From July 6th to July 9th of 2007, Strategic Vision conducted a gallop poll out of 1,200 likely voters in the state of Pennsylvania that provided interesting yet predictable results. In overwhelming numbers, Republican and Democratic voters alike were dissatisfied with Bush’s handling of everything from the war in Iraq (20% approval rating), the economy (21% satisfied), and his overall performance (23% gave him the thumbs up). Hardly desirable statistics for George Bush or Republican presidential hopefuls.
However, when one examines such a poll, one can readily conclude that the level of Republican dissatisfaction with Bush’s performance provides the Democrats with an incredible opportunity to capitalize on the ominous shadow Bush is casting over the Republican Party. Increasingly, many Republicans have distanced themselves in rhetoric and practice from President Bush for this very reason. Recently, presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani tried to seek some shelter from Hurricane Bush by stating that America lacks the “strong, aggressive, bold leadership” of Republican legend Ronald Reagan. (It would be nice if the Democrats would finally stiffen their spines and take a tougher stance against Bush as well, considering they have voted for the war in Iraq, voted for mostly all war spending bills, and have not impeached a target as vulnerable as a beached whale. So let’s not go and pat our boys and girls in blue on the back for being much better than their pro-corporate brethren.)
Over the last seven years, President Bush has become a caricature of himself. The beady-eyed multimillionaire Texan, famous for dismembering his own businesses, the English language, the Constitution, Hurricane Katrina prevention and relief efforts, the Middle East, and everything else he has ever touched has appeared to the public as not only incompetent and corrupt but also profoundly stupid, but incorrectly viewed much of the time as solely responsible. Unfortunately, our preoccupation with Bush’s ridiculous idiosyncrasies has distracted us from the fact that Bush is hardly alone in calling the shots—no American president ever is. Right now he is merely the public face for the interests of the unelected government, the plutocratic and corporate elite, and in that sense the lightning rod for massive disenchantment with the more diffuse political quarters that actually control the nation.
Now that I have stated the obvious in respect to Bush, what I find most interesting about the Strategic Vision poll is that 77% of Republicans noted that President Bush is not a conservative in the same “mode” as Ronald Reagan, which may come as a shock to many observers who still retain a modicum of sanity, for that is exactly what he is, an activist for corporate welfare, warmongering, and selling the people of this country a vision of the world upside down. Conservatives, of course, are always talking about the necessity to return to a world that never was, an Eden once upon a time of little or no government, where markets functioned smoothly to give everyone what s/he needed in perfect accordance with talent and merit, a society devoid of gross social injustice, wars, crime, or even monopolies. Apparently a capacity for astonishing delusions is a requisite in the conservative affiliation.
As I’ve stated Rudy Giuliani is currently attempting to disengage himself from Bush by identifying himself closely with the heritage of Republican patron saint Ronald Reagan—and slippery beast that he is, he’s momentarily succeeding. (Considering that Reagan had pretty much the same cast of malefactors in his administration—the Rumsfelds, the Perles, the Elliot Abramses, the Cheneys, Wolfowitzes, and the rest of the Neocon mafia, one could easily argue that, if alive, Reagan might be doing exactly what Bush is doing. To Bush’s credit he has not yet attempted to bankrupt this nation by reinitiating Reagan’s Star Wars project, in hope to zap terrorists from the cosmos, so maybe small differences do exist, but nevertheless slight.) In any case at this point 44% of Republicans support Rudy Giuliani as the most viable candidate for the Republican nomination, with southerner Fred Thompson slowly climbing to 16% in second place, John McCain in 3rd place at 10%, Mitt Romney at 6% in 4th place, and conservative Libertarian Ron Paul at only 2% in dead last. Given these margins it would appear that Giuliani has more than a fair chance of locking up the nomination, but as we will see, the road to the coronations is still far from wide open, and Giuliani, for all his enormous ambition, may end up with egg on his face.
Lovin’ Rudy is no easy task for some.
The current ranking is precisely what’s setting off the alarms in many Republican quarters. In the eyes of many conservatives, especially the radical religious right, the by now fabled law-and-order Mayor Rudy Giuliani, hero of 9/11, a man long groomed and equipped with neo-conservative visions and dependability to serve the class interests of big business, is also a man who fails the test as the top Republican choice in the realm of “moral values” and gun control, both treasured (and time-tested) components of the Republican faux populist agenda. The GOP’s top spinmasters, serving the real “party owners,” know that without them firmly in place their voting base could be severely shaken up and possibly seriously eroded by 2008.
As most readers know, many Republican voters hold close to the hope that Roe v. Wade will one day be overturned, and remain zealous in their belief that no American should be deprived of his “Constitutional right” to hoard large arsenals of hunting and combat weapons, not to mention a bewildering array of small arms munitions. (The explanation for this peculiar attitude in an age of extremely sophisticated weapons that include armored APCs, urban tanks, DU munitions, hunt helicopters, and an enormous repressive apparatus of police, paramilitary and mercenaries, not to mention the regular armed forces, is that one day isolated citizens may have to stand up to their government’s increasingly repressive policies or defend their homesteads against marauding hordes of barbarians in a society in which all semblance of civility has broken down—basically the survivalist’s Road Warrior scenario.) Of course, this is the same “red state” mentality that while fixated on such “moral issues” as abortion and gay marriage, seems oblivious to its own economic and even health interests, neglecting universal healthcare, digging its heels on Iraq, showing disdain and even hostility to environmentalist concerns, and paralysis in the face of deepening job insecurity.
It is important to recall here that while the Republican oligarchy loudly proclaim to care deeply about “moral values” they do so only for political expediency, as their main and true objective is always the maximization of profits and advantages at the expense of the public’s well being, since those constitute the material base for the perpetuation of their power and privileged lifestyles. And while Rudy Giuliani has every intention of ensuring that the upper brass of corporate America remain powerful and wealthy, his personal track record threatens to throw a huge monkey wrench in the base that keeps Republicans in power. The emerging question for the party’s kingmakers (and the media they influence) is whether Giuliani can charm the South, matching phony smile with phony smile and phony promise with phony promise with favorite son Alabama actor Fred Thompson, a man who by birth is able to effortlessly replicate their twisted sensibilities.
Even in 2007, as if time had stood still, voters in the Bible belt continue to refer to abortion as the paramount issue deciding their favor. Giuliani is keenly aware that this is the possible Achilles Heel of his candidacy. He recently provided an ambiguous buffer to the question:
“In my case, I hate abortion…but ultimately, because it is an issue of conscience, I would respect a woman’s right to make a different choice.”
The pro-life voting base was not fooled by Giuliani’s rhetoric. Bruce Wilson of New America recently stated in response to that very comment “to us, it’s the equivalent of saying, ‘I hate it when someone takes another person’s life, but ultimately homicide is a matter of personal conscience and I would respect their decision.” Wilson makes a very good point. Furthermore, when it comes to seducing the family values crowd, Rudy Giuliani’s ex-wives would probably attest to the fact that loving Rudy was no easy task. Therein lies the rub. Although from a purely economic standpoint, Giuliani’s is a Republican’s knight in shining armor, his personal moral track record and position on abortion (which he most likely adopted to be elected in New York – a heavily pro-choice state) are not sitting favorably with many in the GOP and that is not likely to change, or, rather, that is not likely to change unless the party makes a committed effort to rally behind him.
There is little doubt that the top echelons of the Republican Party would prefer a “less controversial” candidate to stir up the hopes of Bible belt voters and their lobbyists. However nobody seems to be making the cut and Giuliani, despite his less than ideal resume, may slither in as the Republican nominee for President in ‘08. He may slither in because the 2008 election may not prove to be a normal election at all. How come?
Two things make the Giuliani candidacy a possible success. One is the Democrats’ demonstrated cowardice and political ineptitude, which almost guarantees that if things go on as they are now, they will succeed in snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. They pretty much did that in 2004, as Kerry had for much of the campaign a commanding lead that he quickly dissipated in a series of displays of embarrassing opportunism and indecision. And then there’s the second and much uglier but nonetheless real possibility: that in the next 18 months America may be attacked again, either by Al-Qaeda, or by the US government itself in the most cynical false flag operation since the end of World War 2.
It is necessary to ask therefore, if Al Queda carries out another terror attack on American soil, who will the average American voters elect to “protect them?” The likes of Hilary Clinton or Barak Obama, who keep showing that they can’t take a firm stance against our criminally bellicose foreign policy, or New York’s “9-11 superhero”? I think the answer here should be obvious to anyone who knows how the public at large will respond, especially when properly primed by the corporate media. Many of us on the Left are not giving this variable the focus it truly deserves, and it should not be overlooked.
Unfortunately, many Americans still affix all the blame for the disasters we have experienced over the last seven years on the Bush administration. They have not yet realized that it is a class issue rather than just an issue of who happens to occupy the White House board of directors at any given time. Class is the most important issue to focus upon here, not just the current political regime. The public must learn that nearly all the apples in the barrel of the ruling elite of this nation are rotten to their very core, and that, as Chomsky suggests, if there’s a difference between the parties, it is entirely unintended and a product of the melancholy fact that with a superpower as huge as the United States, even slight differences can have enormous consequences.