In 20 days the battle will be joined. A fight to decide exactly what America is destined to become.
Will we become a proto-fascist neo-theocracy where the public is constantly misled by a cowed press, kept under constant electronic surveillence without a warrant, where a well paid informant or an errant Myspace post just might send you (even if you happen to be a U.S. Citizen and West Point Graduate) to Gitmo without a hearing where you could be waterboarded and your coerced "confession" used against you...
Something far more akin to the ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independance and Bill of Rights, where the greatest of dangers to the people isn't the people themselves - it is the misuse of the powers of the State? A Nation where the accused, even accused terrorists, are presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.
Does anyone seriously think the other guys are going to fight anywhere near fair?
The past month has been brutal for Republicans.
Starting with the ABC's Path to 9/11 Lie-u-drama, President Clinton clowning Chris Wallace on Fox News, the Senate Intelligence Report revealing that Al Qaeda and Saddam were enemies not allies, the latest NIE stating that the Iraq war has been increasing terrorism rather than making us "safer", Bob Woodward revealing Bush's ongoing State of Denial and Deception on their response to Al Qeada and the status of the Iraq War, Republican Torture-mongerers like John Warner have finally begun jumping off the Iraq Train, Conservative Christian David Kuo has been blowing the whistle on the Faith Based Voter Bribery Scam, not to mention the ongoing adventures of Senator George Macacawitz Allen of Virginia, Congressman Mark Foley the Alcoholic Formerly Molested Pedophilic IM-ing Page Stalker who has wrought Hastert-Gate and of course - North Korea testing a Nuclear Bomb!
So much for winning the war on terror.
As a result of some are expecting as much as a 30 seat gain for Democrats in the House.
I think a 30-seat gain today for Democrats is more likely to occur than a 15-seat gain, the minimum that would tip the majority. The chances of that number going higher are also strong, unless something occurs that fundamentally changes the dynamic of this election. This is what Republican strategists' nightmares look like.
Whether one looks at national or district-level polling data, or a survey like the new Democracy Corps survey that covered the 49 most vulnerable GOP districts, the conclusion remains the same: it is very ugly for Republicans.
Even with all this for some odd, unexplicable reason - both George Bush and Karl Rove remain very upbeat about the November election.
From the Washington Times.
White House political strategist Karl Rove yesterday confidently predicted that the Republican Party would hold the House and the Senate in next month's elections, dismissing fallout from the sex scandal involving former Rep. Mark Foley.
At a luncheon with editors and reporters at The Washington Times, Mr. Rove -- who is widely credited as the architect of the party's historic 2002 midterm election gains -- said Republicans are beginning to make significant headway in defining their party's differences from congressional Democrats, especially on national security.
"I'm confident we're going to keep the Senate; I'm confident we're going to keep the House. The Foley matter has impact in some limited districts, but the research we have shows that people are differentiating between a vote for their congressman and a member from Florida,"
From U.S. News:
Some Republican strategists are increasingly upset with what they consider the overconfidence of President Bush and his senior advisers about the midterm elections November 7-a concern aggravated by the president's news conference this week.
"They aren't even planning for if they lose," says a GOP insider who informally counsels the West Wing. If Democrats win control of the House, as many analysts expect, Republicans predict that Bush's final two years in office will be marked by multiple congressional investigations and gridlock.
So just what the hell is going on here?
Is Rove right and have all these scandals and errors still brought us up short - or is there something else occuring in the mix? An October Surprise to end all Octobers?
Former Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter on the Randi Rhodes show Monday postulated that the surprise would be sudden violent conflict between Iran and the Eisenhower Carrier Group, which should be arriving in the area on Oct 21st.
Some have argued that the Rovian confidence stems from the upcoming November 5th announcement of the Saddam Hussein Verdict.
Still others have argued that massive purging of Democrats from the voter rolls have already occured in key states such as Ohio. Purging that will significantly narrow the margins in tight races and ensure that Republicans retain the House and Senate. Although some doubt has arisen on those claims, there are legitimate issues that various states have indeed made voting more difficult. A cursory examination of this years primary elections bears that out.
Hundreds of voters mysteriously "dropped or displaced" from registration rolls when master lists were electronically merged. Absentee ballots invalidated because voters didn't receive a flier telling them not to remove a security stub. Poll workers who didn't show up to work on Election Day. Polling places unable to open on time because computer memory cards for new machines hadn't been installed. Suspicious shortages of machines in precincts that happened to be heavily Democratic. Voters who left the polls in disgust without having cast a ballot, because they just couldn't wait for overwhelmed precinct workers to sort through a monstrous mess of administrative and equipment problems.
Ohio, 2004? Nope. Ohio, 2006
It's clear that the Repulicans are working hard to suppress the Democratic vote, while doing their damnedest to get their vote out. Kos has posted that the Republican Voluanteer Ground Game is currently breaking records in their outreach effort.
And this doesn't even begin to mention just how hackable a Diebold Voting Machine has proven to be - thanks to Princeton.
The best course, naturally, is to assume all the above is basically true.
Even though the polls are overwhelmingly in the favor of Democrats, we can not afford to expect that all the voters will be able to reach the polls, have their registration honored or that every vote will be accurately counted. That's simply not going to happen.
Even though the worst news for Republicans has been coming from Republicans, We can not simply sit back and expect that the Republicans are simply going to scandal themselves out of office. They've grown far too adept at the blame and deflection game and have long since learned that the electorate is much like a jury that's been sequestered in a hot courtroom for six months -- offer them any cockamamie semi-plausible sliver of doubt and they'll jump at it like a starving man and a bowl of freshly steamed calimari.
Therefore Bill Clinton's "tirade" on Fox was just an attempt to "burnish" his legacy and erase his culpability at failing to stop both Bin Laden and Lil Kim in Korea. Bad Bill. Bad. Bad.
Bob Woodard is suddenly a "hack with an agenda".
John Ashcroft admits he was briefed by the CIA on Al Qaeda, but never heard any specific Domestic Warnings before September 11th. (Never mind the fact that as Attorney General he doesn't have jurisdiction anywhere but Domestically, so if there was "No Domestic Warning" why was Tenet and Richard Clarke even bothering to talk to him in the first place?
Rove denies calling Evangelicals "Nuts" and all is forgiven. Let's not pay any attention to the fact that Kuo's claims of disdain for "the Nuts" is exactly what Jack Abramoff's former lobbying partner Mike Scanlon has already displayed:
"Simply put," Scanlon wrote, "we want to bring out the wackos to vote against something and make sure the rest of the public lets the whole thing slip past them. The wackos get their information from the Christian right, Christian radio, mail, the Internet and telephone trees."
Kuo stated that the disdainful comments came from Rove's Office, not Rove himself. And look who just suddenly
fired retired from Rove's Office? Susan Ralston, Jack Ambramoff's former assistant who no doubt worked very closely and who just may have shared a least a few similar sentiments with Scanlon.
Conincidence? I think not.
No matter how bad the news gets, how sleazy the scandal, these guys will keep coming back - again and again.
We have to recognize just who these people are. The atrocities of Haditha and our troops being provided contaminated drinking water doesn't faze them. A fake Anthrax Terrorist attack on Broadcaster Keith Olbermann is grounds for low comedy.
The Right-Wing Cabal that now control this country is commited, deadicated, resourceful, inventive, relentless and fanatical. Make no mistake, they are the American Taliban. They've been striving for over 30 years, since the fall of Richard Nixon, to arrive at a point where they essentially control all three branches of government. We can not afford to fixate on George W. Bush himself, but recognize that he has a legion of enablers behind him from his filth spewing buddies on Talk Radio (and their audiences) to the Unitary Executive/Signing Statement supporting stagnant pool of Federalist Society nut-balls from the DOJ like Abu Gonzales, Yoo, Bybee, John Roberts and Alito who continue to mangle the Constitution to do one thing - amass greater and greater power in the Whitehouse.
Power that no doubt will be abused.
These people have been lying in wait within the strata of our country for a very long time, decades, the reigns of power will only be wrested from their cold, dead hands. We can not afford to underestimate their cunning or their willingness to take it to the mat.
Nor can we allow ourselves to be frustrated should we fail to prevail in November, or grow overly elated if win back the House and/or Senate.
In either case, we have long, hard work ahead of us reclaiming true patriotism from the gingoist who would distort and misuse it as a tool of fear-mongering. Reclaiming America's International Honor and Intregrity from those who have wiped it off their Jackboots like freshly trampled mud - will be dirty, difficult work.
Fortunately, the actions of some of our current Democratic Leaders have finally begun to show signs of life as they as last discover - The L Word.
"Bob Woodward says the Administration is in a state of denial. It's worse than that. The lying needs to end and the incompetents who gave us a Katrina foreign policy have to go. The Administration has a stand still and lose policy in Iraq which isn't the center of the war on terror, and a cut and run policy in Afghanistan which is the center of the war on terror. The only clear thing about the president's policy is that it's clearly not working.
American troops are coming home without arms and legs, for a strategy our military and our leaders know won't work, and a policy that worsens terrorism. The repetition of presidential platitudes in daily speeches only compounds the immorality of a policy that is reckless with young Americans' lives, and leaves America's moral authority in tatters.
We have seven times more troops in the crossfire of a civil war in Iraq, which our intelligence agencies confirm fuels terrorism, than we have in Afghanistan, where the Taliban is resurgent and Al Qaeda roams free. Rhetoric about providing money to rebuild Afghanistan is hollow from an Administration that has cut aid to Afghanistan by 30% this year, and even requested 67% less than that for next year. Even Don Rumsfeld acknowledged yesterday we need more troops in Afghanistan, but President Bush remains stuck in a state of denial.
This administration cut and run from the truth, and every day this administration refuses to face reality is another day they play into the hands of the terrorists. President Bush needs to start telling the truth, and acting on it."
Kerry is correct that we need to change course in Iraq and Afghanistan, even some of the Wing-nut Brigade is starting to realize that fact - but more importantly we need to change the direction of this country. We have to stop living in fear and apathy. We have to stop following empty rhetoric and start expecting actual results, results that demonstrably improve the quality of life not just for the Paris Hilton's set - but for all of us.
Certainly we can donate money to worthy candidates, we can continue to get the truth out through blogs and continue to press the media to do their freaking jobs - but that isn't going to be enough.
We have to Act, particularly those of us in Battleground States and Districts, we have to get up out of our chairs and from behind our PC, canvass our neighborhoods and ask everyone we meet "are you registered to vote yet?" We have to voluanteer to work at the polls or schedule a vacation day on November 7th to watch the polls - take note of how long the lines are, how easily or often people have been mistakenly left off the rolls or redirected into voting provisionally, read the Street Index Roster (which must be updated each hour during an election by poll workers to indicate who has voted and who hasn't), bring your cell phone and call people at home to remind them - "Have you voted yet?", go knock on their doors and make sure they have a ride to the voting location. Don't just sit their in front of your computer whining, get off your ass and make a difference.
It's not enough to simply vote yourself, we have to do what we can to protect each others vote too.
We don't have to wait for the DNC, the DSCC or the DCCC to get this done and we shouldn't. We are the voters, we are America - it's our responsibility to make sure this country is one we can be proud of. It's our responsibility to do what's neccesary to take our best hopes and dreams for brighter, less mean-spirited, less terror crazed America and make them part of the reality-based world.
Yes, they will lie, they will most definately try to steal the vote from us - but we can't let them get away with it. Not again.
I expect this battle will leave battered, bloodied and far from unscarred but if we honestly join in the fight on the web and on the ground - win, lose or draw - it will be well worth it.
And also, it will only be the beginning.