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The splash page on ESPN.com said it all. "Almost time to sign off" from the Jocks to GIs program, a "support our troops" operation launched back when such were fashionable, shut down even as US soldiers find that an occupying soldier is very much like a sitting duck. Because to look at the news now, you wouldn’t think we were at war with a mortal enemy, searching for Weapons of Mass Destruction, or anything along those lines.
If I remember correctly, Annika Sorenstam was the big news this past week. Female golfer, inserted into the game for a cheap spike in "fan interest" and the synergy that provides those who market commodities like golf, golfing accessories, golf television, and the scrumptious Sorenstam herself. Mercedes-Benz was bullish on Annika as well; their logo covered her left breast in one press conference or another. Yes, exactly like a Scarlet Letter.
Annika is marked, after all, just as she is marketed. Branded like an animal raised to be slaughtered, she belongs to the corporations who raised her up as a designated Female Role Model. And those icons of the corporate media — the Fox News All Stars, the hardnosed NYSE shills at CNBC, and all those game show hosts that pass as "telejournalists" — all treated the "controversy" over her golfing as being a matter of some import.
Like Annika shooting bogeys does one solitary, damned thing for all the unwed mothers in America who bag groceries at Piggly-Wiggly, holding back head colds, wondering what devil cursed them with this thing the TV calls life. Annika Sorenstam doesn’t mean a thing to the average American woman. She’s a hype with a comely figure, pimped out by the corporate media as something to which "common folks" can relate. A golfer making millions of dollars a year, glossed-up to be the athletic version of Linda Lavin in seventies "feminist" TV movie "The $5.25 an Hour Dream."
She’s a nice piece of business, as men used to say about women. And she’s also a piece of fake news, the kind of thing dredged up by those fabulists who decide the "news agenda" to distract the American people from what’s really going on. Add to that the sudden de-emphasis in the media on the American cakewalk liberation in Iraq, and it’s hard for this writer not to wonder if moves are being made to dump Bush in 2004.
Not off of the Republican ticket, of course. Serious money is behind Bush, and serious money sees his administration as capable of maintaining a plausibly favorable economic climate in the short-term. But while Bush clearly is willing to print as much money as it takes to consolidate power in the Executive branch, it looks as if his tenure as a "wartime President" will be short-lived and is ending at a most inopportune time.
Bush would’ve been better off if he’d gotten a free ride off the war for another year. By then, the Democratic nomination process would be far enough underway that a spoiler candidate like Hillary Clinton could only emerge as the nominee at a brokered convention, presumably after having had to scrape and bow before the LaRouche and Sharpton delegations. As it is, with no candidate for the Democratic bid having any tangible grassroots support [or charisma, or consistency, or even a pulse in some cases], a spoiler candidate like Hillary Clinton is well-positioned to steal the thunder from Kerry, Dean, Gephardt, and the rest of the crew.
Hillary is a tough politician who survived eight years in a scandal-ridden White House to carpetbag her way into a New York Senate seat over future Attorney General Giuliani. Once in the seat, she quickly became the power Senator from her side of the aisle. Politicians as canny and cunning as Clinton don’t make such power moves if they don’t have serious backing.
Who but Hillary would’ve been brazen enough to hold up a tabloid proclaiming "9/11: Bush Knew" in front of cameras for the public record? Hillary, with her zealous advocacy for all things Homeland Security, has morphed into a most predictable monster: a Democrat the neo-cons can get behind.
Who was it that was fond of saying "we didn’t leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left us"? The strength of the neo-con position has always been their ability to switch parties whenever they can get a better deal. So it was that "Scoop Jackson Democrats" could morph into "Reagan Republicans". And so it is that the tactical support given the Administration by the Kristols and Bennetts of the world could be shifted without ceremony or warning into Camp Clinton. That is, if the demure Senator could be persuaded to run.
ANTHONY GANCARSKI is a regular columnist for CounterPunch. He can be reached at: Gancarski@Hotmail.com