Shallow Throat to Dems: One Chance, Don't Blow It
Shallow Throat to Dems: "One Chance, Don't Blow It"
By Bernard Weiner
The Crisis Papers
I'd been trying to reach "Shallow Throat" for several months, but had never received a response. "I apologize, Bernie, for not answering your coded messages," said ST, as we sat opposite each other in a dimly-lit Virginia tavern, "because you wouldn't believe how scary it is to be inside the Bush Administration these days.
"For the first time in three years, they really are aware that their whole deck of cards could come tumbling down around their ears -- and not just in November at the ballot box -- and so they're getting even more desperate and vicious."
The high-ranking GOP mole -- formerly inside the White House and now in another government agency -- had talked with me numerous times over the past year and a half.* To be sure, there was apprehension expressed on those occasions, about the possibility of Bush operatives seeing us in conversation, but nothing like this fright.
"So why are you taking chances now by meeting me?" I asked.
"Because the seeds of self-destruction finally are sprouting in the Bush Administration," ST said, "and I don't want you and your liberal friends to blow it and give these guys the opportunity to hang on to power.
"If that happens, we're all in deep, deep trouble -- continued imperialism abroad, more militarist police-state actions at home, further shredding of the Constitution, larger federal deficits and their debilitating effects on the economy, millions out of work despairing of finding decent jobs, fatal weakening of Medicare and Social Security, the whole ball of wax.
"But if you and your friends play it right -- and you're finally starting to do so -- you can take these guys down via united activism on key issues like pre-9/11 knowledge, Cheney's secret energy policy, the lies that got us into Iraq, Rumsfeld's Office of Special Plans, Bush's AWOL period, the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame, and so on -- and through the election in November.
"Get Mr. Halliburton first -- Cheney's even more vulnerable than the Bush Boy -- and then keep going. You can get these guys. Even with the dirty tricks that are being readied as we speak."
"What tricks?" I asked, as I took in ST's impressive new wig and dark glasses.
"Anything you can conceive of, the Rove boys are working on. Not just the smears and lies regarding Dem candidates -- the electorate has come to expect that, to a certain extent, although the Bushistas carry that stuff to new levels of dirty politics -- but the bigger manipulations. Like the way computer-voting programs can be tampered with to change election results with nobody being the wiser. (Take another look at Georgia and Max Cleland's "defeat" in the 2002 election.) Like in key states removing thousands of folks from the voting rolls deliberately and 'by accident.' (For the worst example, see how the Bush campaign, under Gov. Jeb Bush, arranged it in Florida in 2000.)
"Like almost inviting another huge al-Qaida attack inside the U.S. sometime before the election. Like being able to pull the rabbit Osama bin Laden out of a magic hat to demonstrate how 'successful' our war on terror is going. Didn't do much good when Saddam was taken in Iraq, and Osama's death or capture won't change much on the terrorism ground either -- but Bush will be able to brag about his anti-terorrist 'leadership,' hoping we'll forget that his policies have created more terrorists than the U.S. has eliminated."
WHO'S MORE FRIGHTENED OF WHOM?
"But," I countered, "the U.S. populace (along with the world in general) has become much more cynical these days about anything Bush and his cohorts say, especially after all the WMD lies that got us into the Iraq war to begin with. Why would the Bush Administration risk getting caught out in more lies and deceptions and manipulations?"
"I told you," said Shallow Throat, looking around nervously. "Though some of the key players like Rumsfeld, Cheney and Perle think their in-your-face arrogance and the compliant mass-media will see them through, the more political operatives like Rove and Gillespie see the electoral handwriting on the wall -- Bush is defeated in poll after poll by any unnamed Democrat, and in head-to-head polls now against Kerry -- and they'll risk anything to stay in power. And I mean anything. (They may be dumb but they ain't stupid: many top Bush officials are fully cognizant of the possibility of being brought before criminal courts when they leave office.)
"The Bushistas know how to play the ongoing 9/11 and WMD 'investigations,' by appointing a number of puffballs to the commissions, circumscribing what they can look for, and then delaying and withholding information, trying to postpone the final reports until after election day. If your Democrat friends had any smarts, and balls, they would establish their own truly independent, blue-ribbon commission on the WMD lies, for example.)
"Bush's first three years involved laying the foundations for full implementation of their agenda in a second term; they don't want to lose the chance to execute the rest of the plan, because they know they might not get back into the White House for quite awhile. Their whole momentum will be shot to hell."
"You mean," I asked, "that they're that frightened of John Kerry, or whoever might emerge if he falters or gets taken down?"
"You bet your patooties they're scared. Their arrogance and bullying and brazen lying -- and the thoroughgoing incompetency with which they've operated, domestically and abroad -- have made innumerable enemies in the GOP and re-energized the Democrat party. Rank-and-file Dems are even willing to vote for someone they don't particularly care for, just to break the back of the Bush neo-con juggernaut and return the country to a more sane, rational course.
"But while the Bush folks are afraid of the Dem candidate, whoever it turns out to be -- and, since they're especially vulnerable on AWOL and Iraq policies, they're most worried about Kerry and Clark -- they're almost more concerned about the defections popping up in conservative and moderate Republican ranks. These good, traditional Republicans might not be able to vote for a Democrat in November, but they might well choose to stay home on election day."
LEAKAGE IN THE RED STATES
"You really see major weakness in Bush's usual base of support, especially in the Red states, that he carried last time?" I asked.
"It's not what I see that matters," ST replied. "It's what the Bush folks are hearing from all around the country. Sure, they can count on their fundamentalist base -- and they'll throw occasional hunks of red meat their way on abortion, gay marriage, gun-control and rightwing judges -- but the usual Republican coalition is no longer solid and impregnable.
"The black-helicopter crowd is terrified with the precedents being set by the Patriot Act as interpreted by John Ashcroft. The small-government and Libertarian types are appalled at the massive intrusion into citizens' private lives, and the huge bureaucracy that accompanies such police-state tactics. The balanced-budgeters can't believe how Bush is endangering the entire economy with his reckless spending and the enormous deficits being racked up that our kids and grandkids will have to pay for somehow. The isolationist wing of the GOP is horrified by the eagerness with which Bush and his neo-con buddies are willing to send out the military to invade and bomb one country after another, with more to come.
"In short, there are enough dissatisfied, frustrated Republicans out there who, even at this early date, are vowing not to vote for Bush in November. Even with the dirty tricks and Roveian 'surprises' that are sure to come, Bush could lose. That's why they were desperate enough to send Bush onto 'Meet the Press' last Sunday, to try to tamp down a lot of the hot spots. Unfortunately, Bush's awkward, stay-on-message spinning just revealed how defensive and vulnerable he is on key issues, and how unprepared he is for the election debates that will be coming up in the Fall."
"Debates against whom?" I asked.
"Any of the Dems still in the race could verbally wrestle Bush to the mat. Dean could whupp him up one side and down the other, but probably won't get the chance. Edwards and Clark may be a bit green when it comes to no-holds-barred political debating, but they could tie Bush in knots as well. Kerry could take him easily, but let's hope he develops a more lively, passionate persona -- which he probably could do with gusto if he confronts Bush on his war-lies and his AWOL status, with facts to back up the attack."
THE IDEAL TICKETS
"As long as you brought up the candidates, are you willing to suggest the strongest ticket the Dems could put up?"
"Sure," said Shallow Throat, "for whatever it's worth, I'll have a go.
"Assuming that Kerry is the top dog -- and that the Massachusetts senator can finesse his way around the gay-marriage decision of the Massachusetts Supreme Court -- I think there are any number of combinations that could work. Kerry/Clark or Kerry/Edwards would be mighty strong; so would Kerry/Graham -- all three of those guys are Southerners -- or maybe even Kerry/Dean or Kerry/Gephardt. I just wish our party had a strong group running for the nomination, instead of just the Bush Boy. But, if he's smart, Rove will dump Cheney as a tainted liability -- excused for 'health reasons' -- and go to Rudi Giuliani or Condi Rice."
"And if the GOP goes into the election campaign with either of those combos, do you still think the Democrat could win?"
"I do indeed. Mainly because they have a secret weapon within the GOP itself...George W. Bush. The Democrat party can count on Bush -- and his mean-spirited, greedy, power-hungry, incompetent courtiers -- to provide all the ammunition the Dems need. Go get him."
- Bernard Weiner, Ph.D., a former writer/editor with the San Francisco Chronicle, co-edits the progressive website The Crisis Papers ( www.crisispapers.org). *For earlier conversations with the character Shallow Throat, go to http://www.crisispapers.org/weinerpubs.htm