Well, it’s like Patriot Day and Homeland Security Week rolled up into a big pasty ball of freedom. All of W’s war promos over the last few months have amounted to a big tease apparently, as the chorus line in Baghdad flashes its goodies yet again for the benefit of UN Inspectors. For a while, at least, the Neo-Cons can rest easy. Bill Bennett, who recently namedropped Christopher Hitchens in a positive manner, won’t have to talk on Fox News about three-front wars between slurps of coffee. Michael Ledeen can write yet another piece for National Review about how, since Iraq can now be put on the backburner, we need to invade Iran and bring the Terror War to the Mullahcracy. The aforementioned Hitchens can let his laptop go idle, the UN inspectors allowing him to take a break from giving props to Richard Perle in Slate magazine, as he did just this week.
And won’t that Homeland Security bill be a breeze to get behind now that the Iraqi decision to admit inspectors has been rendered, conveniently validating the Bush agenda and its so-called cowboy diplomacy. Peace in our time, one expects someone to say, as long as he ignores the bombs strafing the Basra airport every now and then. Peace in our time, one would say, if he ignored Putin’s offer to circumsize those snippy Chechens, if he ignored the markedly convenient reappearance of former US intelligence asset Osama bin Laden, or if he weren’t aware of the implications of the Bush “junta” [to borrow a phrase] declaring Open Season on Evildoers.
There are those who assume that none of this would have happened if Tom Daschle were still Majority Leader. These are usually the same cats who blame Ralph Nader for Gore losing in the finals of some Beauty Contest in 2000, judged by what conspiracy buffs like Sherman Skolnick and Pat Buchanan consider an unelected group of dictators in black robes and the occasional lace teddy underneath.
That black pubic hair on the rim of your coke can? It’s not just for breakfast anymore! 2003 promises to be a year of officially enforced “unity”, and God help you if you’re excluded from the circle of love. Witness US tele-mullahs Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell getting read out of polite society, yet again, by Bush as he gave his Islam Is Luv spiel to a certain Secretary-General just this afternoon. It’s interesting that these pledge drive prophets are touted as having so much stroke with the Republican establishment, given how clear it is that they have been mere pawns for the corporate agenda all along. They are allowed to cheerlead the US transformation of the Holy Land into the Death Star, but they are higher than Georgia pines if they expect the Bush team to make any moves toward implementing their “social agenda.”
Those who fret about the imminent end of reproductive choice can stop worrying, and come to the same realization Ralph Reed did some months back. The Christian Coalition and its adjuncts are officially done as a political force in our culture. They may score a school board seat here and there, but by and large they are bagged up and waiting by the curb in white plastic sacks. The infrastructure for US domination of the Middle East has been laid, and it’s not in the interest of establishment, internationalist Republicans to take stands on issues that “divide the American people.” No overwhelming mandate has been won solely with a pro-life position, and Bush’s comments today signal that the Republican party is ready to concede that point, embrace Poppy Bush’s pro-choice position of the 1970s, and jettison, once and for all, the burdensome weight of the Coalition’s cross.
The most interesting ramifications of the Republicans abandoning their “Christian conservative base” should play out in the upcoming months. As it becomes increasingly clear that the Republican party is willing to moderate its rhetoric, expect folks like Harold Ford to take advantage of that political cover and abandon the Democrats for the GOP. Meanwhile, the world waits for Vegas to set odds on Virginia “maverick” Nancy Spannaus capturing the 2004 Democratic Presidential nomination.
ANTHONY GANCARSKI writes frequently for CounterPunch. Reach him at Anthony.Gancarski@attbi.com.