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So things look bleak for the Republican mafia. Their war is tanking, their poll numbers are in the sewer, their allies are standing up to them, and their followers are scurrying away as fast as their tiny rat legs can take them.
- The Army Times, Navy Times, Air Force Times, and Marine Corps Times (military newsmagazines owned by Gannett) have all published a joint editorial calling for the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld
- the latest American Conservative magazine is denouncing Bush (and immigrants, natch), and all but telling its readers to vote Democrat.
- the latest Vanity Fair is quoting warhawk neo-cons (and Iraq war architects) Richard Perle and Kenneth Adelman pretty much saying “if we’d known how incompetently Bush would run this war, we never would have suggested it.”
- neocon and warhawk Michael Ledeen is not only saying that he is against the Iraq war, but that he actually opposed it all along*.
And most hilarious and revolting of all is the sleazy conservative pundits and bloggers who are now abruptly against the Iraq war, now that it’s the politically correct thing to do. Of course, they don’t ever criticize the idea of the war, just its execution. “Gosh darnit, dropping cluster bombs on Iraqi civilians and destroying their society was supposed to make the whole Middle East rise up against the Islamofascistians and build democracies and churches and Starbuckses. If only the president had shown more grit, if only we’d tortured more people and used more white phosphorous…”
We are also starting to see more visible splits in the Republican party. You’ve got the neocons (”invade everybody!”) vs. the realists (”we must build our empire wisely”), conservatives (”small government, traditional values!”) vs. the authoritarians (”tell us what to do, master!”), and now some of the fundamentalists (”Jesus 4 prez!”) seem disgusted with the whole party (partly because Republicans aren’t theocratic enough, partly because they feel duped, partly because they see the “immoral” behavior of their leaders, i.e. Ted Haggard**). Frankly, a lot of Republicans feel that their party is no longer Conservative. And they’re right, of course. Watergate whistleblower John Dean has a whole book on this subject out now, which argues pretty persuasively that the Republican party has ditched whatever political philosophy it used to have and is now solely about power and obedience.
It should also be noted, of course, that the new popularity of Democrats has nothing to do with people liking Democrats. The Democrats are as listless and uninspiring as ever. I have heard no new ideas out of them at all. I don’t even have any idea what Democrats would do if they won control of the Congress. Raise the minimum wage, I imagine. Then maybe… investigate somebody? Get vengeance on the party that’s stomped and humiliated them for years? Continue to feebly endorse the Bush agenda anyway?
Well, I do have some ideas what they’d do. More on that later…
We can’t count the Republicans out yet. There’s still plenty of time before the polls close for them to sleaze, lie, smear, and invade Iran.
- Greg Palast is all over the Republicans more recent electoral tricks, primarily using tricky rules to make sure that huge numbers of African-Americans and latinos have their voter registration challenged, or have their votes not counted.
At this point in time (8am Tuesday, 11/07), Greg Palast’s website has kinda… vanished. All blank pages. I don’t want to be paranoid, but…
- The Saddam Hussein trial wrapped up and his death sentence was announced conspicuously close to the election date.
- In Orange County, California, anonymous letters were sent out to thousands of latinos, implying that if they tried to vote, they could be arrested.
- In Virginia, people (Democrats? The article doesn’t say) are receiving automated phone calls claiming to be from the state election commission, telling them that they are legally registered in another state and that if they try to vote, they will be arrested. Virignians are also receiving calls from live people (mostly from phone numbers out of state) claiming to be with the local Democratic senator’s campaign, alerting them that their polling location has changed (when challenged by informed call recipients, the callers hang up). And flyers have been hung up in an African-American community in Virginia with signs saying “Skip This Election”.
- Talking Points Memo is all over a story about “robo-calls” in at least 20 Congressional districts that seem aimed at slandering Democrats and infuriating voters. The recording initially sounds like it would be from the Democrat, but is followed by a number of attacks on that candidate. And if you hang up on the call, you receive another call. And another. And so on. So it’s win-win for the Republicans: if you listen, you get a smear on the Democrat. If you hang up right away, you’ll think that the Democratic candidate is responsible for the repeated, harassing calls that will follow. Ads produced by Conquest Communications and paid for by the National Republican Congressional Committee. And it sounds like this ploy might be successfully pissing people off and turning them against the Democrats that they think keep calling.
Frankly, I think this was Karl Rove’s “October surprise”, a sneaky, last-minute effort to win elections in a widespread campaign to irritate voters into voting against Democrats. Sleazy, novel, probably illegal, but I doubt it will work the electoral magic he’d hoped. As one newspaper famously put it, “Rove is decidedly not a genius; he is simply missing the part of his soul that prevents the rest of us from kicking elderly women in the face.”
Greg Palast and the Daily Kos have tips on getting your vote counted and reporting electoral skullduggery.
So obviously, polls, predictions, no one knows how this is going to turn out. A Democratic win would be a couple steps back from insanity, but they’ve got their own ways of screwing us. If they win, I’ll make sure to remind y’all how.
* there is a grain of truth to this claim. While Ledeen certainly seemed to support the Iraq war, what he really wanted was an Iran war. But of course, Ledeen is obsessed with invading Iran. I don’t think we could invade Iran enough times to satiate his lust for it.
** I find nothing wrong with this pastor having a desire for gay sex, but I couldn’t stop laughing when he tried to deny the sex scandal allegations by saying the he’d only gone to the gay prostitute to “get a massage.”