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Bush & Co.: Desperate Desperados


By Bernard Weiner
Co-Editor, The Crisis Papers


August 15, 2006


Let's go behind the news and try to figure out what the Bushevik reactions to Lamont's victory and the liquid-bomb terror plot tell us about the current political situation in the U.S.

From where I sit, those reactions by Administration officials and their mass-media lapdogs make Bush&Co. look positively desperate, as if they are beginning, at last, to appreciate that they could lose big in November. They're firing the huge guns now in hopes of frightening away their enemies -- and making themselves feel less scared as well.

By suggesting that Ned Lamont and those who voted for him are somehow in the same league with al-Qaida -- as Cheney and Lieberman and Mehlman and others did -- clearly indicates that they're frightened enough to pull out all the stops, legit or not, no distinctions made. Karl Rove at his most Rovian.

Many of those who voted against Lieberman in Connecticut were moderates, some of whom even supported Bush in previous elections. A national poll the other day showed that nearly one in five of those who voted for Bush in 2004 now say they'll vote for a Democrat in November.

Nearly two-thirds of the American public now believes that the Bush Administration made a big mistake by invading and occupying Iraq. Those are the people who voted for Lamont. In effect, Bush and his fellow desperados are telling the majority of the American people that voting for an anti-war, pro-democracy candidate is akin to supporting terrorists.


HIGHLIGHT THEIR WORDS

If the Democrats possess any wisdom and cajones, they will leap on the fact that the Bush Administration thinks most Americans are treasonous, aiding and abetting the enemy. Let the GOP pay for that gross political miscalculation, with no letup. The Busheviks charge that anyone who disagrees with them is a witting or unwitting traitor. Let's see how the American people will like biting that big one.

MoveOn and the DNC should take those words from Cheney and Lieberman and Limbaugh and O'Reilly and the others and play them back in TV spots from now until November.

As for what Lieberman is really up to, if I were a gambler I'd place a small wager that Joe is a made man. He might well have been promised a Cabinet post or major judicial or diplomatic appointment by Rove and Bush as long as he stays in the race; reportedly, Rove said "the boss," meaning Bush, will do everything he can to make Lieberman's independent campaign a winning one. Of course, Lieberman also has been humiliated and wants his revenge so badly that he's willing to take down Lamont and the party and the country with him. Nice guy, Sore Loserman.

Lieberman has been carrying Bush&Co.'s water for years, and on many more issues than just the war. But it's the war that Rove and Cheney and Mehlman are focusing on. Why? The Republicans have little positive to run on, since virtually every thing they touch turns into either a disaster or a catastrophe -- and they've got that 800-lb. Iraqi negative that stands out just a tad to American voters. (As I write this, Bush, with a 33% approval rating, remains trapped with little more than the support of his fundamentalist base.)


ROVE'S NON-STOP BARRAGE

That Iraq negative has to be flipped into something positive. Despite the fact that there is no evidence that Bush&Co. have made Americans any more safe under their tenure (more likely, we're less safe), more citizens give higher marks to the Republicans on the terrorism issue than they do on the Iraq issue, where Democrats get the nod. Ergo, Iraq has to be folded into the war-on-terror, even though there were precious few, if any, terrorists in secular Iraq prior to the U.S. invasion and occupation, and most of the ones there now come from the home-grown resistance.

So, from now until Election Day, it's going to be a non-stop barrage of "stop-'em-in-Baghdad-rather-than-in-America," as if that makes any sense whatsoever. The framing set-up: The terrorists who hit us on 9/11 and who wanted to hit us again five years later with their liquid-bombs on airplanes are part of the same army of "Islamic fascists" that we're battling in Iraq. That's it. That's the sole message.

Doesn't matter that it's not true, that nationalist insurgencies have lives and motivations all their own. The GOP will keep on pounding and pounding that message home, along with "stay the course." Their hope is that yet again they can bamboozle just enough former-Bush voters to stick with the Republicans. Then they will claim yet another victory, aided as usual by Rove's patented dirty tricks and likely felonious fraud at the polling machines. That's why it's absolutely vital that all those who value electoral integrity take their election officials to court, if necessary, to get a fair and honest vote count in November.



A RUSHED ANNOUNCEMENT

Now we come to the U.K. terror plot. We don't know all the facts yet, but this alleged conspiracy seems to be genuine, possibly the "Big One" that has been expected since 2001. It's possible that the attack on the 10 or so airlines could have been activated relatively quickly -- perhaps to take place in a few weeks, on September 11.

The Brits, using solid police work and counter-terrorism intel -- as opposed to the Bush method of bombing and torture -- reportedly had these alleged terrorists under surveillance for more than a year.

How did it happen that they waited to pounce, and announce, one day after Lamont's breakthrough victory in Connecticut revealed for all to see that maybe the emperor didn't have any clothes on at all? It's too fishy by half, especially because the plot apparently was not operational yet.

Blair and Bush were in communication on this plot for days, perhaps much longer, before the arrests were announced. In other words, Bush and thus the GOP leadership had been given a heads-up by the Brits, which allowed them time to prepare their public position. On the day before the London announcement, Cheney (who rarely talks to the press) had a rare teleconference with select reporters to lay the foundations for the GOP spin that will be the party's main strategy in the run-up to November: be afraid, our muscular policies will protect you, stay with us. Ken Mehlman, the GOP chief, made similar comments, along with various rightwing pundits and columnists.

The whole operation has got Karl Rove written all over it: an onslaught of carefully rolled-out denunciations of Democrats who they can suggest are allied with "Islamic fascists" because they don't support the President and his war-on-terrorism policies. ("You're either with us or with the terrorists," remember that one?)

NBC News has reported that British police and intelligence officials felt rushed by Bush Administration insistence on making the arrests sooner than they wanted to. Since those under surveillance had not yet purchased airline tickets, and some hadn't even obtained their passports, the police and counter-terrorism honchos wanted more opportunity to gather evidence and track down possible contacts with other unknown conspirators.

But the Bush Administration -- ostensibly worried about a possible "dry run," they claimed -- leaned on Blair to move immediately. And, wouldn't you know it, the result was that the news cycle for days afterward was dominated by liquid-bombs 24/7, while the disaster that is happening in Iraq and Lebanon, the behind-the-scenes planning for an attack on Iran, and Lieberman's momentous defeat in Connecticut virtually disappeared from the news.


IRAQ CONFLATED WITH G.W.O.T.

The Bush Administration invented a non-existent Iraq/terror connection to manipulate the Congress and American public in the rollup to the war in 2003 -- that Saddam Hussein was somehow tied in to the mass murders of 9/11. They are still doing it by conflating the war in Iraq with the "global war on terror." (Lest we forget, there were no terrorists to speak of in Iraq until the U.S. bombed and occupied that unfortunate country; Saddam's one major pro-terrorist sin, so far as I can determine, was to give $25K to Palestinian families whose children blew themselves up in Israel, an action that certainly was not a threat by Iraq to invade its neighbors, and certainly was in no way a threat to the U.S.)

When 9/11 happened, Condoleezza Rice described the 3000 deaths as an "opportunity" for the Administration to mobilize its forces to push its domestic and foreign agenda. Rice also views the destruction in Lebanon not as a tragedy but as an "opportunity" to shape a new Middle East order; it's just "birth pangs," she said. Now, the London plot provides the Busheviks with yet another "opportunity" to try to hang the "soft-on-terrorism" albatross around the necks of the Democrats, to keep them from taking back the House in November.

A White House official, who spoke on condition of not being named, was quoted about the liquid-bomb plot by Agence France Press: "Weeks before September 11th, this is going to play big," said the official, adding that some Democratic candidates won't "look as appealing" under the circumstances.



IT'S BARE-KNUCKLES TIME FOR DEMS

So how should the Democrats respond? And respond they must, or risk being "framed," in all uses of that term, as "weak on national security," or, worse yet, as apologists and aiders & abetters of terrorists, in short as traitors to America.

This is political hardball, and the Dems had better get their heavy hitters out there swinging away at the Republicans' desperate tactics. No whining, no complaining how unfair Cheney and the rest of the gang are. Just hit back hard, using the Busheviks' own words to demonstrate how the Bush Administration is harming our national security by flailing around the world in reckless military adventures (incompetently carried out as well) and by not doing what needs to be done to beef up security around our ports (most containers go unexamined), airlines (freight still mostly unscreened), nuclear power facilities and chemical plants.

Believe it or not, the Bush Administration even took $6,000,000 away from new bomb-detection programs!

It's time for Democrats, progressives, Independents, Libertarians, moderate Republicans and others to unite openly to defeat this Republican crew in November. This may be the last good chance we get to take them down -- before they take us all down with them.
 

Copyright 2006, by Bernard Weiner
 


Bernard Weiner, Ph.D. in government & international relations, has taught at universities in Washington and California, worked as a writer/editor with the San Francisco Chronicle, and currently co-edits The Crisis Papers (www.crisispapers.org). To comment: >> crisispapers@comcast.net <<


Crisis Papers editors, Partridge & Weiner, are available for public speaking appearances