numbed majority electorate.

But it can be done.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

The Battle over Social Security Will Be a Test of Whether Bush Can Be Kept In Check

Today's headline reads: Bush White Opens a "Social Security" War Room.

Guess what's going to happen. Democrats will dig in mightily, partly in response to Bush's ludicrous first steps in dismantling Social Security, and also partly to compensate for not digging in, and in fact, rolling over spinelessly to allow Bush to have his war in Iraq without any serious debate.

The battle over Social Security is going to be a huge test over the Democrats ability as a minority party to keep in check the steamrolling power of the White House and Republican Party.

Watch it closely.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Hollywood is a Corporate Product

From left to right are pictures of a Fear Factor contestant covered in slime, Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton from The Simple Life part 3, Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake at the Super Bowl, and an NBA brawl.

This is the cover of the 2/27/05 Parade magazine.

The headline reads: Maybe...We Should Feel Shame.

Three of the four images serve as illustrations to our shattered moral standards. They are posters for those conservatives who point to liberal Hollywood as the source for our diminished morality.

The problem is Hollywood is pure corporate capitalism, the very thing that propels and benefits by the Bush administration.

If Democrats were smart, they'd wage a PR campaign pointing out that so many of the pop culture things hated by conservatives -- music, TV, films -- are the products of those bottom line corporations whose best interests are served by the current administration. These corporations are not churning out the arts any more than fast food chains and manufacturers of candies and sugary cereals are producing nutrition.

Democrats must reach the so-called middle American conservatives and make them realize that they are being led by the nose by right wing distractions (like the culture wars and the silly preoccupation with gay unions). Farhad Majoo writes in Salon that after once the president's Social Security plans are scrutinized, "social conservatives, people who've been duped into voting for the GOP on the assumption that it was the party of morals (rather than of money), might finally see the truth."

But we have to shine a light on that truth, which the sinister Bush administration keeps in the closet, and make them see more clearly how they are dismantling the social programs that have put into practice in this country the benevolence that is basis of the teachings of most faiths.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Gridlock Will Be Progress

Bush Urges Haste on Social Security Reform
-Associated Press

I read a biography of Bush that describes how, one day, he decided to quit smoking. He did so, digging in with resolution, and never smoked cigarettes again.

It was an impulsive decision to stop smoking.

This gut-instinct, impulsive nature to Bush's decision making process might be good for something like that -- giving up nicotine or fatty foods or whatever -- but it is a severe flaw in the way a leader makes a decision.

So, how old is Social Security? Seventy-ish? And because Bush has a bee in his bonnett to change it, it must change now?

Without debate?

Without weighing and measuring options?

That's the gift of George W. Bush. He presents everything as if it is urgent and must be rammed through because waiting and contemplating endangers the situation, puts us in the crosshairs of further problems.

This is the evidence that the man not only cannot abide contemplation, he deeply resents the troublesome task of thinking things through.

His debacle in Iraq, a completely senseless and fraudelent and fatal policy, should convince us all that This Boy Has Cried Wolf, and whatever he says about anything now is to be doubted. He is part of a machinery that does not debate issues, but smears debating opponents with savage personal insults that appeal to the uninformed citizen's proclivities to hate.

So if George W. Bush says radical change in Social Security is urgently needed, smart citizens should look at his record of "warning us of danger" and immediately be doubtful that he is leading us in the right direction. To sum it up: If Bush says "night", we owe it to ourselves to think "day" because that is his track record. When Bush says "hurry up" we are obliged to say, "whoa, slow down" because there is something in the Bush administration's need to rush things through that indicates they are afraid of putting their proposals under a microscope.

President Bush is in a hurry to radically change Social Security. There's a reason for this. The more time anyone spends looking at his proposed changes, the more risky they seem. The loyal opposition, the Democrats, should have one thing in mind for the next four years. Be contrary to Bush. Because if the first four destructive years of the Bush administration are any indication of what that crew can do, then gridlock will be progress.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Dean? Good!

I am pleased with the election of Howard Dean to chair the Democratic Party. He is learned, direct, interesting -- even captivating -- and appeals to young people's desire for no bullshit leadership. His gaffes are nothing compared to the idiotic malaprops and illogical statements of our sitting U.S. president, so don't even try to replay his "scream," a media moment that played itself out a week after it actually happened.

I am pleased that Howard Dean's contribution to the growth of post cold war liberalism will be more than just a sugar burst to the 2004 campaign. He is pugnacious, driven and conscientious. He wakened Democrats two years ago and he will do so again.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Passion of the Bloodlust

Lent has begun.

A year ago, Mel Gibson's "Passion of the Christ" emerged as must see (and cringe) pop culture. I just saw it recently, and I understand why it appeals to so many conservative Christians (Catholic and Protestant.)

The film draws from the gut. One learns nothing of Christianity from it, the rock principles upon which Peter built the church. Gibson was determination to create a two-hour universe steeped in hardcore reality, so that the phrase we hear each week (in the Catholic church, at least,) "He suffered, died and was buried" will have some meaning and be more than just a rote utterance.

And boy, did Christ suffer!

In fact, a man who suffers as much as Christ does in this movie could never carry a wooden cross let alone be nailed to it without going into cardiac failure. The prolonged butchery is as unrealistic as the adverturous escapes of James Bond or Indiana Jones. The only thing missing is the director's cut scene in which, at the last minute, Christ whirls the cross around, caving in the skulls of the centurions, hopping on a steed, socking Pilate in the puss, and nodding at the guards to "book 'em."

Gibson goes overboard -- lustfully, cinematically -- so much so that it undermines his own mission to depict a realistic crucifixion. There is an S&M glee to the filmmaking: the lurid monster movie ghouls; the giddy delight from the salivating, rotten-tooth Roman torturers make them seem like porn-flicker bikers; the Jews who egg on the torturers like sicko Norman Bateses than the bewildered, cowardice lynch mob that they probably were. Gibson took too much delight in depicting the torturers' joy in flogging, rather than their derangement. That is, rather than depict some sicko floggers ardently at work, he gave us the close-up shots that make the centurions the objects of our passions. We become more amazed at their sadistic glee, that they could scourge a fellow human being, panting and laughing, and that turns the movie into a snuff film rather than an illumination of Christ's suffering.

I understand how it might appeal to that part of the religious right, who thrive (both spiritually and financially) on accusation and condemnation, who don't give a rat's ass about the destruction they cause today because to them it's always about the melodramatic fulfillment of prophecy and revelations in global holy wars, not to mention keeping tax-paying homos from paying even more taxes if they ever got the right to file jointly.

If it's religion they want, give them instead Mahalia Jackson, performing with the Duke Ellington Orchestra in the Duke's original suite "Black, Beige and Brown", a concert at Carnegie Hall in 1943 to uplift and benefit the Russian War relief fund, to help in the fight against the crushing invasion by Nazi Germany. Imagine, in an era of segregation, a negro orchestra encouraging a godless country to keep up the fight against Hitler, with Mahalia Jackson's spirited, woeful voice singing about slaves who seek strength, and who cherish their Sunday day of rest so that they can replenish their spirit to keep on:

Lord dear Lord of love, God almighty, God up above,
Please look down and see my people through.
He'll give peace and comfort
To every troubled mind.
Come Sunday home
Come Sunday. That's the day.
Often we'll feel weary, but He knows our every care.
Go to Him in secret he will heed your every prayer.
I'm intrigued by the lyric "go to him in secret." That is humility and privacy and not the showbiz sadomachism that pumps people up and flames their base enthusiasm for warfare rather than a truly complicated mission of behaving benevolently.
I've also felt that the truly religious are the ones who focus on the sins of omission -- the things we don't do that we should. This requires a life that includes that Sunday day of rest, to contemplate, and to make the number one priority the plank in our own eyes rather than the speck of cinder in our neighbor's.

We Need Donnie Brasco

News Item:
NEW YORK - Federal Aviation Administration (news - web sites) officials received 52 warnings prior to Sept. 11, 2001, from their own security experts about potential al-Qaida attacks, including some that mentioned airline hijackings or suicide attacks, The New York Times reported.

I've always believed that the Bush administration response to the September 11, 2001 sabatoge attacks by Al Quaeda terrorists was manipulated -- just as someone would make a fraudulent damage claim on an insurance policy by stating that damage done prior to a hurricane was actually caused by the hurricane.

By that I mean, the Bush administration took advantage of America's overreaction to the Al Quaeda terrorist actions and, like the Congress that staples pork onto a bill, lumped their own long-simmering lust to attack Iraq onto the "terrorism agenda."

America would be in better hands with a Democratic president -- Al Gore or John Kerry would do just fine -- had they been in command to address the breach of security by Al Quaeda members and the infiltration of their nests into America. What occurred was not an act of war between nations. It was a most horrid act of sublime, evil vandalism. John Kerry was right when he said the proper way to weaken the Al Quaeda terrorism network was through criminal investigation. That, of course, did not sit well with the population that loves things to blow up. Not long after American troops really began getting bogged down in Iraq, I overheard a guy at a department store say, "We should just nuke 'em and pull out." I wanted to correct him and say, "We'd better pull out first, then nuke 'em." Anyway, the idea that we can go in anywhere and achieve a victory, whatever that means, and get out, reveals a characteristic of the American culture, the idea that we can use our brute force to coerce a victory, leave, and everything will be fine. Ann Coulter, in a rage after the 9/11 attacks -- but then again, when isn't she in a rage?-- spat out this lovely foreign policy: We should invade [someone], convert them to Christianity, and get out.

What Kerry, most Democrats, and truth be told, behind closed doors, most Republicans in Congress know is that this isn't a "war" on terrorism. So many people have written that "terrorism" is a methodology, not an ideology, and that declaring a war on "terrorism" is akin to declaring a war on switchblades or a war on suckerpunches or a war on date rape or a war on kicking below the belt. But it is quite handy for the Bush administration to use that "war on terror" because nobody knows what it is. He lumps everything into that word, terror, like insurgency and tyranny, and they are not the same. But it serves the purpose to keep perpetually dizzy a poorly-informed population. Had George W. Bush announced a War to Destroy Al Quaeda, he'd have passed my English class for having a more precise and provable thesis statement.

On September 11, 2001 by Saudi Arabians who skirted sloppy airport security and put into action the long-planned, diabolical scheme to hijack planes and ram them into choice landmark buildings. They did this by going to flight school and using box cutters to frighten airplane passengers. (By the way, do you think ever again passengers in flight will ever be so calm if someone takes over a plane. Other than the jet that crashed in Pennsylvania, passengers in the other three planes assumed this would be a hijacking and a hostage taking. Never again will anyone ever assume that.) The Al Quaeda operatives on this day did not invade America. They hustled past security. Our goal on that day should have been to create our own long-planned, diabolical scheme to infiltrate them and destroy them from within so that the destruction would be permanent. Afghanistan's stupidity in openly hosting Al Quaeda camps made it easy to target those terrorist farms. But it also misled many Americans into thinking that Afghanistan was the nation that attacked us. They harbored the criminals but didn't do the deed. It also led us into thinking that large scale military operations is the answer to the challenge -- that challenge again being to weaken or dismantle Al Qaeda and it's ilk. Big D-Day and Iwo Jima types of invasions are in our national vocabulary and that's the show biz preferred by the simpleton Bush administration.

What we really needed was sophisticated espionage and tough infiltration, which I'm sure would have been implemented by a Democratic president who had no personal agenda to bait and switch, turning the enemy into a toothless dictator named Saddam Hussein whose most horrible crimes were 15 years in the past and posed no threat to us. While we needed Donnie Brasco, George W. Bush was impersonating the bowlegged John Wayne, whose clinking holsters down the middle of Dodge City is now easy pickings for the snipers who don't mind playing dirty from the bell towers.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

The Democratic Nomination as Entitlement

As Howard Dean mounts another unstoppable campaign to become some kind of leader of the Democratic Party, I've been thinking about how he was last toppled.

In a weird mixture of brazen hunger for victory and utter chickenshit fear, voters decided after all that John Kerry was the electable -- whatever that means -- candidate. Dennis Kucinich has a simple, funny answer to the critique that he was unelectable. "Vote for me," he said, "And I'll be electable."

Just the word electable sounds like so much navel-gazing. It's a psychobabble word on the periphery of political science. It's so much snootiness about how to pick a candidate that is safe enough to get the party's middle votes as well as tough enough to bring the victory home.

Kerry, after a stumblebum pre-Iowa campaign season, was instantly crowned the nominee before the last New Hampshire voters punched their chads and capped the cold day with chowdah.

So intense was the electorate's hatred of Bush that they wanted a sure thing in a candidate. Kerry was their man.

In a way, I think Kerry was selected in the same way Bob Dole got the nominee in 1996. He earned it and deserved, so went the logic. It was his time, Dole's and Kerry's. They'd been around and -- Dole, even more so, being a septagenarian -- had these laurels coming to them.

I will stop here to assert that John Kerry was a sterling candidate, a formidable foe, and more-than-qualified to lead the nation and the world out of the gooey morass that Bush and company have put us in.

But I don't think Kerry got the nod because of that. I think he won the votes early because Democrats were desperate, angry and frightened. Howard Dean's clear-cut passion was exciting, then frightening. His authenticity -- he is a counterpart, or should I say counterpunch, to Bush's direct and plain-spokenness. (I take issue with the notion that Bush is plain-spoken. He speaks well when reading simple, declarative sentences. Had one of his doomed businesses flourished, he'd have been a great Texas TV commercial pitchman. But for the sake of argument, I'll just go along with the myth that he is a direct, plain spoken fellow.) Now, Republicans embraced Bush. Democrats embraced Dean, then eschewed him, just like they eat up and spit out their past party leaders like Dukakis and McGovern.

I'm not trying to relive the election with a what-if-Dean-ran revision. What I'm trying to figure out is why Kerry won so quickly and so soon in the primaries, and what does it say about Democrats that they wanted someone "electable" when the very examination of "electability" is a fool's errand that exposes Democrats for our weaknesses rather than our fortitude and loyalty. It sounds like marketing chicanery, trying to find the right smile for the right product. We'd do best not to do so much analyzing next time, and find the candidate who supports our platform but appeals to America in the heart and gut. This means the next candidate must be a fighter, a natural and not one given the nomination as an entitlement.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Rumsfeld Offered Twice to Resign

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said he offered twice to resign in the wake of the prison scandals, but President Bush refused.

Bush is smart. He knows that firing Rumsfeld would have pleased mostly the people who weren't going to vote for him anyway.

But by sticking with him, he was demonstrating a characteristic -- LOYALTY -- that plays big with the ones who would likely vote for him. It bolstered his base, many of whom look to gut-feeling intangibles to justify their vote. Policy matters little to people who base their approval of others on things like: Does he pray? Does he stick with his friends? Does he visit his mother? Does he look French?

Invading Iran Not on the Agenda

Condaleeza Rice had to announce the fact that invading Iran is not part of the administration's agenda. She added, "However, maybe if we move a few things around we could squeeze it in."

What's a hoot about this?

Soon we will have a generation of citizens who ask presidential candidates, "If elected, who would you invade and why?"

What Rice didn't address of course is that America's ability to invade anybody is practically nil right now. Bush's ridiculous invasion of Iraq under false pretenses (that Iraq is an imminent threat) has now hog-tied America's ability to seriously maneuver anywhere else. Al Quaeda couldn't found a dumber bait-and-switch victim than the Bush White House, and the toady yes-men who cowtow to the president who doesn't think things through. Oh, but look at me, dredging up the past. In his 1960 book Mr. Citizen, Harry Truman writes,

"I am not one who believes it does any good to cry over past mistakes." [unlike Mr. Bush, Mr. Truman evidently can recognize making past mistakes.] "You have got to keep looking ahead and going stragith ahead all the time, making decisions and coreecting the situation as you go along. This calls for fundamental policy, a basic outlook, for the making of major foreign and domestic decisions. Otherwise the operations of the government would be reduced to improvisation -- and inevitable trouble."

The last sentence is key because I think Bush policy, while rooted in a fundamental outlook created by others that George W. Bush has happily signed on to, has been administered by improvisation.

"A President who hesitates or temporizes usually is not certain of what he wants, and he is greatly handicapped when he has to act without a clear-cut policy."

The Bush administration's inability to look at the world as it really is and build upon that backdrop a blueprint -- ie, a clear-cut, well-thought policy -- that will tangibily build their neoconservative world alos illustrates Truman's point, even though most people think President Bush is a man who doesn't hesitate or temporize. Truth is, the Bush team does a version of hesitation. That is, they flip-flop. They create crises, then make up reactions to crises so they can eliminate resistance to their hastily-assembled policies, then they continually evolve and make up new justifications for their policies when the old ones get run up the flagpole and nobody salutes. Likewise, during the 2004 campaign, Senator Kerry did hesitate and temporize to the point where people felt like he was too cautious. James Carville and I have something in common. We were so frustrated with Kerry (for not blasting back at those swift boat goons for their character assassination of Kerry) that we wept. So hungry were we to see the Democratic candidate tear limb-from-limb the tacts of the cowards and bullies in and around the Bush administration.


In 1988, Vice President George H.W. Bush, running for president, called his Democratic opponent Michael Dukakis "a liberal."

It was a slam.

Dukakis didn't respond at first. Finally, he trotted out a tired Democratic retort. He said, "Yes, I am a liberal . . . in the tradition of FDR, Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy."

Like a fool who hands a burglar his house keys, Dukakis was complicit that is in helping right wing propagandists cheapen the battle of ideas by smearing and tainting words so that they don't have to discuss actual ideas.

Dukakis was afraid of admitting he is a liberal because that word has been hijacked by the right wing and redefined. It's not wrong to be angry at the left wing for allowing it to happen because they just handed over the keys.

Comedian Bill Maher said, "One thing I've got against Democrats is that they never defend the word liberal. They let the Republicans demonize it. No one from the Democratic party ever stood up and said, 'Look up liberal in the dictionary. It means 'open minded' and 'forward thinking.' These are not bad things. These are thing I would want to teach my children."

When Clinton was running for president, he was also called a liberal. Clinton tried mocking the mockers by saying, when Republicans don't want to talk about issues, all they say is 'liberal, liberal, liberal' like a broken record. But he didn't sing the praises of liberalism. He also avoided it. He, too, handed over the keys.

Interviewing John Edwards late in the 2004 campaign, Ted Koppel "Are you a liberal?"

"No," Edwards leapt, leaning forward as if diving for a foul ball -- because that's how Democrats think of the word. It's a foul ball.

Conservatives aren't afraid of admitting it. They're proud of it. When Democrats get mealy-mouthed about reclaiming the word, it shows they are cautious and afraid and out-of-touch with just how strong, progressive and ambitiously open-minded many citizens are. They can be awakened if they have leaders strong enough to be the mirrors of progressive thinking that so many American have become.

"I have been fiercely partisan in politics and always militantly liberal," said Harry Truman. "I will be that way as long as I live."

When Democrats are too meek to declare the wonderful positions they take on serious issues -- and to proudly describe that position as liberal -- then they come across as mealy-mouthed and evasive. That's no way to round up the troops.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Theology. Democracy.

The rise of evangelicals -- and their growing involvement in the political process -- mirrors the rise of Islamic fundamentalism that began in the past forty to fifty years in the middle east, coming to one of its heads when the Ayatullah Khomeini and his ilk took over Iran at the outset of the 1980s.

America has followed suit, slowly but surely.

We now are divided. We are not divided into religious and secular so much as we, as a nation whose culture is spiritual, are now "religious" and "fanatic." Half of us look to the Bible and see a God of vengeance and justice. Half of us look to the Bible and see a God of charity. You would think that the touchy-feely God -- the one whom the evangelicals stake claim to as a "personal savior" -- would be the charitable God. In my observation, that is not so. Right-wing evangelicals embrace God as their personal savior -- and in fact, declare themselves "saved!" -- and heave a sigh of relief that they are safe while the hedonists will be out on the receiving end of God's lashes (the lashes that they were spared . . . lucky them.)

Their God makes them "feel good." The God of charity is one who inspires His followers to "do good." Isn't it peculiar that the conservatives who decry a "feel good" society use that very sentiment to define their faith. Feeling good -- being saved -- stops at YOU. Doing good -- enacting the will of the charitable God -- is evident in the end result of our charitable, not judgmental, acts.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Republicans are the 10 Commandments. Democrats are the Beatitudes.

It just hit me.

Republicans are the 10 Commandments. They love to tell others what they shalt not do. They thrive on pointing fingers and condemning what is off limits to others. The Beatitudes do not tell us what to do but how to treat others. There lies the difference between the right and left. Right wingers love to preach, not practrice. The Beatitudes teach us to love thy neighbor, and the left puts that into policy.

By the way, if Republicans are interested in implementing the 10 Commandments, but are also driven to reduce government, then they should adopt George Carlin's take on the 10 commandments. He reduces them to two.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

My Daughter Is Astounded That Her Classmates Like Bush

We talked openly throughout the entire campaign. I made it clear to her why I supported Kerry and she chose to join me in that support.

In fact, she and her younger sister posed for a photo with John Kerry's daughter, Alexandra, during a local campaign stop. They were proud to be part of the process.

What my 6th grade daughter shares with me is her astonishment that her classmates are not concerned about health care and an unnecessary war.

She says, "I have no clue why anybody would take the chance to vote for Bush when he has no possible idea what he's going to do with our country."

She's right: Bush has no real plan to solve health care problems. She says he has a chip on his shoulder (in both ways! she watched the debate!) in that he overcompensates for a long life of mediocrity.

She is a living example of what I have thought all along during this campaign. That the 2004 Kerry-Bush matchup was about more than the candidates. It was the baptism for future activitist.

"Bush supporters aren't informed or they just don't care what's going to happen to their country because in about four or five years I bet some of my classmates will have to go to war," she laments. "Then they will believe in our cause and switch to become donkeys."

Saturday, December 04, 2004

What Might Have Been

I watched again footage of 1971 John Kerry's testimony to Senators as the spokesman for the Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

What a sterling young leader.

And now I think: What might have been.

What might have happened to the U.S. with a mature, knowledgable leader.

It is almost the same gut feeling of "what might have been" one gets when seeing Robert F. Kennedy speak.

But Kennedy was cut down by an assassin.

In a way, Kerry, too, was such a victim.

Of character assassination.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

2004: The Real Winner Is the Progressive Movement

Most of my Democratic friends have been lying low. We were so drenched in news that many of us are taking an information vacation.

But that is all. It's a respite.

A few days after the election, Akron area grassroot Democrats met. It was a hoot -- albeit a sad one. It was a venting session.

But it didn't smell of defeat. The anger seethed, the enthusiasm caught its breath.

I think of it this way. Bush's somewhat narrow win shows that the Democratic grassroots effort was powerful and phenomenal. Bush's successor cannot count on the next Democratic nominee to put up with as many lies as, inconceivably, the Kerry campaign did.

I was completely pleased with John Kerry as a candidate. He should've fought back at the lies, yes, but shame on dumbkopft Amerika for not crucifying Bush for lying so in the first place.

The real hero will be the grassroots energy, whipped into a frenzy by ACT and MoveOn, frothed by Howard Dean, served up by Kerry. The grassroots cannot be equated with one face, one flawed candidate, but millions of faces who thirst for progressive justice.

Goldwater's defeat in 1964 bore the first powerful shoots from the fertile ground of modern conservatism. It peaked with Reagan and is on the wane with Bush. The next Republican candidate will, to avoid a gargantuan ass-kicking, adopt much of the Democrat platform. The Swift Boat goons who lied about John Kerry can't come back to stir the pot of fear and loathing. Stick a fork in the postwar conservative movement. It's done.

Kerry's 2004 defeat produced the first harvest of the grapes that require a few seasons but will, in the long run, prove to be a formidable, sweet and powerful vintage for new millenium liberalism.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

A Mission to Perpetuate Democratic Ideals, Or, How to Combat the Babel of the Cynical Religious Right

In today's (Thursday, 11/04) Cleveland Plain Dealer, Elizabeth Sullivan writes: "The rural poor who put Bush over the top in Ohio on Turesday often voted against their own intersts to elect a man who speaks for them on gays and godly living."

We can either sneer and simmer -- or combat this. I don't think Democrats can out-faith the Right. That's their turf (even though it is true that there are more liberal Christians than conservative, the liberals see their benevolence in acts of kindness rather than condemnation, and the acts of kindness require sacrifice rather than self-righteous judgment. That's not as easy of a compact sell.)

But we can begin now by studying our precincts and seeing who the leaders are and what groups exist.

Voters overlooked jobs, healthcare, a moronic war and voted "moral values." Why? Because one doesn't have to read and analyze anything to base a vote on gay marriage initiatives.

It is, on such a voter's part, an irresponsibile abdication of citizenship.

But it's what we've got.

Starting now, we can imaginatively look at our precincts and see which groups can work in conjunction with the party to bring in only party-partisan experts to inform people about health care and job loss and unfair tax codes. In that way, people will be fortified with substantive criteria upon which to base their vote -- and not irrelevant but enticing faith-based gestures like gay marriage initiatives.

Be educators so that voters will be armed with logic, rather than fear.

Kerry's Message: We're 55 Million and We Approve

Yesterday, Senator Kerry conceded the race.

Two days ago, many Americans told exit pollers that one of the guiding issues in their decision to vote for President Bush is "moral values."

Some say that is code for abortion and gay rights.

I see it as code for something else: The stunning ability for the Bush team and its peripheral evangelical and right wing groups to distract people.

This may sound like sour grapes. While I am seriously disappointed that the Democratic ticket lost, I pay my compliments to the forces that re-elected Bush. I salute their skills, like I would salute a womanizer, who was able to rope-a-dope women into going with him. Bush didn't campaign on his accomplishments, for he has created more havoc than solutions. His minions, like the Swift Boat troublemakers, lied not only about Kerry's record, but sinfully destroyed his character. Additionally, conservative operative skillfully but cynically made sure inconsequential anti-gay marriage initiatives were on the ballots in eleven key states. My conclusion is that so long as people can base their vote upon the hatred of someone else's character or lifestyle, then they feel absolved from having to base their vote upon critical analysis of issues and platforms. One can base a vote for Bush on one's own disgust with homosexuals (and one's valid opposition to abortion) and never have to think twice about the best long-term strategy for Iraq or fiscal responsibility.

Still -- Bush wins.

And pundits wonder what Kerry and the Democrats may have done differently. They say we must talk about faith. Reach out to the middle. Become once again a national party. But I think that will be difficult. The issues important to the Democratic Party require something more than geography. Our stances are adopted by better-informed voters. "Moral issues" becomes code for "I can't base my vote on anything else because I haven't made the effort to read up on it." So "moral issues" voters get taken by the womanizer who makes them think about all the things they despise. The Ku Klux Klan had the same appeal. It attracted poor, frustrated whites who had nobody else but Negroes to kick and feel better than. I have seen it in the faces of people at the polls -- I was a poll checker two days ago -- at their satisfaction in knowing they would be stamping out even the prospect of legal homosexual union.

I will support the Democratic candidates in the next cycle of elections. And I have concluded that an equally important mission is to encourage people to improve their literacy and language skills. Those who were better informed and better educated overwhelmingly viewed Senator Kerry as a more capable world leader who understood that America's sense of mission could not be a square peg in the world's round hole.

In the cacophony of campaign ads funded by a bottomless pit of cash (including my own $25 smackers for Kerry), many voters took the bait that this election is all about:
  • believing embittered Navy veterans who are still pissed off that Kerry protested Vietnam
  • reproductive rights (you don't have them)
  • gay marriage (it threatens your own family stability) (and frankly, I think this issue is all about people's discomfort in having to explain the idea to their children.)
  • the treasonousness of disagreeing with a narcissict President who, biography tells us, has never much been accountability his entire life.

None of these much matter, policywise. That was Bush, Rove & Company's plan. Threw some red meat to the junkyard dog electorate so they could through the fence and continue constructing their master plan.

I am proud of my small, small part in trying to get Senator Kerry elected. I met hundreds of fellow volunteers and driven staffers here in Ohio that is great consolation to Kerry's defeat. We know each other and will work together again. In our defeat, we feel less alone. In our confusion over how distractions and lies can lay the foundation for victory (not ours), we feel alone in that frustration. We are among the 55 million who passionately approved of Kerry's message.