Saturday, October 9


William Rivers Pitt of Truthout:

Bush was every inch the angry man on Friday night, which is dangerous enough. But to witness anger combined with belligerent ignorance, with a willful denial of basic facts, to witness a man utterly incapable of admitting to any mistakes while his clear errors in judgment are costing his country in blood, to see that combination roiling within the man who is in charge of the most awesome military arsenal in the history of the planet, is more than dangerous.

It is flatly terrifying.

I think I'm onto something here. In 1964, Lyndon Johnson faced Barry Goldwater in the presidential race. Doubts were already beginning to surface about the wisdom of the Vietnam adventure, but were still largely confined to the fringe elements of each party. Goldwater appealed to a lot of Americans with his image of thoughtful, courageous deliberation, sophistication and poise, and projected strength ("Moderation in pursuit of liberty is no virtue"), compared to Johnson's Texas folksiness, crude language and behavior (pulling up his shirt to show off his surgical scar to the press), and record of political opportunism. The Johnson folks, although way ahead in polls, felt threatened and decided to destroy the Goldwater incursion (something like the Nixon camp in '72 trying to crush McGovern, a weak though principled opponent, which led to Watergate). They effectively did so by juxtaposing images of a "mushroom cloud" with charges that Goldwater's foreign policy intransigence might lead us to a nuclear holocaust.

Bush is clearly starting to scare many Americans. It's time to capitalize on that fear, a strategy especially fair since Bush himself has used the fear tactic to divert attention from his own failed policies. It might be framed as, "What does the world need now? What does America need? An arrogant, hairtrigger gunslinger who 'dares all comers' or a sheriff who sees to the defenses of the town as best he can but then is also willing to fight if necessary?" What kind of future do we want, a nation perpetually at war and increasingly isolated from the world community, or a future where our leaders are first, last and always centered on what's best for Americans and American values, both AT HOME and abroad. (Am I crazy, or did Bush during last night's debate in his tirade on "what's popular" confess that although he loves American values, he has taken actions that have given a false picture of those values to the world?)

I know Americans are perceived to be anti-intellectual, but isn't it time that we remember that the USA has long been a "shining light" to the world, a fact we can take great pride in, UNTIL this present administration? The world doesn't hate us, they despise George Bush. And they fear him, but it's not a healthy fear -- it's a pervasive dread that the country that could once be counted on to lead the world in the right and just direction is now veering dangerously from rational, considered policies to initiatives that threaten the security and advancement of our allies and those populations struggling to discover and make a place for themselves in a stable community of nations.

Let's dump this loser and get on with the task of strengthening our homeland and recouping our lost prestige and influence in the world before he completely destroys our legacy and leadership position in the world.


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