FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Someone Else for President

 

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

 

 

More articles by:

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.

December 18, 2018
Charles Pierson
Where No Corn Has Grown Before: Better Living Through Climate Change?
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Waters of American Democracy
Patrick Cockburn
Will Anger in Washington Over the Murder of Khashoggi End the War in Yemen?
George Ochenski
Trump is on the Ropes, But the Pillage of Natural Resources Continues
Farzana Versey
Tribals, Missionaries and Hindutva
Robert Hunziker
Is COP24 One More Big Bust?
David Macaray
The Truth About Nursing Homes
Nino Pagliccia
Have the Russian Military Aircrafts in Venezuela Breached the Door to “America’s Backyard”?
Paul Edwards
Make America Grate Again
David Rosnick
The Impact of OPEC on Climate Change
Binoy Kampmark
The Kosovo Blunder: Moving Towards a Standing Army
Andrew Stewart
Shine a Light for Immigration Rights in Providence
December 17, 2018
Susan Abulhawa
Marc Lamont Hill’s Detractors are the True Anti-Semites
Jake Palmer
Viktor Orban, Trump and the Populist Battle Over Public Space
Martha Rosenberg
Big Pharma Fights Proposal to Keep It From Looting Medicare
David Rosen
December 17th: International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers
Binoy Kampmark
The Case that Dare Not Speak Its Name: the Conviction of Cardinal Pell
Dave Lindorff
Making Trump and Other Climate Criminals Pay
Bill Martin
Seeing Yellow
Julian Vigo
The World Google Controls and Surveillance Capitalism
ANIS SHIVANI
What is Neoliberalism?
James Haught
Evangelicals Vote, “Nones” Falter
Vacy Vlanza
The Australian Prime Minister’s Rapture for Jerusalem
Martin Billheimer
Late Year’s Hits for the Hanging Sock
Weekend Edition
December 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
A Tale of Two Cities
Peter Linebaugh
The Significance of The Common Wind
Bruce E. Levine
The Ketamine Chorus: NYT Trumpets New Anti-Suicide Drug
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fathers and Sons, Bushes and Bin Ladens
Kathy Deacon
Coffee, Social Stratification and the Retail Sector in a Small Maritime Village
Nick Pemberton
Praise For America’s Second Leading Intellectual
Robert Hunziker
The Yellow Vest Insurgency – What’s Next?
Patrick Cockburn
The Yemeni Dead: Six Times Higher Than Previously Reported
Nick Alexandrov
George H. W. Bush: Another Eulogy
Brian Cloughley
Principles and Morality Versus Cash and Profit? No Contest
Michael F. Duggan
Climate Change and the Limits of Reason
Victor Grossman
Sighs of Relief in Germany
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Robert Fantina
What Does Beto Have Against the Palestinians?
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Sartre, Said, Chomsky and the Meaning of the Public Intellectual
Andrew Glikson
Crimes Against the Earth
Robert Fisk
The Parasitic Relationship Between Power and the American Media
Stephen Cooper
When Will Journalism Grapple With the Ethics of Interviewing Mentally Ill Arrestees?
Jill Richardson
A War on Science, Morals and Law
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Evaggelos Vallianatos
It’s Not Easy Being Greek
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail