Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Case For A National Primary

Hey, did you know we're picking our President in about a week?

Well, probably not you. You most likely don't have a say in the process. But a bunch of people in Iowa are picking the President for you. (Note: There are some people who would say that no actual citizen chooses the President. That He or She is selected by a Global Elite to better serve the interests of the Conglomeration of Doom. For the purposes of this post, we're gonna pretend Democracy exists.)

But wait! You live in Florida, New York, California, Texas, or one of the other non-Iowa states. Your state has a lot more people in it than Iowa. Surely your state should have a say.


On January 3rd, Iowa will hold their caucuses, and a winner will be announced in each party. It will then be nearly impossible for anyone else to overtake them. Why?

Americans are a bunch of pack animals.

Think back to 2004. Just before Iowa held their caucuses. Remember who was leading in most National polls for the Democratic nomination? Howard Dean. Know who was running in the back, pretty much given up for good? John Kerry. Know who was even farther back, practically ignored? John Edwards.

But John Kerry and John Edwards cleaned up in Iowa. Dean was tossed down into third place. Richard Gephart was completely crushed. With his Iowa momentum in hand, Kerry went on to win big in New Hampshire and the race was over. John Kerry was the Democratic nominee for President.

And we all know how that worked out for the Democrats.

Thing is, going into Iowa, he wasn't really on the radar. So what happened? Easy. He won. The rest of the nation said something like, "Wow. Iowa picked Kerry. He spent a lot of time down there. They must know something we don't. I'm gonna vote for him, too." or perhaps, "Well, it's going to be Kerry, so I may as well vote for him and get this primary over with so we can start bashing Bush instead of other Democrats."

So a bunch of Iowans got to choose the Democratic nominee, screw the rest of the country.

This year will be no different. Right now, if you look at the national polls, the Democratic nominee ought to be Clinton, and the Republican nominee is a bit of a toss-up between Giuliani and Huckabee.

Watch what happens after Iowa.

On the Republican side, Giuliani isn't even expected to do well at all. Maybe not even third. See if he's anywhere near the lead on January 4th in the national polls. As for Clinton, well if Obama or even Edwards knocks her off (right now, the three of them all have a shot), then watch her lead shrink faster than Bill's libido under Her icy gaze. Just like that, the race will crystallize and we'll have our nominees.

You think I'm wrong? No other state matters anymore. None. Giuliani made the mistake of thinking he could skip out of Iowa (and the next contest, New Hampshire) and still have a shot. He's an idiot. He's toast. Romney gets it, and has put all of his eggs in the Iowa basket. Until Huckabee's rise, it was a smart move on Romney's part. But now that Huckabee's gathered the Evangelical Vote around him, he's gonna beat Romney in Iowa, and that will permanently damage Romney's chances.

Edwards also got it, and put all his eggs in this basket. If he pulls it out, he's got a chance. If not, he'll drop out in the blink of an eye and his supporters will gravitate to Obama. If Obama has won Iowa, then he'll pull off one of the biggest upsets in political history by knocking off Hillary Clinton. If Clinton pulls Iowa out of her hat, then the Democratic race is truly over.

Is this a good thing? Years ago, perhaps it made some sense. Candidates couldn't get their message out to everyone at once, so they focuses on small places- Iowa, New Hampshire- to really talk to the voters and give them a chance to see the candidates for who they really are. Or at least, who they have really tried to be. But today, with the Internet and 24-hour cable news, everything a candidate says or does is transmitted across the country in a heartbeat. We know these people. We know who they are, what they want, what they say. The information is out there and easy to get. We don't need a bunch of Middle-America Folks telling us who made the best impression on the Butter Princess at the State Fair. Who gives a flying crap if Fred Thompson spurned the Butter Princess? That says nothing about Fred Thompson the possible President of the United States. It simply tells us that Fred Thompson isn't very good at RUNNING for President. (But then, if you've been paying attention, you knew that.)

Did Barack Obama pet the prize pig? Did John McCain smile when he shook the hand of the farmer with the biggest pumpkin? What does that have to do with running the United States of America? You know what you get when you focus on electing someone who makes everyone laugh and seems like a regular guy? You get bad government.

So let's take this national. Let the candidates make their case to their parties all at once. Debates all over the country. Appearances in big cities as well as small. Anything they say will be broadcast into your home if you're in Alaska or Arkansas. If you really care about the primaries, you'll have all the information you need. No matter where you live.

And then we can all vote. And we can see that while the 20,000 caucus-goers in Iowa decided that they really liked Huckabee's down-home charm, the rest of the country's Republicans went for the leadership of John McCain or the moderation of Rudy Giuliani. Because maybe those guys represent a larger share of Republicans than the Baptist Minister who lost 100 pounds. (Damn, Huckabee sounds like a fluff piece from People magazine, doesn't he?)

I live in one of the zillions of states voting on February 5th. A big state. One of the biggest. All the big states vote on that day. Most of the population of America will be voting on Feb. 5th. And it won't matter, because our choices will have been made for us. Kucinich will have pulled out a surprise win in Iowa because of his great take on Ethanol subsidies and the Sheep of our Nation will have fallen in line behind him.

Screw Iowa. Screw New Hampshire (supposedly the "brain" to the "heart" of Iowa in this process).

We're selecting national leaders, it should be done by the nation.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Why Did Disney Make A Princess Movie I Can't Take My Disney Princess-Obsessed 4-Year Old To?

Like any parent of a 4-year old girl, I was very excited to learn about Disney's new movie, Enchanted. It was a Princess movie! A silly, spoofy, Princess movie! My 4-year old would eat this up with a healthy serving of bliss.

We don't watch much TV, so we managed to avoid the commercials, but I don't think there's a bus stop within fifteen miles of our house without that witch and her apple staring at us. Naturally, Daughter noticed the posters, recognized the apple, and put two and two together even before I did.

"Daddy! It's the Evil Queen!"

"What? Where?"

"Right there! The Evil Queen from Snow White! Look, she has the apple!"

"Oh. Huh. You're right."

"Does that say Disney?"

"What do mean... you can't read."

"That says Disney! It says Disney!"

She can't read, but she can recognize a corporate logo when she's seen it in front of Snow White and Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid often enough until it's been carved onto the underside of her skull. So thanks to the fact that we have to drive her to pre-school every day, she was now aware that something Snow White/Poisoned Apple/Disney-ish was afoot.

I checked out what I could, which at the time wasn't much more than a teaser trailer online. It was a movie. A movie all about a Disney Princess.

That's all Daughter needed to hear.

Suddenly, she couldn't wait to see the new Disney Princess Movie. It was manna from Heaven, as far as she was concerned.

Me? I was stoked, too. I love movies. Love, love, love them. And taking my kids to the movies, to movies they WANT to see, is one of the true joys in life to which I've been looking forward for years. Finally, the time had come. Daughter wanted to see Enchanted.

Rock on.

Then the reviews came out.

Some loved it, some didn't. But all said that it was, well, more for adults than children. Perhaps the Tweens would like it, but the really little ones, who aren’t ready to see the Disney Princess Line openly mocked, should shy away.

Shy away? How am I supposed to tell my 4-year old that she needs to shy away from a Disney Princess Movie? Has the world gone completely mental?

She took the news fine, to be honest, and I quickly transitioned her into another viewing of Beauty and the Beast before she had time to think about it. But that doesn't mean I'm not miffed.

Disney, you heartless schmucks, how could you? You sell your Disney Princess line to 3, 4, and 5-year olds (there are costumes specifically their size) with capitalistic glee. You know they're hooked, you know they're ready to feed from your trough. You grab the Thanksgiving weekend slot, shove a multi-zillion dollar ad campaign down everyone's throat, create a trailer that mentions all those lovable G-Rated Disney movies from days of yore, then release something rated PG that's not fit your audience?

Were you feeling especially evil that day? I mean I'm well aware of the stench of cruelty that emanates from your offices in Burbank, but that's one meeting that must have curdled the blood of every Wicked Stepmother within the city limits.

"In 2008, we're going to release a new Disney Princess movie over Thanksgiving weekend."

"Fantastic. Families will eat it up. The Disney tradition continues."

"Yes. Except, no. It's a spoof of the Disney Princess movies."

"Well, OK. Spoofs can be funny. Still cute, right? Still animated?"

"In New York."

"An animated New York?"

"No. Real New York. And we'll throw in a scene between the Princess and a Hooker" (EDITOR'S NOTE: Such a scene was actually written in the script, but was not included in the final film.)

"A Hooker?"

"Right. We'll advertise it with images of fairy tales that everyone knows. The goody-goody Disney Fairy Tales."

"You're growing horns as you speak. Are you OK?"

"We'll get every pre-school girl in America begging to see this movie. And then it'll be rated PG."

"Is your face actually bubbling puss right now?"

"Millions of girls will either explode from sheer misery at not being able to see the film, or will be driven insane from the nightmare of seeing horrific images on screens a hundred times the size of their TVs."

"You know, I'm normally right there with you, Boss…"

"We'll rid ourselves of a generation of women! Boys will once again be rulers of the playground!!!"

"There's smoke pouring out of your ears. Should I call someone?"

"Death to Little Girls!!!!!!"

And thus, you created Enchanted.

I hope you're happy with yourselves. Childhood-murdering Bastards.

Friday, November 30, 2007

My Kids' Pediatric Nurse Was Almost Sent to Iraq - After 6 Years of Inactive Duty

As father of two young children, one of my rituals is the seemingly monthly visits to the Pediatrician's office. If you don't have kids, then you can't possibly understand the bonds that are created between parents and the people who stick our kids with needles every visit, but they grow exponentially through familiarity and repetition.

Yesterday we popped by so that 4-year old Daughter could get her flu shot. She knew what was coming, had told me that she was OK with getting the shot, was ready, willing, and able for the trauma.

In fact, it was her lucky day, because she went in thinking she'd be getting two shots, but only got one. So, armed with this good news, she sat in my lap, sleeve rolled up, face towards me, eyes crammed shut in anticipation.

The Pediatric Nurse, a friendly woman in her mid-30s, promised Daughter that the ordeal would over in the blink of an eye. She explained that, as Daughter knew, there would be a quick pinch of pain, but that she, the Nurse, had been doing this for so long that she was an expert and Daughter wouldn't notice a thing and oh, by the way, we're done.

And Daughter gasped and looked down at the tiny Tweety Band-Aid already on her shoulder, in awe. I thanked the Nurse. This had, indeed, been quite easy.

"Oh, that was nothing. Your Daughter's great. Heck, I've stuck soldiers who were bigger babies than her."

At the word "soldiers" my ears perked up. Soldiers?

"I spent years in the Army. Just got my Honorable Discharge last month. Finally."

"They let you out? I thought they were pulling 70-year olds back in to make quota."

"It wasn't easy."

I asked for the story.

"I was in Desert Storm. Not fighting, of course, but as a nurse. I trained soldiers on CPR, basic first-aid. Taught classes over there."

"You were in Desert Storm?"

"Yeah. Talk about life-changing. But it was good. Anyway, that was years ago. I moved into the Reserves, did my weekends. Thought I was more or less done. I was inactive for almost six years."

"Inactive? Then this Iraq thing started and they activated you?"

"Not right away. I had back surgery four years ago that didn't go so well. So that left me on their inactive list. But about six months ago, I got the call. I was shocked. But the orders were just to start teaching again at the base. So I figured I could handle that. Teaching first-aid is always a good thing."

At this point, 2-year old Son started banging the window blinds and Daughter squirmed out of my lap. I wrangled Son away from the blinds.

"Sorry about that. I think he bent one of the blinds."

"Oh, and he'd be the first toddler to do that."

"Right. Sorry. You were saying? You got recalled?"

"Yeah. I went, no problem. Held a few classes. But then we got word they were shipping the entire unit to Iraq. Me included. I was going to be triage. Riding in on helicopters and picking up wounded in combat zones."


"No way was I doing that. I'd been inactive for six years. My back was supposed to keep me out of Iraq. They knew, it was in my file."

"What happened?"

"They don't care anymore. They need bodies. Too injured to work? A little sun and sand'll do you wonders."

"There's a lot of sun and sand in Iraq."

"My doctor started writing letters. Bless him, but he wrote two a week, objecting. But I never heard one way or the other. A week before we were supposed to ship out I was going nuts figuring out what I was going to do."

"You're here. You're not there."

"I got my Honorable Discharge. It showed up in the mail. That's how they told me. And I was freaked out, because it came in a huge, thick package. I assumed the package was my travel orders. It was so thick. But I open it, it's 100 copies of my Honorable Discharge."

"100? Really?"

"I counted. So I've got 100 copies of my Honorable Discharge, in case anyone ever asks."


"It's like I was given a new lease on life. I mean what they wanted me to do, on the helicopters, that's a death sentence over there. The mood of the soldiers is so different then I remember from Desert Storm. Back then they were young, happy, felt good about what they were doing. They were regular people. But the ones I taught this time, they're surly. Angry. Bitter. Older. I enjoyed teaching in Desert Storm, but not this time. They didn't want to be there, and neither did I. It's a different army."

And it was time for us to go. I thanked her for her story, Thanked her for jabbing a needle into my daughter's arm. Told her I'd see her in two weeks when we came back for another shot.

We went out, paid the cashier, got free stickers, and went home.

But the Nurse's story stuck with me. How bad has it gotten that the Army tries to send someone inactive for 6 years, someone with a documented back injury, over to Iraq? That's the best they can get? This woman had already served, with honor, the first time we were over there. She's served her time.

I've heard the stories, of course. World War II Veterans accidentally getting notice that they're being shipped out. It's funny, because it's an obvious clerical mistake.

For now.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Publically-Financed Adultery? Pulverizing the Myth of Rudy Giuliani

Why is Rudy Giuliani the frontrunner for the Republican Presidential nomination?

Do Republicans even know who he is?

Forget the fact the he's pro-choice, gay-friendly, and otherwise socially liberal. Do Republicans know that he had an affair? Aren't they the family values party?

Pop Quiz:

Which is worse?

A) A man has an affair, is found out, apologizes to his wife and family, and tries to rebuild his marriage.


B) A man has an affair for years, then decides to dump his current wife for his mistress during a press conference.

Which, to you, smacks of moral values?

OK, true, they both have some trust issues to deal with, but Chelsea Clinton still likes her father. Rudy Giuliani's daughter isn't even planning on voting for him.

So want, you say? Why should we care if a man has an affair? What does that have to do with what kind of President he'll be? Well first, if you say that, I hope you were saying that back in 1998. But second, at least Clinton wasn't making U.S. Taxpayers foot the bill for his infidelity.


As New York mayor, Rudy Giuliani billed obscure city agencies for tens of thousands of dollars in security expenses amassed during the time when he was beginning an extramarital relationship with future wife Judith Nathan in the Hamptons, according to previously undisclosed government records.


But wait, what does that mean? Obscure city agencies could be anything, like, say, the Official City Agency To Get the Mayor Laid. Why is this news?

The expenses first surfaced as Giuliani's two terms as mayor of New York drew to a close in 2001, when a city auditor stumbled across something unusual: $34,000 worth of travel expenses buried in the accounts of the New York City Loft Board.

When the city's fiscal monitor asked for an explanation, Giuliani's aides refused, citing "security," said Jeff Simmons, a spokesman for the city comptroller.

But American Express bills and travel documents obtained by Politico suggest another reason City Hall may have considered the documents sensitive: They detail three summers of visits to Southampton, the Long Island town where Nathan had an apartment.

But he's a Republican, so this can all be filed under "Family Values" right? He was valuing his family by trying to hide his adultery and having New York taxpayers pay for it.

As we toss yet another Giuliani disaster onto the pile, right next to all the glorious Bernie Kerik stories, it's time to take another look at why Rudy Giuliani is the Republican front runner.


It's on the tip of my tongue….

His massive Foreign Policy experience… no… that's not it.

How he lines up perfectly with Republican core values… no. That's not right..


OH YEAH! He was Mayor of New York City on 9/11!

How could I forget? Rudy was America's Mayor! Gosh, you'd think he'd mention that a few thousand times on the campaign trail to remind everyone.

Oh wait, he does.

Seriously, if 9/11 doesn't happen, Rudy Giuliani is touring the lecture circuit in the private sector. That's it. All his scandals would have broken by now, stopping any and all Giuliani political designs in their tracks. He'd be done. An afterthought.

But 9/11 DID happen. And Rudy "God Bod" Giuliani was born.

Why was he so special on that day? What did he do? Well, he walked around. He made good speeches. He walked the sister of a fallen 9/11 firefighter down the aisle a few days later.

And of course he didn't let the firefighters continue searching for the bodies of their fallen comrades. He allowed everyone back into Ground Zero when he knew the air was toxic, overruling the City's Department of Environmental Protection. He offered to remain Mayor longer than his term of office because he thought it would help the healing process.

And leading up to 9/11? Well, you've heard about the radios, right? The really bad radios that the New York Fire Department had to use on 9/11 because Giuliani… well, The Huffington Post says it best:

Radios used by the FDNY on 9/11 were the same ones that malfunctioned during the 1993 attack on the Twin Towers. When - eight years later - Giuliani finally purchased new communications equipment for $14 million from Motorola, it was never field-tested. A week later, the equipment was recalled after a firefighter's mayday went un-heard. Giuliani reissued the old batch of radios. And on 9/11 when a police helicopter warned that the North Tower could collapse, more than 120 firefighters remained inside.

By the way, that Motorola contract was no-bid.

Sound Presidential to you? Sound like someone who made sure his first responders were prepared?

And then there's the glorious story of Giuliani's Emergency Command Bunker, which he placed in the only known terrorist target in America, the only place already attacked, the World Trade Center (Building 7). This was despite all the expert advice to locate the command center out in Brooklyn, where it would be safe from any possible attacks and therefore useable during an emergency.

Why did he place it in a complex that known terrorists had vowed to one day destroy? Because he wanted it to be within walking distance of his office.

And let's not even go into how on 9/11, WTC 7 became just the third building in HISTORY to collapse due to a fire. And the FIRST that hadn't been hit by an airplane a few hours earlier. (9/11 Conspiracy Theorists, start your engines!)

Basically, when you look into Rudy Giuliani, really look into his record, America's Mayor begins to look like America's Mistake. So why hasn't anyone done this digging yet?


Democrats don't want to expose this stuff yet, because they want Giuliani to get the Republican nomination, and THEN they'll let it out and rip him down.

Republicans don't want to expose this stuff, because Giuliani is the only true moderate they have. All the others, while far more Republican and Conservative, will get crushed by any and all of the Democratic candidates. America is moving back to the center, Giuliani is the only Republican with a prayer of keeping up with them, Remove him, and their standard bearer will be WAY to the right of most America, and he will get creamed in the general election.

So right now, no one WANTS this stuff to come out.

Unfortunately for them, getting John Q Public to pay for your adultery is just too good a story to keep buried.

Maybe now we can stick a fork in Giuliani. He's done.

Rudy Giuliani is no hero. He was a controversial Mayor of a city that was attacked by terrorists.

End of story. End of Myth.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

It's Not Christmas Until the Grocery Store Sound System Says So

It was the Friday after Thanksgiving. Black Friday. Retail Friday. Start the Diet Friday. Whatever you want to call it. Two-year old Son and I were at the grocery store, buying something, anything, that wasn't turkey or mashed potatoes.

Son was not in a helpful mood. He was dilly-dallying in front of the iced fish section, fingering the carp. He was banging a wooden spoon on the bars of the Pirates of the Caribbean Jack Sparrow Cookie display. He was rearranging the Jesus candles in the Hispanic food aisle. He was not listening to me at all.

"Son? Son? Over here. We need to get coffee. It's down here. Son? Put that down. Please put that down. It's salt. We have plenty of salt at home. Just put it, would you please put it…? Where are you going? This way! Over here! The coffee!!!"

I was trying to remain a calm, collected, sane parent. The Good Parent. But The Bad Parent was threatening my psyche. I should just pick Son up and buckle him into the seat. He will scream. He will cry. He will kick. He will Go Boneless (Thank you Mo Willems). But I will shop.

When Son began dumping various bags of Lays chips into the aisle, Bad Parent won out. I reached down at this innocent, happy child, flushed with the intent to ruin his morning so I could get out of here before Dusk. But then he turned and looked up at me, smiling.


I blinked. I choked up.

I ignored the moment and picked him up anyway.

But just before he began to scream, in that moment of uncertain stillness, I heard it. Over the intercom. Right there in the chips and salsa aisle.

The Waitresses' "Christmas Wrapping."

My God. I haven't heard that song in years.

No. Not years. A year.

Last Christmas.

And it hit me. It's Christmas Season. Time to be nice to everyone. Time to enjoy a better world. Time to give things to people. Time to feel bad for not being poor.

I put down Son, who hadn't yet devolved into hysterics. He laughed, threw some more chips into the aisle, and ran off.

And I followed him, already in an immensely better mood. Who cares if Son's antics will keep me in this store long past the expiration date on the milk? It's Christmas!

Son isn't being an obnoxious two-year old. He's the joy of Christmas incarnate. Everyone else looks at him and smiles, remembering their own childhoods, or thankful that their own children are well past this stage. The people working the store don't mind the mess he's making. It gives them something to do besides roaming aimlessly up and down the aisle, avoiding customers.

And all because they're piping in Christmas music.

Christmas Wrapping ended and just like that, George Michael and That Other Guy were singing "Last Christmas" which, by the way, is a really lame song and has about four words in it aside from the chorus.

But it's Christmas music, so it rocks the world from late November to New Year's Day.

Why does this music, infiltrating my brain non-stop for over a month, make me feel so happy? And why do I stop listening to it in January? Done right (meaning pretty much anything that isn't Clay Aiken), Christmas music can't help but get you feeling, well, jolly. I mean the entire year is sucky and filled with trials and tribulations and people who don't like you and bills and taxes and serial killers and stuff.

But not Christmas.

Christmas is filled with, well, lots of suicide. But aside from that, it's filled with goodness. Wholesome, family goodness. And the Barenaked Ladies singing "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" is the soundtrack to all this phenomenal happiness. If grocery stores, post offices, elevators, and gas stations played things like Alanis Morissette or Flo Rida Featuring T-Pain during December, the world would be a rotten place. Puppies would die.

So I say let Christmas ring! Give me Mariah Carey singing "All I Want For Christmas" in seven octaves. Give me Nat King Cole singing that damn Chestnut song for the googolplex-th time. Give me Dean Martin singing "Let it Snow." Give me John Lennon's "So This Is Christmas." Hell, give me T-Pimp & G-Whore singing "Christmas can @$#& my $+&}@* with a *$%&#@!"

As I said, pretty much anything but Clay Aiken.

I'm sure that, come January, I'll be so over this junk. But now is a time for optimism, peace, and Rocking Around the Christmas Tree.

As Band Aid asks so eloquently, "Do They Know It's Christmas?"

If they're in the grocery store, then yes. They do.

Monday, November 19, 2007

88 Lines About 43 Presidents

(With apologies to The Nails)

Washington proclaimed "We're Neutral!", Created Money, Bill of Rights
Adams, with his Midnight Judges, Used XYZ to pick some fights
Jefferson sent Lewis & Clark, killed the slave trade, bought some land
Madison's War of 1812 gave America the upper hand

Monroe, who added five new states, had a Doctrine, spread some joy
J.Q. Adams Abominationed, said Amistad slaves were not a toy
Jackson dealt with Peggy Eaton, sent Cherokees on a Trail of Tears
Van Buren didn't go to war, but a Panic fueled the nation's fears

William Harrison got pneumonia, died one month into his term
Tyler annexed Texas, while Succession made his mandates firm
Polk went to war with Mexico, and gave Vancouver to the Brits
Taylor died of Cholera, his C.B. Treaty gave Demos fits

Fillmore made a Compromise and California became a state
Pierce just made a Purchase, but Bleeding Kansas filled his plate
Buchanan let the South drift off, while dealing with the Dred Scott truth
Lincoln gave us Civil War, Gettysburg and John Wilkes Booth

Johnson Reconstructed, was acquitted of Impeachment pains
Grant, while incorruptible, was marred by major scandal stains
Hayes, who lost but won the office, changed the reconstruction tune
Garfield, though he meant well, was assassinated by a loon

Arthur reformed civil service, excluded Chinese from the States
Cleveland titled Indians, made ICC for railroad rates
Harrison didn't do that much, he served his four long years and then
America took a look around and elected Cleveland once again

McKinley had an open door, took a bullet, fought with Spain
Roosevelt had a big stick, but his canal's what brought about his fame
Taft had Buck Diplomacy and reigned over the highest court
Wilson gave us prohibition, for he was not the drinking sort

Uh-uh, not Wilson

Harding lived through Teapot Dome but a fatal stroke caused him to cease
Coolidge vetoed Farm Relief and had us sign the Pact of Peace
Hoover got America depressed over a great big Crash
FDR brought us back to war, his New Deal healed us in a flash

Truman United all the Nations, welcomed Israel, dropped the bomb
Eisenhower saw dominoes, and stopped McCarthy with aplomb
JFK began the Peace Corp, dealt with Cuba, the Berlin Wall
Was a champion of Civil Rights, his death was mourned by one and all
LBJ gave Voter's Rights, but got bogged down on Vietnam's beach
Nixon opened door to China, and quit before he was Impeached
Ford pardoned Nixon, draft evaders, was shot at twice during his term
Carter drew up some accords, but the hostage crisis made him squirm
Reagan gave us Reaganomics, and the Iran-Contra beast
Bush gave us the New World Order, and went to war in the Middle East
Clinton was impeached for sex, but the Senate did not vote him out
Bush Jr.'s legacy's Iraq, of that there can be little doubt

88 Lines about 43 Presidents

Friday, November 09, 2007

Don't Impeach Bush and Cheney for Their Past, Impeach them for the Future.

Impeachment of a sitting President or Vice President is not something that should be taken lightly.

We all remember the circus of the Clinton Impeachment Hearings, how they dominated the news, nearly put the country on hold for months as a strongly-divided electorate took up sides along party lines.

The fact of the matter is, Clinton lied. However, that was no reason to remove him from office. He lied about a personal matter that had no bearing on our nation. Republicans saw an opportunity to distract a political rival and took it, marring Clinton's remaining years and sullying his name enough so that Gore refused to use him as a campaign asset, which may well have lent itself to the election of George W. Bush. So as far as the Republicans are concerned, Impeachment worked. It was purely partisan, purely dirty politics, and it did the job.

The other thing the Clinton Impeachment did was protect George Bush (or whoever would have won the Republican Nomination) from Impeachment himself. The idea being that if any articles of Impeachment were considered against a Republican President, no matter their merits, the specter of "Partisan Payback for Clinton!" could be raised and no one would take the hearings seriously.

So here we are in 2007 and Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio has brought a motion to the floor of the House to Impeach Vice President Cheney. Wisco has already discussed the odd circumstance wherein Republicans ended up supporting the bill and Democrats as a whole did not. Of course, in Washington D.C., things are not what they always seem. Republicans kept the matter alive in an attempt to embarrass the Democrats. Many people would scratch their head and wonder at the wisdom of such a strategy, but it seems to have worked. Democrats, faced with actually doing something about this administration, ran like frightened children into the arms of their mommy.

"Mommy! Make the big, bad Articles of Impeachment go away!"

Most people have a strong-enough understanding of the charges against Cheney, against Bush, against this administration. Lying to everyone in order to get us to go to War is a nice big start. But there are others. The fact is, Bush and Cheney have done things far worse than Clinton ever dreamed of. They truly have committed High Crimes and Misdemeanors against America. If ever there were a sitting President and Vice President who deserved, NEEDED, to be removed from office, it is this bunch.

But that's not why we should Impeach them.

We should Impeach them for the sake of our future.

Right now, the chatter among the Democratic elite is that we shouldn't waste our time on Impeachment. In an appearance on the Ed Schultz show, Democratic Representative Debbie Wasserman Shultz warned that the issue would distract the Democratic Congress from their work:

[Daily Kos]

"…remembering back to the dark days when the Republican Congress pursued impeachment against President Clinton, that is all that the media will focus on, that is all the attention that would be focused on in Congress, and we would not be able to spend the next 13 months focusing on the issues that are important to the American people…"

She also warned that it would hurt Democrats at the polls.

"…we will squander the opportunity to move this country in a new direction when what we should be focusing on are those issues I just listed and many others, and focusing our efforts on expanding the Democratic majority and electing a Democratic President."

Note that nothing in there indicates a reluctance to Impeach due to a lack of evidence of wrongdoing. Everyone knows crimes have been committed. Everyone knows that if the Democrats tried, they could very easily make the charges stick. It is, to quote the administration, a Slam Dunk.

But again, that's not why we need to Impeach them.

Quite frankly, if we wait out the last 12 months until the National Nightmare is over without taking action, America will never recover.

There is such a thing as the idea of crime and punishment. If you commit the crime, you will be given the punishment. It is at the bedrock of any legal system.

If Bush and Cheney waltz into the sunset (or onto Bush's nearly 100,000 acre ranch in Paraguay, which has no extradition treaty with America) in January 2009, they will have GOTTEN AWAY WITH IT.

Gotten away with the lies, the International gutting of our good name, the taking us to war, the appointing of unqualified hacks who render entire agencies sterile, the outing of a covert CIA agent, the blatant corruption, the spying on Americans, the highway robbery by their oil company friends, the devastation of our economy, the attempt to bring us into another war, and so much more.

That can't happen.

Not for them. Screw them. For the future.

If we let Bush and Cheney walk away unscathed, what does that say to our next President? To our government in twenty years, thirty years be they Democrat, Republican, or Whig? You want President Chelsea Clinton or President Jenna Bush to arbitrarily rule that it's now OK to ship errant skateboarders who leave marks on the lawn of an oil company CEO off to secret gulags in Andorra? I mean they left marks on his lawn! They're obviously TERRORISTS!

Bush and Cheney happily believe that there's nothing the President can do that is illegal. They've operated on that assumption. And to date, Congress and traditional media haven't moved a finger to stop them. Haven't really even said that, hey wait, there are THREE CO-EQUAL branches of government, and if the Executive branch over-reaches, they need to be stopped. We don't live in a monarchy. Not yet.

We're setting a precedent. If we don't try Bush and Cheney for their crimes now, how is any governing body in the future going to be able to do anything about abuses twenty years from now?

To Republicans I ask: Do you want Hillary Clinton with the kind of power we've given George Bush? Even if a Republican wins, they won't always win. Eventually, a Democrat will win. And they'll sit in the White House with as much power as Bush has. More, in fact. Because the groundwork will have already been laid, they just need to build on what Bush and Cheney have done.

Naomi Wolf wrote an incredible article for The Guardian wherein she outlined the 10 steps any dictator has to take to "destroy constitutional freedoms". In it, she points out that Bush and Cheney have effectively carried out the first 9 steps and paved the way for an effortless 10th step, should they ever desire to go there.

Our next President won't have to start from scratch.

That alone should be reason enough to Impeach Bush and Cheney.

It is IMPERATIVE that we don't allow history to give the Bush/Cheney Administration the epitaph of "They Got Away With It."

Justice must be served. To Congress I say, Bush and Cheney must be Impeached. Don't do it for what they've done. Don't do it for political purposes. Don't do it with an eye on 2008. In short, don't do it for yourself.

Do it for the children