An "Overload of Crises"


George Bush claims he never reads the papers, so he may have missed.the headline in the Washington Post: “U.S. Faces Crises Overload.” The dispatches report new bloodshed in Iraq, Afghanistan. Haiti and Gaza just over the weekend. His staff is overwhelmed, shifting brigades, drafting constitutions and forcing the natives to agree to them, and trying to explain away bad news at home, about jobs and trade.

George is a fun-loving boy — played hookey and got passing grades even when he flunked the last election. Now he’s spending more money than ever seen before to buy him another hitch, yet his polls are going down.

He officially opened his campaign last week with a commercial that shocked many people, by its crude exploitation of 9-11 and the flag and the firemen and veterans, and old people and children and other victims of his policies.

His handlers scored a bullseye, though, by rapping on the flip-flops of John Kerry:

– for war and against it
– for Nafta and against it
– for tax cuts and against them
– for the Patriot Act and against it
-for the wall on the West Bank and against it
– for gay marriage and not quite
– and against the death penalty, except for terrorists, who according to the Bush administration include school teachers.

Kerry seems to flip at every stop on his trail, depending on who has his ear. And that carries a crucial message for progressives. They can’t steer him in a progressive direction by giving him a blank check. They must use their funds and their energy to fight for their own causes–the ones that bring people into the street, and to the polls.

A good road map would be the 21-points that Ralph Nader handed to the Democrats. There’s a party platform they could win on.

JOHN L. HESS is a former writer for the New York Times, a career he chronicles in his excellent new book My Times: a Memoir of Dissent. Hess is now a political commentator for WBAI.


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JOHN L. HESS is a former writer for the New York Times, a career he chronicles in his excellent new book My Times: a Memoir of Dissent. Hess is now a political commentator for WBAI.

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