FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Bush’s X-Files

From the X-files of political conspiracy theory, here’s a nasty thought: What if Bush and Karl Rove aren’t really expecting to win on Social Security?

What if this whole campaign and road show is a grand diversion designed to keep Democrats, and especially progressives and the labor movement, all worked up and focused on saving Social Security, while the White House and congressional Republicans (and their quizling Democratic supporters like Joe Lieberman) do major damage in myriad other areas.

Notice how little effective opposition there was in Congress, and especially out in the street and in communities, over the bankruptcy bill, over the latest round of $82 billion in funding for the War against Iraq, over the restrictions on class action lawsuits.

Look at how the voting integrity issue, the question of fraud in the 2004 election, and drilling in the Artic Refuge, have all died away.

Look at how little attention is being paid to the Congressional assault on liberal judges.

When you consider that this president is among the least popular chief executives to have won a second term in the history of the White House (if he indeed won at all), and that his party’s majority in both houses of Congress is thin, it’s nothing short of astonishing that he’s been having such an easy time of it, legislatively.

One might even argue that there’s method to the madness of putting rabid dogs like John Bolton up for a nothing job like UN ambassador–a post that has traditionally been the equivalent of being put out to pasture. Like the campaign against Social Security, it gets the more progressive Democrats all riled up, but ends up having them waste time and energy opposing something that, in the grand scheme of things, is really rather meaningless.

The Democrats, who at this point stand for nothing, are particularly vulnerable to such a strategy of diversion, because, with nothing to campaign or stand for, they are looking for sound-bite friendly issues to bluster on about, without having to really do anything of substance.

The administration has handed them several of these non-issue issues to play with already.

Viewed this way, there is really no downside for the White House. If the president loses on Social Security, he can just say he tried. If the Democrats ultimately beat back the idea of private accounts in place of the current system for younger workers, and a compromise is found that involves offering private accounts on top of Social Security, the president will claim that as a victory (and he’ll be correct).

As for Bolton, if his nomination is defeated with the help of one or two Republican votes, it will be a defeat for Bush but so what? The Democrats in Congress, being the wusses that they are, will not be emboldened by that victory to start blocking other more important appointments. More likely, they’ll figure that they’d better avoid looking like obstructionists, and will support the next batch of right-wing hacks and charlatans the White House puts up for federal posts.

Bolton could, in other words, be like the helmet on a stick that gets held up during a trench war, so that a platoon can make a charge while the enemy is concentrating its fire on the empty hat.

As long as the Democratic Party continues to play defense, and refuses to challenge the underlying pro-corporate, anti-worker, imperial agenda of the Bush administration, Bush and Rove will be able to keep Congressional Democrats, mainstream Democratic voters and even the left running around from issue to issue like ants disoriented after the rock covering their home has been lifted.

Meanwhile, while they scurry around ineffectively, the U.S. economy is being hollowed out, health insurance is being terminated by even large corporate employers, the environment is being destroyed, schools are being turned into test centers, the country is getting dragged ever deeper into an endless war, cities are falling back into decay, the Constitution is being trashed, and corporations and the rich are getting ever richer.

It’s all devilishly clever.

DAVE LINDORFF is the author of This Can’t Be Happening. He can be reached at: dlindorff@yahoo.com

More articles by:

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

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 Duggin
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
Nomi Prins 
The Inequality Gap on a Planet Growing More Extreme
John W. Whitehead
Know Your Rights or You Will Lose Them
David Swanson
The Abolition of War Requires New Thoughts, Words, and Actions
J.P. Linstroth
Primates Are Us
Bill Willers
The War Against Cash
Jonah Raskin
Doris Lessing: What’s There to Celebrate?
Ralph Nader
Are the New Congressional Progressives Real? Use These Yardsticks to Find Out
Binoy Kampmark
William Blum: Anti-Imperial Advocate
Medea Benjamin – Alice Slater
Green New Deal Advocates Should Address Militarism
John Feffer
Review: Season 2 of Trump Presidency
Rich Whitney
General Motors’ Factories Should Not Be Closed. They Should Be Turned Over to the Workers
Christopher Brauchli
Deported for Christmas
Kerri Kennedy
This Holiday Season, I’m Standing With Migrants
Mel Gurtov
Weaponizing Humanitarian Aid
Thomas Knapp
Lame Duck Shutdown Theater Time: Pride Goeth Before a Wall?
George Wuerthner
The Thrill Bike Threat to the Elkhorn Mountains
Nyla Ali Khan
A Woman’s Selfhood and Her Ability to Act in the Public Domain: Resilience of Nadia Murad
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
On the Killing of an Ash Tree
Graham Peebles
Britain’s Homeless Crisis
Louis Proyect
America: a Breeding Ground for Maladjustment
Steve Carlson
A Hell of a Time
Dan Corjescu
America and The Last Ship
Jeffrey St. Clair
Booked Up: the 25 Best Books of 2018
David Yearsley
Bikini by Rita, Voice by Anita
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail