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9/4/01


 

JUST ASKING

By David Podvin

It is August, 2004. The public opinion polls show that Democratic nominee John Kerry is ahead in the race for president as George W. Bush steps to the podium to accept the Republican nomination and says,

“In order to maintain the new atmosphere that I have created in Washington, I am canceling the presidential election. It is with great pride and humility that I accept the responsibility to be president for life.”

After the thunderous cheers of Republican delegates who celebrated the Miami-Dade ballot-shredding riot finally died down, what would happen?

Would the Supreme Court stop Bush? Is Sandra Day O’Connor all that now stands between the illusion of democracy and the reality of dictatorship? Is this the same Sandra Day O’Connor whom Al Gore was absolutely certain would never go along with the Bush election heist last year?

Would the Democrats stop Bush? Which Democrats? The ones who screamed bloody murder when he stole the last election? Does that mean that it would left to the Congressional Black Caucus to stop him?

Would the media stop Bush? The media that refuses to challenge his lies, report his corruption, or condemn his criminal behavior? Tim Russert? Cokie Roberts? Maybe Paul Gigot and the Wall Street Journal would refrain from gloating about the Miami-Dade riot long enough to stop him.

Would the military stop Bush? Is that the military exemplified by law-abiding folks like Colin Powell and Norman Schwarzkopf, each of whom questioned Al Gore’s patriotism because he thought election laws should apply to civilian and military voters alike? Is it the military that loathed Bill Clinton for legally protesting the Vietnam War, but admires George W. Bush who went AWOL during the Vietnam War? That military would stop Bush from canceling the election?

Would the American people rise up in righteous indignation to stop Bush? That is, assuming that he did not prohibit betting on football games or outlaw watching soap operas, would the American people rise up in righteous indignation to stop him?

This is more than just a fanciful scenario. George W. Bush blatantly stole the last election. There is no evidence that he is a man with moral boundaries. There is ample evidence that he will do anything to win.

The Supreme Court was his accomplice last time.

Not one prominent national Democrat was sufficiently offended to appear on TV in order to demand justice.

The media hectored dissidents into the margins of society and continues to shout down anyone who deviates from the party line that facts are less important than establishment conformist dogma.

The American people, for the most part, have passively accepted what has been imposed on them.

Why would it be different if Bush canceled the election? It happens in other countries where there is a corrupt leader, a patsy opposition party, a tightly controlled media, and a sedate population.

Who would stop Bush if he tried it?

Is it plausible to contend that this Supreme Court would make a ruling that would probably result in John Kerry becoming president? The John Kerry who is far more liberal than Al Gore? Which one of the five Supreme fascists is going to allow that to happen, assuming that there are only five fascists on the Court in 2004?

Which Senate Democrat will hit the ceiling if Bush cancels the election? Zell Miller? John Breaux? Robert Torricelli, who openly campaigned for Bush during the Florida recount? Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, who confirms right wing perjurers as fast as Bush can send them to the committee? Russ Feingold and Dianne Feinstein, who view principle as an impediment to the hallowed goal of ingratiating themselves to their disdainful conservative colleagues?

Or should we count on the steely resolve of Democratic leader Tom Daschle, whose every criticism of the corrupt Bush regime is immediately followed by an apologetic genuflection?

None of the fifty Senate Democrats was willing to investigate the last fraudulent election.

Why would it be different if Bush just canceled the election?

Jimmy Walker used to joke about a survey that showed one third of American women are willing to go to bed on the first date. His observation was that, although the research was highly encouraging, he needed names.

What is the name of the Democrat who would stand up to Bush if he canceled the election?

And what about America’s intrepid purveyors of truth and objectivity, the mainstream media? Does anyone seriously believe that the spineless dilettantes in the corporate media would confront Bush on anything? What is an example of the mainstream media challenging Bush?

If Nixon had dealt with a press corps that was this slavishly obedient, then he would have finished his career in a blaze of glory. The same is doubtlessly true of Joseph McCarthy.

Bush has tried so very hard to provide the mainstream media with scandal after scandal, but they refuse to go for the bait. They’ve steadfastly looked the other way about his paying for an illegal abortion, his unpatriotic military record, his driving repeatedly while sloshed, his corrupt behavior at Harken Energy, his sweetheart land deal in Arlington, his abysmal record of incompetence and graft as governor of Texas, his disgraceful lies about major public policy during the campaign, his theft of the election, his slander about White House vandalism, his lie about reducing carbon emissions, his blatant conflict of interest in the multibillion dollar Enron Energy heist in California, his refusal to comply with the law in releasing the Reagan papers, his refusal to comply with the law regarding the clandestine meetings with his oil industry patrons, his lies about the tax cut, his lies about Social Security, his lies about missile defense, his lies about stem cell research…

None of it matters. Obsessing about Bill Clinton’s long ago failed land deal in Arkansas was crucial to the survival of the Republic, but Bush running the most corrupt regime in American history does not merit even the most tepid criticism. It would be interesting to see what would happen if George W. admitted to being the shadowy figure in the grassy knoll. Which adjective would the White House correspondents use first – “charming” or “likeable”?

There is now formal confirmation of why the media is so favorably disposed towards Bush. Jack Welch of General Electric has finally admitted that he was in the NBC Election Center cheering for Bush in front of the reporters who depended on Welch’s approval to keep their high salaried jobs. The dirty little secret is finally officially public domain: The Republican czars of the media conglomerates are deliberately looming over the shoulders of their reporters. The shadow that is being cast has chilled all dissent in the mainstream press.

The only way Tom Brokaw, Tim Russert, Andrea Mitchell, and the NBC News team will stop whoring for Bush is if they become convinced for some reason that bashing him would be viewed with favor by the suits in the GE corporate suites. This perversion of journalism would be bad enough if it were confined to NBC, but the principle of subservience to the profit motive is now universal throughout the mainstream media.

The news on TV in 2000 was that George W. Bush stealing the election was actually the way things were supposed to be, and most Americans bought it. In 2004, if the news on TV is that George W. Bush canceling the election is actually the way things are supposed to be, then what is the reason to be confident most Americans won’t also buy that?

If it seems too outrageous to consider, then try this:

1) Bush “won” Florida by a couple of hundred votes.

2) The Bush campaign deliberately and illegally disqualified tens of thousands of black voters in Florida from casting their ballots, thereby costing Gore an easy victory and the presidency.

3) This is not considered to be news by the mainstream media.

In twenty first century America, speculation about the sexual orientation of Tom Cruise is big news while the theft of an American presidential election by George W. Bush is no news. It is the height of optimism to assume that the American media would respond in a rational manner if Bush were to impose the logical extension of Antonin Scalia’s philosophy: Americans do not possess the right to have their votes counted, so how could they possibly possess the right to have an election?

Would GE and the other multinational owners of the media stand in the way of George W. Bush if he declared himself to be president for life? Based on their behavior in countries where leaders have done exactly the same thing, the multinationals would not only fail to oppose such an event, they would welcome it. Consider what a tremendous relief it would be for GE to never again have to worry about the opinions of the obnoxious tree huggers and their Frankenstein monster, the Environmental Protection Agency.

And it’s all just a presidential decree away.

In the end, after every other institution has failed to protect democracy, the last line of defense for freedom is the American people. Given that not a single prominent conservative in the country spoke out against the storm trooper tactics that Bush used to steal the election, it would be unwise to assume that any of them would object to his declaring himself dictator. Who is the conservative that would publicly admonish Bush for illegally seizing permanent control of the government? Remembering that Barry Goldwater is dead, and John McCain did not raise a murmur of protest against the election-stealing Miami-Dade riot, what is the name of the prominent conservative who would refuse to go along with the program if Bush canceled the election?

Rush Limbaugh? Ann Coulter? Strom Thurmond? Tom DeLay?

The non-Bush majority of Americans has lived down to the stereotype of moderate and liberal people being passive victims. There has been some bitching and moaning about what happened, but nothing more. When conservatives bully them into answering whether Bush is a “legitimate” president, even supposedly tough guys like Democratic Chairman Terry McAuliffe meekly concede that he is “legitimate”. What is never explored is the question of whether Bush is more legitimate than Adolf Hitler, who also ascended to power by pulling a fast one after losing the popular vote. In fact, opponents of Bush have somehow allowed themselves to be put on the defensive about him stealing the election and they have pledged not to engage in “payback”, i.e., disagreeing with him.

It is so amazingly pathetic that it would be funny, if only it weren’t so amazingly pathetic.

Bush has gotten away with the greatest fraud in American history. The so-called opposition party has done nothing to either stop him or to make him pay for his crime. There has been no deterrence provided that would cause him to hesitate before pushing the envelope in the future.

Democracy was raped in 2000. This does not preordain that it will be murdered in 2004. It is merely an acknowledgement that a horrible evil was perpetrated last year, and most of America continues cluelessly along as though nothing happened. If a surrealistic nightmare like the 2000 election can now be accepted by the entire establishment, then where are the limits? What has been done to insure that it will never happen again? What justification do we have for comforting ourselves with the belief that something worse won’t occur next time?

This leads to the question to which no one has been able to give a credible answer:

If George W. Bush announces that he is canceling the 2004 presidential election, then who will stop him?  

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