NOTE: After I had completed a political post last night I accidentally deleted it - irretrievably. I didn't think then that I would try to reconstruct it, but the subject keeps knawing on me and it definitely couldn't be much more timely than it is this week, and perhaps specifically tonight.
(one way, or another, they're gonna get ya )
It's a very scary story, but it has two parts. The first has to be familiar to anyone who hasn't been living in a cave. It's the second part that surpasses anything you'll find outside in the Halloween darkness tonight. The story is briefly recounted in The New Yorker this week in a piece by Hendrik Hertzberg. Sadly we are already acquainted with the impressive litany of plagues which have visited us since Bush was selected President in 2000, but Hertzberg's prose is a frightening reminder:
That the record is appalling is by now beyond serious dispute. It includes an unending deficit - this year, its $260 billion - that has already added $1.5 trillion to the national debt; the subcontracting of environmental, energy, labor, and health-care policymaking to corporate interests; repeated efforts to suppress scientific truth; a set of economic and fiscal policies that have slowed growth, spurred inequality, replenished the ranks of the poor and uninsured, and exacerbated the insecurities of the middle class; and, on Capitol Hill, a festival of bribery, some prosecutable (such as the felonies that have put one prominent Republican member of Congress in prison, while another awaits sentencing), some not (such as the reported two-million-dollar salary conferred upon a Republican congressman who became the pharmaceutical industrys top lobbyist immediately after shepherding into law a bill forbidding the government to negotiate prices for prescription drugs).The fact that these horrors are finally recognized by an overwhelming majority of Americans, and just before midterm elections, should finally give us hope for emerging from the the dark and frightened society to which we have been reduced, but such a denouement is actually far from certain. Even if we could forget the role of dirty tricks, the continuing possibility of an October or November surprise, and the effect of an expected psychological, physical or electronic manipulation of the polls, we aren't out of the woods yet. Unfortunately we are struggling within a fundamentally undemocratic system and there's nothing we can do about it, no matter how many of us wish to throw out the fools and, indeed, the real goblins and demons.
In 2002 and 2004, the ruling party avoided retribution for offenses like these by exploiting the fear of terrorism. What is different this time is that the overwhelming failure of the Administrations Iraq gamble is now apparent to all. This war of choice has pointlessly drained American military strength, undermined what had originally appeared to be success in Afghanistan, handed the Iranian mullahs a strategic victory, immunized the North Korean regime from a forceful response to its nuclear defiance, and compromised American leadership of the democratic world.
In a normal democracy, given the state of public opinion and the record of the incumbent government, it would be taken for granted that come next Tuesday the ruling party would be turned out. But, for reasons that have less to do with the wizardry of Karl Rove than with the structural biases of Americas electoral machinery, Democrats enter every race carrying a bag of sand. The Senates fifty-five Republicans represent fewer Americans than do its forty-five Democrats. On the House side, Democratic candidates have won a higher proportion of the average district vote than Republicans in four of the five biennial elections since 1994, but - thanks to a combination of gerrymandering and demographics - Republicans remain in the majority.I'm not holding my breath.