Brent Budowsky: Election 2006: For Whom The Bell Tolls

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Think about it: George W. Bush has created such enormous and intense antagonism among 48% of the Nation that they are unanimously opposed to him and counting the days until they come out in gigantic numbers to end one party government in America. George W Bush has created such widespread disapproval among politically independent Americans that they want change in numbers approaching 80%.
With disapproval now growing among conservatives, the way of the Bush and Rove response is living proof of the core reason that he may remembered in history for a catastrophically failed Presidency and a long term disaster for his Party.
I challenge any honorable conservative to disagree and debate on even one of these points: The George Bush Republican Party is the Party of Big Government, Big Spending, Big Budget Deficits, Big Trade Deficits, Big Current Account Deficits, Big National Debt, Big Brother, Big Oil and Big Scandal.
Is there even one honorable and genuine fiscal conservative and libertarian conservative who is not deeply and profoundly appalled by this?
It has been said that Karl Rove is “Bush’s Brain”. The more important question is: Who is Bush’s conscience? With half of America in a state of total outrage, with independent America turning in 80% numbers against the status quo and with growing unrest among conservatives, what is the Bush-Rove response? Well, its their old standby, lets demonize the gays!


And: I would challenge any conservative to disagree and debate on any of this: Whatever the merits of the Iraq war, George Bush has done major damage to the readiness, recruitment, and morale of the Army, Marine Corps, National Guard, Reserves, CIA. As Hurricane Season arrives we remember that four years after 9-11 his disaster preparedness was so incompetent that an outraged Nation watched good people die in New Orleans because they were too poor, too elderly, too young, too handicapped and too weak to protect themselves and those who should have protected, did not.
We will soon commemorate the 5th anniversary of 9-11, the tragedy that the Bush partisans have endlessly tried to exploit when they should have brought the Nation together, and the most brilliant indictment of Homeland Security was written by a lifetime Republican and former Inspector General. Port security remains disastrously negligent, while border security has been so neglected for the five years after 9-11 that yet another divisive issue tears apart the Nation while a politically desperate President is reduced to criticizing patriotic Americans who sing our anthem in Spanish. Is this the pride of Republican conservatism?
Franklin Roosevelt said, we have nothing to fear but fear itself. John Kennedy spoke often of Profiles in Courage. Which conservative is proud of this: remember the days of endless terror warnings that coincidentally began right before the 2002 Congressional elections and mysteriously ended, almost literally to the day, on the eve of the 2004 Presidential election? Remember the week in 2003 when a President who shamelessly plays the politics of fear and a Vice President who repeatedly disappears to undisclosed locations created a panicked run on duct tape, bottled water and gas masks? Is this the pride of conservatism?
Which of the punk Bush supporting smear artists, virtually none of whom has ever served in uniform, who parade to the talkies to accuse almost anyone of being traitors, even cares about this: What kind of leaders send our troops to battle, unconscionably, so lacking in armor protection and equipment that the Marine Corps pathologist concludes, in the third year of the war, that 70% of the casualties were preventable? And then allow some of our wounded troops to return home and be charged for their sacrifice, and then pursued by debt collectors because they cannot afford to pay, and then be victimized by a Veterans Administration led by a former Republican Chairman that falls dramatically short of serving our heroes while creating the mammoth violation of privacy of veterans in the history of computers?
Think about this: America is engaged in a great battle of ideas against an enemy that murders children in houses of worship and cuts off the heads of the innocent, and our leaders have failed to win this battle even against an enemy so hideously evil.
And what is the response of Bush and Rove? When they are not demonizing the gays, they are waving the flag, preparing to challenge the patriotism of political opponents who prefer supporting those who wear that flag on their shoulder to using the flag as a partisan weapon in the endless political wars that will be the sad legacy of those who never learned that we are, indeed, in this together.
The reason America stands on the brink of an epic election is that this President, his party, and his apologist have let loose dark forces of division and dishonor that have divided our country, alienated much of decent opinion around the world, hurt our military, abused our freedoms in the name of a politics of fear and let loose in the land a kind of politics that violates the cardinal rules of two hundred years of the American family.
In this dark and demeaning vision of political war, anything goes, to win. A heroic Senator who will spend his life in a wheelchair as the price of his heroism is slandered by a guy who never served. A recipient of the bronze and silver stars is smeared because he is in the wrong political party. A Marine Corps hero who is one of strongest supporters of the troops who ever served in Congress is called a coward on the Floor of Congress. A Chief of Staff of the Army is demeaned by ideologues and partisans who were hell bent for a war they knew nothing about.
Six courageous retired Generals speak out with conscience and the editorial page of the Washington Times prints the statute on sedition. The cable talkies run segments with titles such as Hollywood Hates America. When the topic shifts to the atrocity of Haditha one of America’s leading right wing mouthpieces says these things always happen in way and cites, shame, shame, shame, shame and infamy to him, the Marines who took Iwo Jima and the Army heroes who took Normandy with the slander that they too committed acts that were comparable to Haditha. Who in the hell do these bums think they are?
The infamy of Abu Ghraib, the wrongs of Guantanamo, secret government abusing secret prisons with secret injustice, and the Attorney General of the United States says the Geneva Convention is some quaint and outmoded relic which in my humble opinion were the most dishonorable, despicable and ignorant words ever uttered by anyone entrusted to preserve, protect and defend justice in America.
The man who sits where Washington sat, where Jefferson sat, where Lincoln sat, claims he has the unilateral, inherent power to abrogate even the Bill of Rights The man who put his hand on the Bible with the trust that the laws are faithfully executed claims he has the unilateral, inherent power to violate the laws of the land at his personal whim, and at this writing, there are more than 700 laws that he asserts the right to violate today. The man entrusted with the legacy of Founding Fathers who were among the greatest and most timeless visionaries who ever walked the earth, claims he can operate beyond the reach of courts, beyond the reach of Congress, without the knowledge of the American people.
Here is our answer to this litany of outages. The Founding Fathers were right: they knew America, this land we love, this land we share, the land of freedom and democracy was based on timeless truths that were so brilliant and profound because they were so simple and so right.
We Americans are all part of a great family, coming together from different backgrounds, with different viewpoints. Washington, Madison, Jefferson, Franklin and the others knew that in our America, we begin with an attitude of mutual respect, shared patriotism, a willingness to put our little differences aside to stand together for the more important things that constitute our common trust. Then, the Founders created institutions that were built from that attitude of shared Americanism, separation of powers, divided government, a free press based on the right to know and on the judgment that an informed citizenry will ultimately take the right course whatever our differences and debates of the moment.
The partisan extremism, demeaning attitudes, divisive strategies, disrespectful contempt of the cardinal spirit of unity and the cardinal institutions of democracy have led George W. Bush and his vision of one party rule inexorably, inevitably, to a continuing series of catastrophic disasters that will only end, when the cardinal rules of Americanism are restored. That is what the 2006 election is all about. Across the Nation and around the world today, we now know, for whom the bell tolls.
A recent special about Gary Cooper, who embodies the spirit of a quiet and respectful patriotism, included a segment in which his daughter said that his greatest favorite of all was For Whom The Bell Tolls. It was originally written in the 1600’s by John Donne, became the title of the famous novel by Ernest Hemingway and the film based on that novel starring Coop, Hemingway’s great friend, and what a friendship that was!!!
Here are the words from the original For Whom the Bell Tolls, that Gary Cooper loved so much and Hemingway wrote about so brilliantly: “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”
These words, written a hundred years before Jefferson’s Declaration, embody the true spirit of the American idea, the roots of our two hundred year old democracy. The heroes of our great history understood what George W. Bush has never learned:
Thomas Paine calling us to rise together not as Summer Soldiers or Sunshine Patriots but as Americans in Common Cause; Abe Lincoln trying to end a bitter and divisive war by healing wounds and binding our nation back together; the Greatest Generation that won the war not to run the world, but to save the world for the freedom of all; and those indescribably brave and heroic men and women who five years ago charged with courage and honor into burning buildings from lower Manhattan to Northern Virginia, not for the petty cash of cheap shot politics, but for the honor and goodness of the America that we all share, to save the lives of our brothers and sisters, for a good and great and decent nation that stood together as one with these words:
United We Stand.
This is the message the American people are calling out for Washington to hear. 2008 will be a Presidential election with competing candidates offering detailed programs and plans. 2006 will be an Americanism election, the kind of country we are, the kind people we aspire to be, the kind of democratic values and institutions we must honor, the spirit of mutual respect and tolerance and shared purpose and patriotism that is the common trust of every man and woman gifted by God to be born in this land we genuinely and passionately love.
Our answer to the status quo is this: this land is truly your land, it is truly our land, it is the land not of Republicans or Democrats, not of liberals or conservatives, not of partisans or ideologues. America is the land of that Lady who holds up the torch, and there is one ticket to admission: that we honor and cherish how fortunate we are to be here, and that each of us commits, in our way, as best we can, when our number is called, when our America needs us, to ask what we can do, in return for all we have been blessed to be given.
George Bush should learn from, and even in anger his opponents should remember, that Jefferson if he were with us today, would be telling us, as he said in his Age: we are all Democrats and we all Republicans. Isn’t it amazing and incredible and dare I suggest perhaps even a message from God, that exactly fifty years to the day from the signing of the Declaration Jefferson and Adams, who in their lives were the closest of brothers and the harshest of opponents, died within hours together, half a nation apart, thinking of that Declaration, whispering of each other in their final breaths of life.
The Washington insiders don’t get it, but its really simple, this election is not about ten point plans, or public relations, or competing sets of consultants dishing baloney and calling it leadership. This election, which I believe will be an epic moment that will be written about by historians for generations to come, is about restoring our faith in each other, restoring that spirit that we all share a common purpose and a common patriotism. When we get that spirit right, we will get our institutions right, with a renewed respect for our Bill of Rights, reviving our checks and balances, remembering that truth is reached when an informed citizenry engages all three branches of government as the Founders intended.
Personally, when I think of all we have been through, and all that remains, I think of two of my favorite heroes; one is Jessica Lynch, the other a Marine I will tell you about, but not name.
I was at a bar near the Naval Academy on that cold night when news came that Jessica had been rescued. There we were, military families, Naval midshipmen, young Marines and we stood and cheered and high fived at the news. Remember those tall tales told by spinners dishing propaganda to drum support for the war. Made her sound like she had taken Iwo Jima single-handedly. Well she was brave, but it was exaggerated, and that is not the true story of her heroism.
Some time later, given the opportunity to exploit the tale, she said something to the effect that well, it was hard, but I didn’t do all those things. And I thought then, and now: Wow, that woman really is a hero. You bet, even if the truth of her bravery was real, but exaggerated, there is a higher truth, a higher heroism, a higher honor to Jessica Lynch. Someone once said that moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great skill, And Jessica’s modesty and integrity and respect for truth and honor, now that is the kind of heroism that no politician or spinner can fake. God Bless you, Jessica, wherever you are. I salute you. Gary Cooper, Ernest Hemingway, the Marines at Iwo Jima would all be as proud of you, as I am.
And here is a story about a Marine, like those early Clint Eastwood movies, he’ll be for our purposes the man with no name, but trust me, he’s real, and there are many like him.
Not many weeks ago, his body was blown to shreds in Iraq. Through the incredible work of the emergency ER, his life was miraculously saved. Both of his legs were amputated, and when he returned home he was greeted by applause from those who love the troops, and a bill from Uncle Sam that expected him to pay for his own armor, which he neglected to save when was laying unconscious as his legs were amputated.
This is the kind of shabby treatment and scandalous wrong that should be investigated in both Houses of Congress, ended by our self-named war president, and never again tolerated in America. But his story gets even better…
This Marine is still on active duty, has every right to be angry, has paid an enormous price for his patriotism, and what is his driving mission as you read these words? He wants to return to Iraq, to stand by the side of his buddies for the duration, not because he supports the war, he wont discuss his views on the war, but because this battle scarred man with no legs wants to be with the men and women in his personal Marine Corps band of brothers and sisters. I predict: somehow, in some way, this guy’s gonna make it and somewhere in heaven I suspect more than two centuries of American heroes are giving him a standing ovation.
The bell has begun to toll for the dark and partisan vision of one party government in America; I predict the experts and pundits will be stunned and shocked when the voice of the American people, which is not heard or heeded at the dinner parties and gala dinners and insider lunches in official Washington, is fired like a cannon announcing the revival of the American idea.
In conclusion, I offer one plea to those who are the most liberal, the most Democratic, the most angry and resentful of the injustices and wrongs and arrogances of recent years. I am with you, and I am one of you, but all of us, I hope, will remember this:
The message of the American people today, and the lessons of two hundred years of our history, is that the case we take to the country before the election, and our aspirations for America after the election, is not to let our opponents take us down to their level with our vindictiveness or anger answering theirs, no matter how right or deserved our feelings might be.
We love our country, we love our freedom, whether we take positions of opposition or support, we do so with a fervent spirit of patriotism, a respect with those of differing views, the love of truth and honor that was shown by Jessica, the indescribable courage and fidelity shown by the Marine with no name, the checks and balances, the constitution, the rule of law, the spirit of the great American family and the timeless truth that none of us is an island, and each of us is an indispensable part of the main.
Against each other, we are nothing. Together, we are America.
Brent Budowsky serves on the International Advisory Council of the Intelligence Summit. Served with U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen responsible for intelligence issues. Served as Legislative Director to then Congressman Bill Alexander who was Chief Deputy Whip, House Democratic Leadership. He can be reached at brentbbi@webtv.net.

Comments

29 comments on “Brent Budowsky: Election 2006: For Whom The Bell Tolls

  1. Spray says:

    Nice little article.
    All compassionate and intellectually curious types should read George Lakoff’s excellent little book ‘don’t think of an elephant’ for a very powerful insight into how the George Bushes of this world hold onto power, and how to best engage in debate with these dangerous people.
    Another great book, very little known is Eduardo Galleano’s magnificent ‘century of the wind’ for a balanced and heartbreakingly poetic look at the evil work of the American government over past decades in South/Latin America.
    Chilling.
    Fingers crossed from Australia that enough Americans switch on their brains and vote with their intellect, rather than their adrenal glands at this coming election.
    Then maybe our shamelessy copycat population will follow suit and remove our similarly misguided prime minister.
    cheers
    Spray

    Reply

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  4. Thomas John says:

    I’m not an American, but a New Zealander. Which is not in europe or part of Australia or Canada. But it is near Australia.
    I thought the content of this essay was ok. I agreed on some points but differed on others.
    I think the Bush administration is evil or extremely diluded.
    Was the freeing of Iraq actually a cover up for gaining their oil. I remember reading an economic aticle before september 11 2001 that the USA economy was going down the drain and the only way to revive it was to cut down on expenses. This expense is obviously oil, because it would be a crime to cut down on military spending. So you needed cheap oil and where are you five years later in Iraq. I wonder if over humans bloody history the amount of oil produced is more than the amount of blood spilled to gain it through conflict and war.
    Personally I can’t believe the American people allowed the bush administration to exist. I can’t believe you would be so deluded into letting him run your country of the great. Isn’t the president supposed to represent the people of the united states and not just corporate interests.
    I am not a pacifist. But I do not believe war is the solution. Is the Iraqi really better off now Saddam has been removed. Is the lost of life just for their so called freedom. You would have to ask an Iraqi citizen.
    My Grandpa in World War 2 was a Lancaster bomber pilot flying bombing raids on Germany.
    Would the patriotic Americans who faut and died in Europe and the pacific be proud of the america today. Would they feel their sacifice was just to provide the war we have today. Can’t we live in a world without war.
    I hope in your next election you vote for someone you will serve the people and not the corporates. Someone that will correct the wrongs that America and her allies have committed.

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  5. Michael Tom says:

    The last part of the essay – beginning with the heroism of Jessica Lynch and the injured Marine – should be one of those emailed chain letters on patriotism that someone’s grandparents are always forwarding. Anyone know how to make this viral? (As if to underscore the point made about national divisions, my InBox only contains like-minded people, whereas this message should reach all Americans.) Can this be forwarded?

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  6. Pissed Off American says:

    Kate and Davis X. Machina – so why do you bother to post here and elsewhere? To make these statements publicly? What motivates you? Don’t you realize that you’re not even being measured and prudent….you’re pissing on any view other than your own?
    Posted by Truth Teller
    Why do you keep switching screen names, Morrow?

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  7. Truth Teller says:

    Kate and Davis X. Machina – so why do you bother to post here and elsewhere? To make these statements publicly? What motivates you? Don’t you realize that you’re not even being measured and prudent….you’re pissing on any view other than your own?

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  8. Kate says:

    Davis X. Machina has nailed it, i.e., the connection between the gay issue and Republican election rigging. Which is to say that it’s wishful thinking at best to delusional at worst to believe that the Republicans will lose control of either house of Congress in the midterm election. Once they’ve gotten their base’s panties in a wad over gay marriage, and then rev up their ballot bollixing, it’ll be game over for our democracy, though arguably, the game has been over for some time now, anyway. Sad. Oh, so sad.

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  9. Davis X. Machina says:

    The gaming-the-system-a-la-Ohio and the gay marriage amendment are in fact connected.
    The Republicans are going to cling to power forever using a ‘100% of 35% of the electorate’ strategy.
    This of necessity generates close elections, and hence the need to be able to tip the vote in close states.

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  10. Rob says:

    AWESOME!!!
    Thanks so much for the eloquence and the inspiration.

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  11. Vaughan says:

    Yowza and wow. Beautiful. This piece lays it all out. If spoken by an at least half-talented orator as a convention speech, nothing could stop the opposition party. Is this Brent guy electable?

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  12. Carroll says:

    Dear Censor…
    Speaking of AIPAC..I noticed we now have a newly created Offical Office on Anti-Semitism in the US State Department….evidently the work of Tom Lantos and the usual suspects in our congress….and protested by the State Department itself as unnecessary and not a legitimate function of the US.
    Does anyone know the purpose of this new “Office”? Obviously it will monitor anti-semitism here and abroad, but will there be punishments for individuals and countries the new Office deems anti-semitic by whatever definition they come up with?
    Rickman, the Head of this new Office said he hasn’t decided yet whether anti-zionism or critism of Israel is anti-semitism.
    I can’t think of anything more ridiculous than this or anything more indictive of the insanity in our goverment caused by Zionist in this country.
    I read something some time ago about someone being imprisoned in Germany or Canada, I think it was, for something related to the holocust question. I can’t wait until they try to charge and imprison some American for being anti-zionist or anti-Israel.
    Ismerica is getting a little too Nazi for me…I reserve the right to critize or question anyone and anything…

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  13. Kate says:

    Thanks, Kathleen. And, thanks to erichwwk, too.
    It’s axiomatic that we Americans usually accord a certain deference to our presidents, even if we don’t agree with them. However, I think the original sin in this case was that anyone presumed, as many (the press, Congress?) continue to do, that G.W.B. ever possessed a single iota of respectable character. Living in Texas, I saw this train wreck coming long before this “character” was installed the first time. Compassionate conservative? Smirking bully is more like it.
    You’re right about the sense of entitlement exhibited by the administration. What gall! A modicum of respect may be due by virtue of the office held, but it must be renewed with each waking moment, each utterance and every action while exercising that office. Moreover, respect is a two-way boulevard. Entitlement? If that’s how they feel, then our contempt is most appropriate.
    As for the solution suggested by Jefferson,well … let’s recall the recent flap about warrentless wiretapping. Show me the person who believes that the administration is targeting its snoops only at Al Q’s bad guys, and I’ll show you someone who doesn’t believe that Richard Nixon had an enemy’s list. Jefferson? The mere mention of his name has probably put a red flag next to our I.P. addresses. Doncha’ tink?

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  14. Censor says:

    Outstanding and demolishing, brave and engaging but where were you prior to 9-11? The script was all over the wall for fascist forces to take over America.
    It start just after our demise of the Vietnam war when all those resentful anticommunists, have an early start to take revenge in Afghanistan and Nicaragua aiding and abetting terrorist “freedom fighters”.
    Not that walking up to the noxious mix of fear and patriotism rhetoric is kind of a little to late, but what about the other intercine forces of dual patriots fighting religious wars by proxy with the the muscle of American militarism? Can you put the reflector of your eloquence to a real service? or are you, like many in Washington, afraid of AIPAC?

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  15. Kathleen says:

    Amen and then some!!! Why don’t we put the whole damned Bush family on the next manned moon shot and leave it there? Elba’s too close, so’s Mexico.
    On Gay Marriage, methinks they protest too much!!!
    Kate, I think you called it. When people ask how low can he go, I don’t think anyone really can fathom just how low they will go to retain power. Their sense of entitlement to the Presidency and utter contempt for the Constitution is astounding and alarming. It is time for some good old fashioned American civil disobedience, Thomas Jefferson style.

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  16. Just Askin' ... says:

    Islander may be correct to the extent that the nation’s government has become sullied, but perhaps that old Reaganesque saw about gov’mint being the problem isn’t what motivates the current crop of politicians who have taken out a contract on America. It appears that their motivation is more fundamental, i.e., a patriarchial fear of losing control over (you fill in the blank, starting with women, children, “others,” themselves, etc.). See, e.g., Allan G. Johnson, The Gender Knot (Temple Univ. Press, 1997).
    In this same vein of fear and control, others have posited, and I agree, that all this blather about gays may bespeak deeper motives than ginning up the rabid Elmer Gantry set. Just what are the Republicans hiding in their closet along with their kicky black leather wardrobe?

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  17. islander says:

    Bush and the Republicans hate government. Thus, it’s not surprising that they have made a mess of it.

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  18. erichwwk says:

    Nice post Kate. Excellent suggestion, Ian .. and let’s do expand the deportation issue to include the more specific criteria suggested by “Just Sayin”
    POA: thanks for the chuckle, not far off the mark- pretty cobbled together individual … however to nitpick: ever seen a picture of the idiot on a horse? any other evidence he has ever been on a horse?

    Reply

  19. Just Sayin' ... says:

    Ian has the right idea — returning Texas to Mexico. In his Memoirs, U.S. Grant told us our Civil War was payback for our invasion of Mexico to acquire more land for slavery.
    Anyhoo, if we were to give Texas back to Mexico, complete with the ultimate booby prize (W.), maybe we should also include the other Bush family members (Jeb, et al.) as a bonus, maybe even neuter ’em so they can’t breed (it’s a Texan kinda’ solution, y’know). Alas, it would be so unfair to our Mexican neighbors, giving them a mob of ersatz sopranos, but what a boon for their sock industry!

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  20. JohnStuart says:

    Where is Calvin Coolidge when we need him?
    With increasing frequency I ask my Republican friends in Washington what happened to the cautious, flinty, slightly narrow New England perspective that used to play a role in shaping Republican thought.
    As an unalloyed draught, pure Coolidge-ism could be a risky prescription in 2006.
    A judicious dollop of Cal’s penny-pinching and skepticism about adventures beyond our shores, however, might not be unwelcome in these troubled times.
    The odd variant of slightly paranoid Republican provincialism produced on the ranchlands of Wyoming and nurtured at Caspar College does not fill the bill.
    JohnStuart

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  21. Pissed Off American says:

    So theres three doctors enjoying a toddy or two at the local dive…..
    The first doctor, wanting to toot his own horn, pipes up…….
    “Hey, I got a note from an ex-patient of mine yesterday. Poor bloke, ran his hand through a tablesaw at work a few years ago. Wacked off all five digits on his right hand. In surgery forty two hours, but we got it put back together. I’ll be damned if he isn’t a concert violist now”.
    Not to be outdone, the second doctor immediately chimes in……
    “Well, I had a patient a couple years back, a gawdawful motorcycle wreck it was. Guy lost his right arm, and broke his leg in fifteen different spots. It was a damned tedious surgery, but my team managed to get it right, and the guy is now playing on the pro-tennis circuit.”
    Snorting, the third doctor jumps in with distain………
    “Child’s play. Hell, in my rural practice we perform such miracles durned near daily. My most memorable surgery, however, was some God damned idiot that tried to ride his horse acrost a train trestle. Christ, all the ambulance brought us was a barely breathing torso and a garbage can full of parts….hell, there was even a cowboy hat and a horse’s ass in the mix. But hey, we put the ignorant hick back together, pulled him through, and I’ll be a son of a bitch if he didn’t actually become the President of the United States.”

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  22. Ian Kaplan says:

    “W in Elba in ’06” Much to my surprise, Elba
    does not belong to either France or Italy:
    Head of State is Prince. Government ruled by 15 member council elected every 5 years. Council elects Prime Minister for 5 year term. Prince has right of veto that can be overriden by popular referendum.
    The current Prime Minister, Federico Giorgiutti, is 56, of the Liberal Democratic Union, elected 3 June 1998, re-elected 3 June 2003.
    http://ib.frath.net/w/Elba
    So I’m not sure that Elba would take Bush. My
    suggestion is to send him back to Texas and the
    give Texas back to Mexico. We can explain that
    it’s our apology for past offences, really they
    have to accept it or it would be impolite. Look,
    we’ve improved the place. Some good hospitals,
    a decent University system, really, how could
    they refuse. OK, we’ll throw in a few billion.
    After the Bush clan and LBJ it would be cheap.

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  23. MT says:

    Man can be exiled to an island though.
    “W on Elba in ’06” might just be a winning platform.

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  24. Punchy says:

    For some reason, I see this gay-bashing (the Amendment and such) really backfiring this time. Yes, they riled up their base with it last time; but since 2004, many of the traditional conservatives have grown weary. They must be damn embarrassed by this so overtly political stunt.
    This may charge up the social conservatives, but mainstream America is cognizant of this hack agenda. A pure smokescreen. Something for 10 minutes on the news that takes the place of soliders dying or Americans without health care. I will predict that newspaper editorials without exception will excoriate Bush for this shameless pandering.

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  25. Kate says:

    Good article. It appears, however, that the Republicans have figured out how to game the election process (see Robt. Kennedy’s article in Rolling Stone on the stolen 2004 presidential election), and have no compunctions about playing their crooked game to the detriment of our nation’s future. They’re continuing to rig the upcoming vote, what with requirements for photo i.d.’s, so one must wonder whether any future election will truly be reresentative of the electorate’s will. As Joseph Stalin said, “He who votes decides nothing; he who counts the votes decides everything.”
    I wish I could be optimistic about the 2006 midterm election; it’s far more important than the 2008 Big Show. Why? Because, if the Congress (both houses) isn’t taken from the Republicans in 2006, there very well may be NO presidential election in 2008. Given that G.W.B. feels that his unitary powers as a war president place him above the law, including the Constitution, why would he not simply “suspend” the election, say in response to one of his predictable election-time calamities? Think he can’t do it? That he wouldn’t do it? Don’t kid yourself! He’s already done it, e.g., his minions gamed the system in Florida to get G.W.B. appointed to his office over the will of the majority of the voters, and as R.F.K. Jr. describes, frustrated the electoral process in Ohio to continue his reign of terror.
    We’re in for some really rough sledding, my friends.

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  26. Hoplite says:

    Big Nation Building.
    You forgot that.
    This was a huge and catastrophic flip-flop by Bush.
    October 11, 2000
    The Second Gore-Bush Presidential Debate
    MODERATOR: The use of the military, there — some people are now suggesting that if you don’t want to use the military to maintain the peace, to do the civil thing, is it time to consider a civil force of some kind that comes in after the military that builds nations or all of that? Is that on your radar screen?
    BUSH: I don’t think so. I think what we need to do is convince people who live in the lands they live in to build the nations. Maybe I’m missing something here. I mean, we’re going to have kind of a nation building core from America? Absolutely not. Our military is meant to fight and win war. That’s what it’s meant to do. And when it gets overextended, morale drops. I strongly believe we need to have a military presence in the peninsula, not only to keep the peace in the peninsula, but to keep regional stability. And I strongly believe we need to keep a presence in NATO, but I’m going to be judicious as to how to use the military. It needs to be in our vital interest, the mission needs to be clear, and the extra strategy obvious.

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  27. bakho says:

    That is why Bush is changing the subject to gay marriage.
    It’s the wedding bells and they are tolling for gay marriage. Don’t Republicans realize that if a gay marriage amendment is passed, all school kids will be forced to learn about the gay marriage amendment. School will be forced to discuss gay marriage in the classroom.

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