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The Sputtering But Still Dangerous CheneyBush Juggernaut

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By Bernard Weiner, The Crisis Papers

It's the usual M.O. from CheneyBush. They still act and speak as if nothing has changed politically from when they first fired up their juggernaut nearly eight years ago.

Ignoring the irony, for example, they've appointed Paul Wolfowitz -- the always-wrong neo-con architect of Iraq war policy -- chair of the State Department's arms control and disarmament panel. They continue to nominate incompetent ideologues for high posts. They have re-vetoed the popular SCHIP bill that would expand health care to poor children. They are talking about putting U.S. forces into Pakistan and are still issuing bellicose warnings about a possible attack on Iran. They are not cooperating fully, or sometimes even at all, with Congressional investigations of their scandals. They are opening up more of the fragile Alaska wilderness and waters to logging and oil exploration. They pretend to do something, but in reality do little or nothing, about such running sores as the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, global warming, affordable health-care; etc. etc.

CheneyBush remind me of huge rampaging monsters, countless arrows sticking out of their bleeding wounds but still able to thrash about and wreak great damage. They're lame ducks, weakened politically but angry, highly motivated and out for revenge and vindication.

Because CheneyBush are still operating in their old style -- the reckless, arrogant style that has made Bush the worst president in Amerian history (with Cheney even more disliked than Bush) -- the public is ready, and has been ready for several years now, to cut them loose, along with the Republican Party.

It seems pretty clear that the damaged-by-association GOP will fare badly in Senate and House races in November, giving the Democrats an even bigger majority, probably enough to prevent Republican filibusters. (Question: But how many of those Democrats will be genuine liberals/progressives and how many will be from the centrist-rightwing of the party, willing to join the GOP conservatives on key votes?)


THE PROGRESSIVES' CHOICE IN NOVEMBER

It would seem apparent that the fired-up Democrats should be able to take the White House as well, but since the party system in this country is so loose, many voters tend to base their presidential choice separately, upon their need for a leader who makes them feel comfortable and secure. Short version: This means that the Democrats don't have a lock on re-taking the presidency in November.

It comes down to whom the parties nominate, and how the campaigns are run. Luckily, any of the three viable Democratic contenders would make a decent, perhaps even good, president. None of the leading Republicans give one any hope in that regard. But going against Romney or McCain is not going to be a walk in the park.

Rove&Co. (which includes most of the major corporate media) are salivating at the prospect of having a full-bore go at Hillary Clinton, or Barack Obama, with their swiftboating forces ready to crank up the old dirty-politics smear machine that worked so well for them in taking care of Kerry and Gore. Plus, the Democrats are, in their race toward the nomination, providing even more political ammunition for the GOP in their attacks on each other.

Assuming that either Clinton or Obama is the Democratic nominee -- i.e., a candidate from the centrist-right, beholden to the usual plutocratic forces -- how should the progressive base of the party respond? Offer unqualified support to whomever the Democrats nominate? Sit out the election because not all that much will change if Clinton or Obama, or even Edwards, gets into office? Join the Greens or another third-party? Hold one's nose and support the Dem nominee as a small, incremental move toward good government, the best one might hope for in a non-progressive era?

William Rivers Pitt, one of the best progressive writers on the internet, takes the long view, opting for the last-named solution:

"One election won't change anything, but ten might, and there is no reason or impediment blocking dedicated Americans from keeping their shoulders to the political activism wheel long enough to roll that rock up the hill. ...-Change is not going to come, and has already come, and may yet come. This is what makes the 2008 presidential election an absurdity, and an opportunity, and a fait accompli all at once. It is what it is."

As for me, I'm working for Edwards as long as he's in the race, as the most progressive viable alternative among the Democrats. I'm waiting to see how primary voters treat the three Dem contenders; and then I'll make up my mind about how to vote in November after seeing the Republican ticket and deciding if the policy differences between the two parties justifies yet another vote for a Democrat in November. I know I'm not alone in this attitude. This seems to be what the objective conditions are telling us in 2008.

HOW WE GOT TO THIS PLACE

It might be appropriate here to recall how we got to this place as CheneyBush enter the final year of their White House tenure. To appreciate the answer -- that they've always operated on the principle that a spread-'em-wide offense is the best defense -- it thus might be helpful to remember the historical context. So, here goes:

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Bernard Weiner, Ph.D. in government & international relations, has taught at universities in California and Washington, worked for two decades as a writer-editor at the San Francisco Chronicle, and currently serves as co-editor of The Crisis Papers (more...)
 
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