Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! CounterPunch is entirely supported by our readers. Your donations pay for our small staff, tiny office, writers, designers, techies, bandwidth and servers. We don’t owe anything to advertisers, foundations, one-percenters or political parties. You are our only safety net. Please make a tax-deductible donation today.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

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.

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

Weekend Edition
September 30, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Henry Giroux
Thinking Dangerously in the Age of Normalized Ignorance
Stanley L. Cohen
Israel and Academic Freedom: a Closed Book
Paul Craig Roberts – Michael Hudson
Can Russia Learn From Brazil’s Fate? 
Andrew Levine
A Putrid Election: the Horserace as Farce
Mike Whitney
The Biggest Heist in Human History
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Sick Blue Line
Rob Urie
The Twilight of the Leisure Class
Vijay Prashad
In a Hall of Mirrors: Fear and Dislike at the Polls
Alexander Cockburn
The Man Who Built Clinton World
John Wight
Who Will Save Us From America?
Pepe Escobar
Afghanistan; It’s the Heroin, Stupid
W. T. Whitney
When Women’s Lives Don’t Matter
Julian Vigo
“Ooops, I Did It Again”: How the BBC Funnels Stories for Financial Gain
Howard Lisnoff
What was Missing From The Nation’s Interview with Bernie Sanders
Jeremy Brecher
Dakota Access Pipeline and the Future of American Labor
Binoy Kampmark
Pictures Left Incomplete: MH17 and the Joint Investigation Team
Andrew Kahn
Nader Gave Us Bush? Hillary Could Give Us Trump
Steve Horn
Obama Weakens Endangered Species Act
Dave Lindorff
US Propaganda Campaign to Demonize Russia in Full Gear over One-Sided Dutch/Aussie Report on Flight 17 Downing
John W. Whitehead
Uncomfortable Truths You Won’t Hear From the Presidential Candidates
Ramzy Baroud
Shimon Peres: Israel’s Nuclear Man
Brandon Jordan
The Battle for Mercosur
Murray Dobbin
A Globalization Wake-Up Call
Jesse Ventura
Corrupted Science: the DEA and Marijuana
Richard W. Behan
Installing a President by Force: Hillary Clinton and Our Moribund Democracy
Andrew Stewart
The Democratic Plot to Privatize Social Security
Daniel Borgstrom
On the Streets of Oakland, Expressing Solidarity with Charlotte
Marjorie Cohn
President Obama: ‘Patron’ of the Israeli Occupation
Norman Pollack
The “Self-Hating” Jew: A Critique
David Rosen
The Living Body & the Ecological Crisis
Joseph Natoli
Thoughtcrimes and Stupidspeak: Our Assault Against Words
Ron Jacobs
A Cycle of Death Underscored by Greed and a Lust for Power
Uri Avnery
Abu Mazen’s Balance Sheet
Kim Nicolini
Long Drive Home
Louisa Willcox
Tribes Make History with Signing of Grizzly Bear Treaty
Art Martin
The Matrix Around the Next Bend: Facebook, Augmented Reality and the Podification of the Populace
Andre Vltchek
Failures of the Western Left
Ishmael Reed
Millennialism or Extinctionism?
Frances Madeson
Why It’s Time to Create a Cabinet-Level Dept. of Native Affairs
Laura Finley
Presidential Debate Recommendations
José Negroni
Mass Firings on Broadway Lead Singers to Push Back
Leticia Cortez
Entering the Historical Dissonance Surrounding Desafinados
Robert J. Burrowes
Gandhi: ‘My Life is My Message’
Charles R. Larson
Queen Lear? Deborah Levy’s “Hot Milk”
David Yearsley
Bring on the Nibelungen: If Wagner Scored the Debates
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail
[i]
[i]
[i]
[i]