Someone Else for President

by DAVID VEST

 

2004 is still a few months away, but it promises to be a doozy. Already a good friend of mine has taped a home-made bumper sticker to her pickup truck: “Someone else for president,” it says.

Well, yes. Helen Thomas and others have already called Bush “the worst president we’ve ever had,” and there’s a growing sentiment that anyone, anyone at all, even someone randomly selected from a blind lottery, would be an improvement.

It’s a feeling that’s easy to share. It’s probably good for the country. But it could also be dangerous.

Unfortunately, the next president isn’t going to be selected randomly. Number 44 is going to be picked the same way Bush was picked, by people looking for “someone who can win.”

Exactly how we got into this mess in the first place.

When professional politicians and their corporate masters sniff the wind and determine that it’s time to throw Bush overboard with the bilge, they’re not going to say, “Who’s qualified?” And certainly not “Who’ll stand up to us?”

They’re going to need someone who knows his or her place. A new personality who won’t shake up the system too much.

That’s what they’ll be looking for: the same thing we’ve got now, but without the “negatives.” Someone who would do the same things Bush is doing, but do them “better.”

If I’m right, they won’t have far to look.

On one hand, we have the Democrats, a party that has drifted so far to the right that it regards Howard Dean, a mainstream conservative who supports the death penalty and opposes gun control, as a left-winger.

The corporate media have been debating who Dr. Dean is for months now. At first they thought he was Martin Sheen from The West Wing (governor from a New England State, a professional, short guy, etc.). Only when he raised big money and took the lead in both Iowa and New Hampshire polls did he turn into McGovern. Having seized momentum, Dean began moving aggressively rightward (or “toward the Center,” to use the prevailing euphemism) and suddenly he was no longer McGovern, he was the new McCain, a real “straight-shooter” whose only problem was that he liked to start shooting before even shaking hands.

The comparisons are instructive. Nixon, of course, beat McGovern like a staked goat. Bush murdered McCain’s good name along with his candidacy in South Carolina.

To the real Left, Dean resembles neither McGovern nor McCain. He looks more like the New Bush (fiesty, combative former governor, tends to speak before thinking, signed Civil Unions bill to show his compassionate conservatism, etc.).

And look how the party treats candidates who actually want to bring our troops home from Iraq right now. It can’t wait for them to drop out and leave the debate stage to candidates who “have a chance,” the ones who either voted for the war or think we just didn’t do it right — we didn’t “build a coalition.” (The tendency of some of these candidates to position themselves as the new George Bush the First would be alarming if it weren’t so predictable.)

Preferring a new Clinton to a new Bush One, the Dems may wind up with Wesley Clark, famous rejected Republican, who “thinks” he recalls voting for Nixon. If Clark wins the White House, will Karl Rove return his phone calls then? This assumes Rove will even be able to get phone service in a Clark administration.

What would be Clark’s campaign slogan as the Democratic nominee? “Elect a real Republican”?

Which brings us to the other hand, where we find not so much the Republicans as just George W. Bush and a big wad of money and a lot of real quiet people. They know Bush lied to them, they know we’re in trouble in Iraq, they know the economy’s going down the tubes, but what the hey, they got a tax cut, didn’t they?

Never mind who’s a new McGovern or a new Eisenhower. The more telling fact is that (given the president’s nose-dive in the polls) there is no one in the Republican party willing to be called a Eugene McCarthy. Money talks, yes, but it also silences.

Funny how both “hands” of this analogy are right hands.

The idea of Ralph Nader entering the primaries as a Republican looks better every day. Why not, if Clark’s a Democrat?

Thank God we have California to entertain us until the presidential primaries are underway.

“We have people from every planet on the earth in this state,” says embattled governor Gray Davis.

“I think that gay marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman,” replies Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Schwarzenegger is the embodiment of “someone else for governor.” Hell, so is the entire list of 135 candidates. And to think, this is what we want to bring to Iraq.

Republicans voted for “someone who can win” and wound up under fire in Tikrit. Never mind that Bush didn’t actually “win.” Now it’s the Democrats’ turn to find “someone who can win.” Where will that lead? North Korea? Iran? Some other country that would be glad to have “somebody else for dictator”?

You don’t like to see American troops used for target practice in Baghdad? Wait until you see them standing between Israeli tanks and Palestinian suicide bombers.

Someone else for president? You bet, but not if it means “I don’t care who.” Let the bookies pick winners. Let the people pick a president.

DAVID VEST writes the Rebel Angel column for CounterPunch. He and his band, The Willing Victims, just released a scorching new CD, Way Down Here.

He can be reached at: davidvest@springmail.com

Visit his website at http://www.rebelangel.com

 

 

DAVID VEST writes the Rebel Angel column for CounterPunch. He and his band, The Willing Victims, have just released a scorching new CD, Serve Me Right to Shuffle. His essay on Tammy Wynette is featured in CounterPunch’s new collection on art, music and sex, Serpents in the Garden.

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
Weekend Edition
September 4-6, 2015
Vijay Prashad
Regime Change Refugees: On the Shores of Europe
Lawrence Ware
No Refuge: the Specter of White Supremacy Still Haunts Black America
Paul Street
Bi-Polar Disorder: Obama’s Bait-and-Switch Environmental Politics
Kali Akuno
Until We Win: Black Labor and Liberation in the Disposable Era
Arun Gupta
Field Notes to Life During the Apocalypse
Steve Hendricks
Come Again? Second Thoughts on My Ashley Madison Affair
Paul Craig Roberts
Whither the Economy?
Ron Jacobs
Bernie Sanders’ Vision: As Myopic as Every Other Candidate or Not?
Rob Urie
Capitalism and Crisis
Jeffrey St. Clair
Arkansas Bloodsuckers: the Clintons, Prisoners and the Blood Trade
Richard W. Behan
Republican Fail, Advantage Sanders: the Indefensible Budget for Defense
Ted Rall
Call It By Its Name: Censorship
Susan Babbitt
“Swarms” Entering the UK? What We Can Still Learn About the Migrant Crisis From Che Guevara
Andrew Levine
Compassionate Conservatism: a Reconsideration and an Appreciation
John Wight
Adrift Without Sanctuary: a Sick and Twisted Morality
Binoy Kampmark
Sieges in an Age of Austerity: Monitoring Julian Assange
Colin Todhunter
Europe’s Refugee Crisis and the Depraved Morality of David Cameron
JP Sottile
Chinese Military Parade Freak-Out
Kathleen Wallace
The Child Has a Name, They All Do
David Rosen
Why So Few Riots?
Norm Kent
The Rent Boy Raid: Homeland Security Should Monitor Our Borders Not Our Bedrooms
Michael Welton
Canada’s Arrogant Autocrat: the Rogue Politics of Stephen Harper
Ramzy Baroud
Palestine’s Crisis of Leadership: Did Abbas Destroy Palestinian Democracy?
Jim Connolly
Sniping at the Sandernistas: Left Perfectionism in the Belly of the Beast
Pepe Escobar
Say Hello to China’s New Toys
Sylvia C. Frain
Tiny Guam, Huge US Marine Base Expansions
Pete Dolack
Turning National Parks into Corporate Profit Centers
Ann Garrison
Africa’s Problem From Hell: Samantha Power
Dan Glazebrook
British Home Secretary Theresa May: Savior or Slaughterer of Black People?
Christopher Brauchli
Poor, Poor, Pitiful Citigroup
Norman Pollack
Paradigm of a Fascist Mindset: Nicholas Burns on Iran
Barry Lando
Standing at the Bar of History: Could the i-Phone Really Have Prevented the Holocaust?
Linn Washington Jr.
Critics of BlackLivesMatter# Practice Defiant Denial
Roger Annis
Canada’s Web of Lies Over Syrian Refugee Crisis
Chris Zinda
Constitutional Crisis in the Heart of Dixie
Rannie Amiri
Everything Stinks: Beirut Protests and Garbage Politics
Graham Peebles
Criminalizing Refugees
Missy Comley Beattie
In Order To Breathe
James McEnteer
Blast From the Past in Buenos Aires
Patrick Higgins
A Response to the “Cruise Missile Left”
Tom H. Hastings
Too Broke to Pay Attention
Edward Leer
Love, Betrayal, and Donuts
Louis Proyect
Migrating Through Hell: Quemada-Diez’s “La Jaula de Oro”
Charles R. Larson
Class and Colonialism in British Cairo
David Yearsley
Michael Sarin: Drumming Like Summer Fireworks Over a Choppy Lake