November 18, 2002
Sluts R Us: Voters Get Jiggy with George
By Warren Pease
Gee. . . that was fun. Kick me again when you get the chance. Meanwhile, I'll have these swell bruises to remember November 5th by.
So what happened? How did Republicans manage to con their way into a solid thrashing of the Democratic Party? How did voters fail to notice a miserable economy and a foreign policy that can be summed up in nine words: "If you've got oil, we're going to take it." How did it escape voters that their sons and daughters may well die in some hostile foreign land so that BushCo. can reward its employers in the energy and armaments industries?
George Bush is a ridiculous dunderhead, an international embarrassment, a dangerous fool of the first magnitude. He is also, apparently, much loved by the American electorate. His incessant campaigning for Republican candidates is generally credited with giving a moribund GOP the shot in the arm it needed to retake the Senate and increase its hold on the House.
So much for those inflated poll numbers. So much for his support being a mile wide and an inch deep. So much for questions about Bushie's coat tails.
Tom Daschle and Dick Gephardt -- far from the strategic geniuses they've been labeled by desperate Democrats who can't quite believe their party is led by such soulless non-entities -- were revealed as useless fools. Their message -- "vote Democratic because we don't suck quite as bad as the GOP" -- somehow failed to resonate with the electorate. Good bye Tom; farewell Dick; and take Terry McAuliffe with you when you go.
We're told that Gephardt stepped down as House Minority Leader to clear his calendar for a 2004 run at the Democratic presidential nomination. Fortunately, that's why god created primaries.
Absent a nationwide network of AM radio stations and its own cable news network, the Democratic Party is light years behind the GOP. It's as if the Democrats were trying to get their "Bush lite" message out using a Gutenberg press.
Republicans, meanwhile, continue to use every modern means of communication to best advantage. Their databases are better; their get-out-the-vote drives are better; their natural constituency has the urgency of religious mania; and their campaign war chest is, as always, overflowing with the largesse of their pals in corporate America.
But as compelling as these reasons are, if you want to know why Dems got their hats handed to them on election day 2002, just look in the mirror.
We spend a great deal of time bitching about media whores, and their role in GOP victories of the last 20+ years can't be overstated. But last Tuesday we found out exactly who the real sluts are. We even know their price. It's the voters, and they'll roll for a measly $300 loan. That's what BushCo. used to buy their loyalty and it worked per script. And neither Rush Limbaugh, nor Bill O'Reilly, nor Sean Hannity, nor Chris Matthews, nor the rest of that herd of thundering right-wing imbeciles were present when individual voters pulled the levers or punched the cards.
There's really only one interpretation that makes much sense. The American electorate is so dangerously and inexcusably incompetent that it can't handle anything more subtle than a pay-per-view WWF extravaganza or more nuanced than a Super Bowl halftime show. The majority of those who bothered to go to the polls found much to like in George Bush's America -- a boob-ocracy envisioned by Mencken and defined by cheap slogans and obvious lies. Bush Inc. knows that if it won't fit on a bumper sticker or a T-shirt, it won't fit between most Americans' ears, so they keep it simple and easily repeatable.
Voters apparently found much to like about the ways in which Bush Inc. has manipulated Sept. 11, 2001 to suit its monocultural domestic agenda. They apparently found much to like about the GOP's message of unrestrained international meddling, constant paranoia and vicious class warfare. They apparently found much to like about the GOP's angry onslaught against sanity, common sense and the Constitution.
Thanks a lot, dummies, for all the poisonous policies that your massive ignorance has foisted on us, and on the rest of the world.
So what's the antidote? At the moment, there isn't one. Under Bush Inc., intelligence and perspective may become grounds for internment. Questioning authority may become as unfashionable -- or as dangerous -- as wondering aloud where all those eastbound boxcars were going in World War II Germany.
The best hope for the world would probably be to watch American armed forces get their collective asses kicked from sea to shining sea. That's how you deal with schoolyard bullies, and that's apparently how you deal with rogue states seeking to assert worldwide hegemony.
Hopefully, the Europeans will band together to become a counterweight against American imperialism. Hopefully, Saddam will put up a hell of a fight. Hopefully, Americans will lose their appetite for blood when a few thousand of their own sons and daughters come home wrapped in black plastic.
I'm truly sorry it's come to that -- that I have to actively root against my own country and its armed forces -- but this "Army of One" nonsense is masking the true job description of anyone in the military. Simply stated, the only real job of anyone in the military is "kill or be killed at the behest of the commander in chief." That's it, and "Being All You Can Be" isn't real high on the Pentagon's priority list at the moment.
War must have serious real-world consequences if it's to penetrate the thick skulls and wandering attention spans of average Americans. Body bags tend to do the job rather well.
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