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It’s been but a week since Ralph Nader declared his candidacy for president. However, four years’ worth of fear-based venom has been unleashed under the empty rubric of "Anybody but Bush" (ABB). And, the election is still nine months away. Children will be conceived and born before we have a declared Caesar in this fall’s Skull and Bonesman selection.
Aside from the mindlessness of declaring one’s vote so far in advance and the ludicrous projections of "egomaniac" hurled at Nader by some decidedly self-promotional egoists, we’ve already had eight years experience of ABB – William Jefferson Clinton. And, how did that work out for progressives?
ABB the First
We all know the drill: NAFTA, GATT; resumption of Ancient Forest logging; free pass for toxic waste burners; Class War on poor, single moms which the then-ABB called "welfare reform;" huge ecologically critical areas of Alaska’s North Slope opened to oil drilling; failure to address the Kyoto Treaty; Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China; slavish devotion to the WTO; monumental abuse of campaign financing laws; complete failure in Middle East diplomacy; setting back (for decades?) the cause of universal health coverage; etc.
And, that’s not even addressing the criminal activities of the Clinton regime. Anybody but Bush the First stated upon election, "I will have the most ethical administration ever." Well, did he?
Not a chance. Under ABB I, we had the most convictions and guilty pleas of members of any administration ever; we had five Cabinet officials investigated for crimes, more than any other administration — even Reagan; dozens of witnesses fled the country in order to avoid testimony; dozens more pleaded the Fifth; more illegal campaign contributions than any administration ever with the most foreign illegal contributions, as well. Even up to the very end, the administration was debasing democracy with pardons sold to the highest bidder, often with Hugh Rodham, Sen. Clinton’s brother being the bag man — $400,000 to the Clinton Library from the pardoned Marc Rich’s ex-wife alone.
Yes, Clinton was correct when he breezily said, "Sex scandals won’t define my presidency." ABB I’s presidency will be defined by his complete gutting of the Democratic Party agenda and calculated abandonment of its traditional constituencies.
ABB the Second
And now, months before the first ballots are cast, fearful liberals are urging another ABB on us. And, just as Clinton was to the right of Nixon, top ABB II candidate, John Kerry, is to the right of Clinton, having consistently voted for "Free" Trade. Not a problem to James Hoffa’s Teamsters. Hoffa’s been crowing all week how Kerry has said "we’ll drill all over" Kerry, himself, had this to say about Hoffa’s spin on CNN: "I think he … I said exactly what my policy has been all my life. Which is I’m for the natural-gas pipeline. Absolutely. I voted for the natural-gas pipeline. I think it’s important to build it. And so do most Americans."
"I’m also for the drilling in the 95 percent of the Alaska oil shelf that’s up for leasing now," he added. In fact, President Clinton put out the biggest lease in American history in that part of the shelf. I’m not for drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge, and I haven’t changed, and I won’t change."
Unfortunately Kerry can and does change most positions at will. He’s been running against the Iraq War/Occupation, accusing the Bush Imperium of "misleading" the public. Well, look who was "misleading" in his Senate speech on October 9, 2002: "It is clear that in the 4 years since the UNSCOM inspectors were forced out, Saddam Hussein has continued his quest for weapons of mass destruction. According to intelligence, Iraq has chemical and biological weapons as well as missiles with ranges in excess of the 150 kilometer restriction imposed by the United Nations in the ceasefire resolution. Although Iraq’s chemical weapons capability was reduced during the UNSCOM inspections, Iraq has maintained its chemical weapons effort over the last 4 yearsa*|.Iraq has some lethal and incapacitating agents and is capable of quickly producing and weaponizing a variety of such agents, including anthrax, for delivery on a range of vehicles such as bombs, missiles, aerial sprayers, and covert operatives which could bring them to the United States homeland."
Much more on Kerry’s duplicity on just about every major issue will come out these next months. But, no matter; some folks already have made up their minds.
For all those "Don’t confuse me with the facts. I’ve already made up my mind" ABBies; consider what the first ABB administration brought with it: after having democrat control of both the Senate and house upon election in 1992, the Democrats lost 49 seats in the House and eight in the Senate during Clintontime. Democrats lost 11 governorships. The Republicans gained over 1300 state legislative seats and ten state legislatures went from majority Democrat to GOP control. Some 500 elected Democrats switched sides during Clintontime and even now elected Democrats like Sen. Zell Miller (D-GA) are publicly backing Bush.
Nader Shows the Way Out
Once again, Ralph Nader is a beacon of sanity amidst all this backpedaling from the once-left. Nader is the first candidate to go on national TV and bring up the most likely solution to all our fears — the "I" -word. Once Karl Rove unleashes the dogs and dips into that obscene war chest and Kerry and the ABBies plummet to well-deserved obscurity, Nader’s call for Impeachment will be the real end game.
ABBies and Democrats? They’re still pro-choice (aren’t they?) The election’s nine months off. It’s still the first trimester. Still time to quit fearfully flailing about misplacing anger on Nader — exercise that choice.
MICHAEL DONNELLY can be reached at Pahtoo@aol.com