Democrat Candidates 2008

Aquarian Weekly 3/14/07 REALITY CHECK


Eyes on the PrizeI tried to avoid this. I really did.

We’re 11 months from a primary and 20 months from the actual 2008 Election Day, and yet almost every news source, annoying blog, damnable 24-hour news channel, and political media outlet is hemming and hawing about the candidates. There must be 40 of these people, of which about five have the cash, balls, or the will to endure the nearly two-years of repeated and vicious beatings from the press and each other. In some cases it has already begun. And in a current media climate wherein a Britney Spears haircut and the death of an airhead spawn front pages and ’round-the-clock coverage, it’s as juicy as juicy gets.

Granted, this time it will be as different as any of us have ever seen much less covered: No incumbent. Hopefully Dick Cheney will be dead by then, but if not, pretty much as useless as he is now. He’s a doddering old maniac as it is; can you imagine if he had to sell himself as a legitimate candidate? Wow. Many smart constitutional historians are on record as stating if a monster like Cheney even considered running for president the very concept of democracy would fold in its wake. He is the sole reason Captain Shoo-In will never be impeached.

So assuming cat litter would torch the vice president in an election, the field is wide open. The parties are currently in flux. Republicans are still licking their wounds from this past November’s disaster and will be straddled with a lame duck Frat Boy in the Oval Office who, if track record is any indication, will likely be in the low teens in approval ratings by summer’s end. The Democrats, wild with enthusiasm now, seem on a collision course for populist fall-out, and must make a better stand against the Iraq occupation or face a hiccup in their momentum.

This is the real reason I was reluctant to cover the candidates so early in this thing in the first place. Sixty days is a long time in Washington. In 600 days there might not even be a Washington.

But the pull is strong. We do not make the news here, we comment on it. And far be it for me to turn my back on the pomp and bull that has already begun on the campaign trail. And so, for our first commentary on the 2008 presidential race, we give you the early tale of the tape:


Hillary Rodham Clinton

Key Word: Ambition

The most dangerous of all candidates because she thinks she deserves this. Years of eating her husband’s shit for this opportunity has made Clinton angry and determined. She has more money behind her than any candidate in history already.

Key Strength:

Mean Senator Rodham has the worst kind of humans running her campaign, not the least of which is her morally bankrupt husband and the demon Terry McAuliffe. Both men have no souls and are as wicked as homo sapiens get during campaigns. This will serve her well dismantling all comers.

Key Weakness:

Calculating The former first lady is the most hated among front-runners. She rubs people the wrong way because she is disingenuous at the least and a flat-out lying machine at her worst. Her shifty move to the center on the Iraq occupation has alienated a good many Democrats and will make securing the primary against anti-war sentiment tougher.

Creepiest Moment Thus Far:

Internet Launch Anyone not getting the willies watching that “Let’s have a chat” announcement of her candidacy on the nifty web site evidently enjoys watching kittens strangled.


Although she is manlier than Dennis Kucinich, she does have a vagina. This is extremely troubling to a majority of this backwards, puritanical nation of goobers. Good luck.

Barack Obama

Key Word: Untainted

Obama has been in Washington for 15 minutes, and he will remind you of this repeatedly because the bellow for change in ’06 and backlash over bipartisan bickering has reached new heights in the supposed “fragile national psyche”. This also makes him the media darling, for now. Remember so was Howard Dean weeks before the primaries, and in a mere hundred hours was road kill.

Key Strength: No Record

The new kid on the block means having no nasty, binding voting record, or even the kind of vacillating, flip-flop debate-addled nonsense that killed the Kerry ’04 campaign. No one knows what the hell this guy stands for, really. He can make it up as he goes, which, for a while, keeps him fresh and desirable. But, again, time has a way of marching on, or in the case of Teflon candidates, marching over them.

Key Weakness:

Lofty Expectations

Right now Obama is perfect: Young, optimistic, handsome, a completely new hybrid of race, personal metal, and enthusiasm. In other words: Completely impossible to live up to over the long haul. The littlest sheen is removed and the sharks come a-courtin’. Check out the whole David Geffen fall-out. Insiders are already questioning his silly; “I will not play politics of personal destruction” craziness. And well they should.

Creepiest Moment Thus Far:

Lincoln Reference Obama standing on the steps of the Illinois Courthouse invoking the name of Lincoln makes even the most starry-eyed of his worshipers cringe. It’s not bad enough this guy is compared to a young JFK, we have to start the Lincoln parralells now?


Okay, someone needs to point out that a preponderance of the national voting public finds it impossible even considering liberal Democrats, a black guy named Obama with the middle name Hussein is asking a lot. Good luck.

John Edwards

Key Word: Populist

Edwards is the perfect presidential candidate: A white lawyer from the South who promises roads paved with gold. They may as well just have picked him from central casting. He has more experience (on the national stump and in congress) than any other front-runner, and has, thanks to disasters like Katrina and many of the middleclass not benefiting from a steadying economy, captured the populist “Two America’s” concept well.

Key Strength: Not black or a woman.

Key Weakness: Already a loser as VP candidate once

This is a tough comeback for anyone not named Nixon. Creepiest Moment Thus Far: No one could forget those kissy-face sessions masquerading as debates between Edwards and Cheney. Outlook: Least exciting candidate for primaries, but history and voter trends put him as the most electable. I’ll believe change when I see it.


Dark Horse: Bill Richardson – Most qualified, great record as governor (governors normally get elected) and sits in the weeds during these vacuous, almost meaningless early months. But can he raise enough money to combat the big boys and girl?

Long Shot: Al Gore – I have spent an adulthood comparing him to Nixon. If he comes back and people naively recall his 2000 near-win as something of an omen and there is a logjam at the top, he could (gulp!) make a run. No Shot: Joe Biden, Wesley Clarke, et al.

NEXT WEEK: Republicans

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Bush – 1 Democrats – 0

Aquarian Weekly 3/7/07 REALITY CHECK


The president needs a check and a balance. This president hasn’t had one, hasn’t listened to others, including his top military commanders, and it’s about time he did. Harry ReidAnd Congress, I think, has the responsibility, not just the power, the responsibility to speak out and to change the course when you have a failing course, which is what we’re on in Iraq. – Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Senator Carl Levin of Michigan “Meet The Press” 2/24/07

The public is saying, ‘We hired you to get out of Iraq – now figure it out.’– Tom Matzzie, Washington director of the anti-war group

Yup. And yup.

Guess what?

Coming up on six weeks now since Nancy Pelosi dragged the kid-props up to the rotunda on Capitol Hill with her nifty gavel, and she is, along with dozens of her fellow Democrat freshman congressmen, officially full of shit. This shatters the Republican Revolution’s record set in 1995 by nine months, an amazing feat of deceit even by my low-ball standards. Somewhere Newt Gingrich is green with envy. He is no longer the king of shallow congressional promises. Long Live the Queen!

Why is Pelosi Speaker of the House? The Democrats control Congress. Why do they control Congress? The Republicans have stunk up the joint, spawned several deviants, and the Iraq occupation has turned out to be one of the most egregious embarrassments in U.S. military history. What did all of the Democrats promise if they took power? Make the president accountable and force his hand in continuing this strategic atrocity. Have they done this? No.

The collective reasoning? We tried, but there is too much opposition from Republicans and not enough support or votes or a scintilla of a sane idea or plan from us…yet. What a shocker! Campaign promises gone awry. Wow. I am stunned. Democrats weak, unorganized and ill prepared? Hard to fathom. Nothing is going to change? Holy Kick-Boxing Jesus you can knock me over with a feather.

At the time of this writing, Congress has given up trying to curtail this president’s murderous folly to spike troop numbers into an all-out civil war. This is bad news for voters (suckers) who sent these lying sons of bitches to do the work of the American people in the first place. As usual, the concept of voting has failed us, leaving the only solution promoted by this space for close to a decade: Ready your muskets.

As usual, the concept of voting has failed us, leaving the only solution promoted by this space for close to a decade: Ready your muskets.

Man, I never tire of writing that. It rolls off the tongue like “Be all you can be” or “Where’s the beef?” or “The greatest show on earth” and all the other hyped folderol that separates us from our money or limbs.

How much longer before we have a draft, kiddies? How much money is left in the coffers to dump into this suicide mission? How much more damage can the architects of this four-plus-year fiasco be allowed to cause?

Christ we ask a lot of questions. Maybe we should just accept this spectacular string of incompetence with a song and a smile.

Well, at least we finally have prominent employees of our government coming to grips with the brutal truth we’ve been tossing around here for years now: The mess in Iraq can no longer be rationally referred to as a war but an occupation. The “stay the course” policy, while genuinely hokey and broadly stupid, has registered nothing in the way of stabilization much less victory, and whatever becomes of the chaos and destruction we’ve ignited in Iraq if we abandon ship, it can no longer include American lives without defining it as cold-blooded murder.

Senator Levin’s impressive if not uneven appearance on “Meet The Press” notwithstanding, we still have but a flaccid non-binding resolution from the Democratic-controlled Congress and more cowardly filibustering from wounded Republicans, and our Boy President still gets to push his chips (military lives) onto the table blindly hopeful of dealing into an inside straight.

I would give anything to be on Jack Murtha’s payroll right now. Just so I could see the crimson begin to fill his pallid features. Oh, yes. It is an ugly sight, made uglier only by what is happening to Ted Kennedy’s exploding head.

“Iraq is going to be there – it’s just a question of when we get back to it,” announced Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid this week.

All righty, then. Why doesn’t Mr. Reid tell that to the soon-to-be slaughtered kids ushered off to this meat grinder? Iraq may still be there, but unfortunately they have no such guarantees.

And why don’t those gutless Republican jack-offs who keep blocking any debate on a diverse plan of attack join them. Mike Castle, Howard Coble, Tom Davis, John Duncan Jr., Phil English, Wayne Gilchrest, Bob Inglis, Sam Johnson, Ric Keller, Mark Steven Kirk, Steven LaTourette, Ron Paul, Tom Petri, Jim Ramstad, Fred Upton, Jim Walsh, among others are trading on more lives and tons of our tax dollars to save the obliterated legacy of this aborted presidency. All of these men should never see another term in the service of this country. And we will lend all of our undying support and meager resources to seeing them destroyed.

I know why George Bush has to remain steadfast. As stated ad nauseam in this space for years now, it’s an all or nothing proposition for him. Everyone with half a brain save Dick (keep your sunny side up) Cheney – insert your own joke here – believe things will turn out well if the clock were to buzz on this disaster. As long as Captain Shoo-In keeps it alive, no one can say he officially lost. But this is the very reason why the most nationally focused mid-term election since 1994 swept in a new party, a party that ran crazy on anti-war rhetoric, but has come up dismally short. And now, instead of some semblance of order, a lean on the never-ending madness of King George, we have more of the same.

“House Democrats met for an hour and a half behind closed doors trying to figure out what exactly the Democratic position on Iraq is,” says our pal, Tucker Carlson. “Democrats say, ‘we were elected on our position on Iraq’, but isn’t this the kind of thing they should have thought through as a group maybe before the election?”

And once again we say…yup.

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War vs. Occupation In Iraq

Aquarian Weekly 2/14/07 REALITY CHECK

WAR VS. OCCUPATION Congressional Quagmire Over Defining Terms & Objectives

We had to pay people in cash, so the cash disappeared. – Lewis Paul Bremer III

It’s been approximately one month since the 110th Congress took power and three weeks since our challenge to it to enact the will of the voting public: Cease and desist the dead-end course currently being enacted by ineffective leadership by using its control on the purse strings of the federal government to force the president’s hand.

Follow The MoneySo far there’s been a whole lot of nothing.

Oh, there have been debates and resolutions thrown around in the usual grandstanding fashion, plenty of posturing, and a lengthy argument over whether the speaker of the house should get her own jet. Meanwhile the last remaining war hawks slap amendments on the end of proposed bills that send the things into a sinkhole of jabberwocky until they are rendered impotent and grind proceedings to a halt. And there is always an infinite stream of claptrap about failing to meet “procedural demands” and a goddamned verbal joust on whether to proceed with even the most innocuous non-binding resolutions.

Business as usual. No change. Talk, self-aggrandizing, lies wrapped in rhetoric, and childish finger pointing. Same old shit. And the president is steadfast, as usual. He has to be. This is his legacy being blown to bits in Baghdad. What’s another life to this lunatic? There’s been so many anyway. He will not stop this madness. He refuses to alter his suicide mission. That much has been established. So what is the public’s recourse? What do they tell us in all those obnoxious ads: Vote or Die. Your Vote Counts. Exercise Your Right.

A whole lot of nothing.

This past November the prevailing motivation to oust the Republican majority was this seemingly endless occupation in Iraq that everyone still mistakenly calls a war but is not. It is policing, rebuilding, struggling to keep the peace in the middle of a Civil War, but it is not a war. It is a money pit. It is a meat grinder. It has compromised this supposedly critical war on terror. But it is not a war. Don’t let them sell you on that, either side: The anti-war or pro-war geeks. They want to make this grander than it is to either continue it or stop it. It cannot be stopped. And it certainly cannot continue. It has to be fixed. Will it?

A whole lot of nothing.

Ah, but our watchdog committee here at the Reality Check News & Information Desk did detect some measure of progress on the hill this week. A congressional investigation committee probing the roughly $8.8 billion pissed away during post-war shenanigans is finally beginning to come to light.

These fucking morons, helpless, myopic, ego-mad jackasses took literally tons of our tax dollars (stacked in blocks on pallets and shipped to nowhere) and squandered it, siphoned it, hoarded it away while inflaming a powder keg.

Paul Bremer, the American proconsul in Baghdad for 11 months succeeding the initial seizing of Iraq, was exposed last week as the co-architect of massive fraud and embezzlement in this outlandishly botched reconstruction effort. Working directly under the consistently inept Donald Rumsfeld, Bremer was in complete and unchallenged charge of creating a “new Iraq” from scratch. The outline of his ill-advised attempt to gut the Iraq Baathist regime, deconstruct what was left of the Iraqi Army, and disband all civil services first drafted by Reagan reject, Douglas Feith, effectively launched the post-war quagmire that exists today.

Under Bremer, the Coalition Provisional Authority reportedly caused the first quakes of segregation between Shia and Sunnis by instituting a quota system for those hired to work in the rebuilding committees, thus tying political issues with religious and cultural ideologies. Not that these maniacs needed any prodding, but the uneducated and pompous way Rumsfeld and his ilk ran things speaks volumes on how badly ill-equipped these idiots were in dealing with a potentially volatile social situation.

Further investigations by journalists in country, like Washington Post correspondent, Rajiv Chandrasekaran, who spent the entirety of Bremer’s tenure in Iraq, report that while recruiting Americans to the reconstruction plan his coalition put a greater priority on the ideology of potential employees – whether they were pro-life or displayed Republican Party loyalty – than whether they spoke Arabic or had even the most fundamental understanding of Middle Eastern sensibilities.

Chandrasekaran, whose eye-opening account of American blunders in post-war Iraq, “Imperial Life In The Emerald City”, cites that “an enormous amount of goodwill following the overthrow of Saddam Hussein” was tragically squandered by an unyielding commitment to “enshrine a formal occupation”.

Here’s where the rubber meets the road, squire. These fucking morons, helpless, myopic, ego-mad jackasses took literally tons of our tax dollars (stacked in blocks on pallets and shipped to nowhere) and squandered it, siphoned it, hoarded it away while inflaming a powder keg.

Now we get to the heart of the disaster: For the first time a serious inquisition on the post-war handling of money, defense, and democratic restructuring of a nation is in motion, and not whether it was sound policy to expunge Hussein from power in the first place. Thus, a serious look at what is transpiring now, not four years ago, but now: A tactless, immoral occupation of a foreign sovereignty rendered dysfunctional by our aggression, failed planning, and general stupidity.

This is called “getting real” in Beltway speak, something rarely borne out of the swirling tide of fancy speechifying and angry retorts. It is great theater, but as functionary as bull tits or fish bicycles unless someone is made to pay and something is made to change.

Will it?

So far…

…a whole lot of nothing.

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Dead Man Talking

Aquarian Weekly 1/31/07 REALITY CHECK

DEAD MAN TALKING Baby Bush’s Garage Is On Fire

This is not the fight we entered in Iraq, but it is the fight we are in. – George W. Bush State of The Union Address 1/23/07

How many more?A death rattle echoed through the chamber Tuesday night as the remains of the 43rd President of the United States meandered through a few flaccid domestic issues that no one has any attention in seeing through and then moved onto the main topic of the night, what every frothing pundit from coast to coast was creaming to hear: Military Surge In Iraq. Predictably, despite growing dissent from generals on the ground, a few ship-bailing exercises at the Pentagon, a minor exodus from key Republican senators, and mid-term election results that voiced national concern, George W. Bush is not backing down.

There will be a military build-up.

The only question remains will the Democrat-controlled congress fund it or not. Non-binding resolutions are cute, but they have as much bite as loonies waving signs in the streets. The process of this republic was set up a little more tangibly. As stated last week in this space, Congress is granted the power to represent the people and act accordingly. They talk tough, we will see.

But the fact remains that if this president sends any more Americans into the cauldron that is Iraq now, (unless it is 150,000 to 200,000 strong, as suggested by trained military minds, not draft-dodging milquetoasts like Dick Cheney) it is a suicide mission and nothing short of first-degree murder. Planned. Manipulated. Cold and calculated. He will affectively take that dark turn into warmonger and rouse the ghost of Lyndon B. Johnson.

Why would we think differently?

How many times do we let these idiots screw this thing up at the cost of American lives and boatloads of cash?

How many times do we let these idiots screw this thing up at the cost of American lives and boatloads of cash? I’m not sure I’m all in favor of a mass-exodus either, but it is abject folly to allow those currently in charge of this botched occupation to make any more decisions. Enough is enough. Either do the job right, or don’t do it at all.

Analogy time!

(Warning: The following paragraphs are replete with blatant and juvenile metaphors, but we’re running out of fancy ways of saying the same fucking thing.)

Let’s say, for instance, you took your car to the Baby Bush Auto Garage. The old girl has been burping up hills lately. A hint of burning oil is evident when you hit the gas. Perhaps there’re even some additional noises in there. He tells you his staff is experienced with these types of problems. They’re chomping at the bit to do a major overhaul. You’re skeptical at first, you’ve been screwed by mechanics before, but there is some significant evidence that the car will soon break down and leave you stranded. You tell Baby Bush and his boys to have a crack at it.

After a few weeks, it’s done. From first look, the car is practically brand new, and for the first month or so it runs fairly well. It isn’t exactly the souped-up roadster the blustery Baby Bush promised, but it’s better.

Oh, but wait, after a few more weeks a couple of different burps and odors arise, and yup, looks like the original problems are returning. You bring the car back. A steadfast Baby Bush is adamant about another go-round for a nominal fee. He also assures you that it isn’t the same problems after all. Now it’s the transmission and some breaks are needed. You’re pretty skeptical, again, but you’re already into the repairs for a good sum of cash and these guys are pledging like mad that they’re the right men for the job – “We love your car more than any we’ve had in here!” they exclaim. Against more cautious judgment, you let them have at it.

After about a month or so of excuses and revisions in the diagnosis and more proposed costs, you return to the Baby Bush Garage to find the car in serious disrepair. Jesus Tap-Dancing Christ! You’re now convinced these guys are not just incompetent, but crazy. One of them is stomping on the hood, another stands around kicking the tires mumbling incoherently, and still others are doing god-knows-what. It’s an odd scene, but Baby Bush has now informed you that if not for these eccentric but brave souls the car would be declared dead and buried. They are so close to not only reviving it, Baby Bush tells you, but also making it like new, saving the very nature of auto travel for you and everyone on America’s byways.

At this point you want to have your car towed out of there and run for the hills. Forget the whole thing ever happened. But what if Baby Bush is right? What if you only wait a couple of days more -you’ve waited all this time, and all of it on blind faith – and you’re beloved car will be yours again, running smooth and true. And what if these apparent lunatics are onto something big? Once more you leave with trepidation, but you figure one more chance at this juncture won’t be the end of times.

Two or three days later you return to find that not only is your car complete engulfed in flames but the crack Baby Bush team is ranting and raving like savages. One of them is on fire and the entire garage is exploding all over the block. You are understandably appalled. You demand your poor vehicle back, or compensation, or something. Out of the carnage Baby Bush strides confidently towards you, smiles, and calmly says, “Okay, I have one more plan.”

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Challenge To The 110th Congress

Aquarian Weekly 1/17/07 REALITY CHECK


What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? – Thomas Jefferson

Hammer Of The People?After a dozen years, the Democrats own congress. Nancy Pelosi is the first woman Speaker of the House in the 215-year history of the United States Congress. She is also the first Italian-American to hold the post. It is a cultural phenomenon, a political revolution of sorts. And none of it happens without the will of the people. Well, the will of the people, a shitload of corruption, a lousy president, and one whiz-bang of a bungled post-war effort.

Now what?

The celebration is over. The thud you hear is the high of November victory plummeting into January reality; a rough trip, even for hardened street fighters like Pelosi and her gang. They struggled long and hard for this, pitched a lot of dubious promises, and now say the right things about the first 100 days of power, and Social Security, and Minimum Wage, and National Health Care, and blah blah blah.

Great. Fine. Have a ball.

Know this: The American people, Republicans, Democrats, Independents, casual observers, catatonics at Bellevue Hospital in New York, are extremely unhappy about the goings on in Iraq. Peeved, you might say. Fed up is more to the point. This is the main reason why they lined-up at the polls in record numbers for a Mid-Term Election. Don’t be fooled by America all of a sudden getting the Liberal Bug or queasy on God and hyped about Gays or jazzed about tax hikes. And most of these angered hoards couldn’t be bothered to raise an eyebrow about bi-partisan warm and fuzzies either.

Here’s what the American people said on November 7, 2006: We want answers. Concrete action. What’s going to be done about this military mess? What is the plan? Where are the answers? Timetable? Movement? Change? Accountability? Functionality?


And the American people will get their answers one way or the other. Because now their president is standing tough with talk of increasing troops, giving it one last shot to make good on this high-stakes gamble of his: One last ride on the rodeo for the Faux Texan and his wounded hawks. Defiant. Purposeful. The question remains: What does the Congress do as the new Voice of the American People, the only true and binding dissent to this seemingly bottomless abyss?

Soon, we will see.

Here’s what the American people said on November 7, 2006: We want answers. Concrete action. What’s going to be done about this military mess? What is the plan? Where are the answers? Timetable? Movement? Change? Accountability? Functionality?

The talking is over. The debate and speeches and rip-roaring fury are but a memory. Now it’s time to take the blabber and prognostication and get into the action.

Will we see the president ask this new Congress, this new Democrat-controlled Congress, for increased funds for this last ditch surge? 20,000 strong. Fuel for the fire. You betcha, sonny. Will it have the collective balls to deny the troops? Will it have the fortitude, the “political capital”, to steal a goofy phrase, that it takes to say NO. Not “first voting for before voting against” nonsense – but NO. Will this one-third body of our blessed Checks and Balance system do some checking and balancing, or will it carry the water for the 2008 Presidential Campaign their Mother Hen, Hillary Rodham is currently running.

Politics as usual? Power play over enacting history? Words over truth?

Or action.

Ah, to be the outsider throwing stones now holding the locks to the glass doors.

Cindy Sheehan is not going away. Thank the Lord. Any time someone is painted as a nut by those in charge or as a mere curiosity by the mainstream media there is a good chance that there’s some serious embers there. Not the kind of smoke you usually get from groaning celebrities or vapid pundits, but the kind of protest that sticks. Pissed. Moaning. Motivated. Real. As real as a mother of a dead son gets. And that’s plenty real, mista.

Now the Democrats are in the firing line. More so than the president. Everyone knows the president is not backing down, nor should he. He’s president, after all. Commander-in-Chief. Head Honcho. Congress gave him the latitude to run amok, and amok he has run. His fingerprints are all over this bloodbath. And while things continue to spiral into further chaos he is not going to let it go, not unless he gets the outcome he bargained for. The only barricade to this madness is Congress now. The Congress the American People put in there – the Democrat-led Congress.

If these elected officials, our employees, our representatives, fail to stand tall against this president, or a segment of them fail to do it, and not with talk but votes, I will print their names here, and I would urge my readers who agree with the concept of their government speaking for its majority to write and call and harass the culprits.

If Congress does enact the people’s will (its basic purpose and design) then it will force George W. Bush to an impasse equal to Lyndon B. Johnson in Viet Nam. Finally, after years of trumped-up comparisons, Bush’s Iraq will truly enter the realm of Johnson’s greatest folly and forever cement this president’s legacy as an unrepentant warmonger.

It’s over. There is nothing to be gained by escalating the fighting. The time to properly conduct this campaign was three years ago. We failed to finish the job. The only reason to send the young to die now is to save the face of a fractured presidency and the marred reputation of a nation. Not good enough, bub. Not now. Not ever.

So now it’s time for the loyal opposition to spread its wings and take flight. Either that or become another useless gaggle of windbags warming seats until the next steaming pile of feces tap-dances its way into our hearts.

What’s it gonna be, folks? What’s it gonna be, Nancy?

We’ll see.

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Aquarian Weekly 1/10/07


History is a myth that men agree to believe. – Napoleon

For some sad reason only known to the gods of misfortune, I found myself listening to the “Imus In The Morning” radio broadcast sometime during the surreally long week of funeral events surrounding the passing of our 38th Gerry Footballpresident. Our pal, Mike Barnicle, of Fabricated Story fame, was unabashedly stating that all this talk 33 years ago about “a deal” regarding Gerald Ford’s pardoning of Richard Nixon was patently false and in fact “may have been one of the most heroic deeds in modern presidential history”. The colossal absurdity of this nonsense sent a stinging stream of coffee to the back of my throat. I was flummoxed, or as flummoxed as a hard-ass cynic could be. It was a stunning observation even for Barnicle, world-famous for stupidity. It was then, as I struggled to get my vehicle under control, that I planned on writing this rebuttal.

Believe me when I tell you I had no intention of wasting two paragraphs on the human doorstop that was Gerald Rudolf Ford or his misnomer presidency. The whole terrible fiasco had safely slumbered in my memory banks like a hazy college speed binge. The images were vague if not frightening. I recollect something about a puppet man holding the fort after the 37th president torched the U. S. Constitution, but it was fuzzy and disquieting, and I chose to let it go, make my peace with the whole debacle. Heal.

Yes, and then the old fart had to up and croak and I couldn’t turn on a network or cable news show for 150 hours without some dink waxing poetic about Ford’s dubious legacy. But I even ignored that, understanding that there’s nothing us humans love more than belaboring burials, honoring our country, and/or reconfiguring unpleasant history by constructing beloved myths. Why I even heard one of Saddam Hussein’s kids talking about how much he loved the family pooch. Sure, and Hitler loved his dog too. Loved it so much he fed it cyanide so it wouldn’t have to watch daddy shoot himself.

Look, respecting the dead and supporting the grieving is one thing, but a complete revision of history is the worst kind of sin. This hooey about Gerald Ford doing anything approaching “heroic” or the blind patronization of his freeing a criminal as “healing the country” or the meaningless celebration of he being “a regular guy” is as maudlin and saccharine and silly as it gets. How anyone chooses to sooth the pain of loss is none of my business, to each, his own. Here’s where I get involved: When grieving and flowery speeches replace hard news and cold fact.

Reality Check, baby.

Gerald Ford? His wife did more for this country by guzzling turpentine.

Here’s all you have to know about Gerald Ford: He was the ultimate team player, a Football Guy. He took one for the team soon after the Kennedy Assassination and once again after Richard Nixon made a mockery of governance. Gerry was our sacrificial lamb, saluting bravely and keeping his mouth shut like a good capo. He was a cover all his life, a beard for the awful things that needed to be done to stay the American course. He may just as well have worked for Tony Soprano.

How anyone chooses to sooth the pain of loss is none of my business, to each, his own. Here’s where I get involved: When grieving and flowery speeches replace hard news and cold fact.

And I would have gladly returned the favor. Kept it under raps. Let the boy off the hook: Poor bastard, what could he do? They offered him the vice presidency to keep the Republican Party from closing shop for good. Protect the country from the Big Bad Commies. This was his sworn duty.

Ford and his Democrat buddy, power-broker Tip O’Neill, along with Al (“I’m in charge now!”) Haig laid the groundwork to get Nixon the hell out of a mutilated White House and set him free to wander the beaches of Sacramento like some kind of doddering madman who’d been haunted by gremlins and beaten by ego. O’Neill and his cronies would never have allowed a beast like Spiro Agnew anywhere near the title of chief executive. He was a hateful creature and did everyone a favor by defrauding the government and evading taxes. Haig? Well, old Al made a deal with the devil; let’s leave it there. And good ol’ Gerry, the Team Player, played ball.

Nothing wrong with any of it, mind you. It’s politics as usual. Covered weekly in this space. Well documented in the annals of time. I’m sure Gerry Ford was a nice guy, good father, and an upstanding citizen with many fine qualities. He worked hard as a congressman, served the Navy well in the Big War, did the Shriners proud. But it pales in comparison to his decision to push the whole Watergate disaster under the rug, make like it never happened. Smile and go on.

Very nice. Very brave. Very weak. Very gutless.

You decide. Just don’t make shit up.

Republicans, however, should erect shrines to Gerald Ford. He did stem the tide of total extinction. People forget the utter black hole that was the final months of the Nixon Administration, or whatever was left of it. The entire episode teetered on constitutional crisis. I laugh every time I hear a badly conceived comparison to it, as if Clinton getting hummers and lying under oath or Baby Bush trumping up faulty intelligence to avenge daddy’s enemy could ever approach the atrocity of Richard M. Nixon. By all rights the entire Grand Old Party should have gone the way of the Whigs in his wake. But to his credit, Ford stopped the bleeding.

Not so sure his tourniquet was so good for the rest of us, but it did spare Nixon from justice and help elect Ronald Reagan and two Bushes.

But then Gerry was always adept at keeping his finger in the damn. He did it quite well as one of the chosen few to sit on the Warren Commission; a quickly cobbled smokescreen to fill whatever unsightly holes pocked the JFK assassination. Many would argue the group still stands as the focal point in one of the grandest of cover-ups, others may bandy about its rush to judgment to keep the wolves at bay, or at least Fidel Castro at bay. Either way you look at it, the Warren Commission, of which Gerald R. Ford was the last surviving member, took one for the team. Swept out the nastiness, shooed away the curious, and glossed over the glaring incongruities of shady doings, helping the nation “heal” from the shock of a fallen leader.

So Ford was, in the end, the perfect caretaker of a wounded federal government and the savior of saviors for the Republican Party. But this does not make him a national hero. It doesn’t make him a villain either. He just was. A cog in the great machinery of government. Another in the long line of parts grinding along.

Final word on Gerald Ford: He just was.

Sorry Barnicle. Sorry network geeks. Sorry revisionists.

And that’s the unremarkable truth.

Go ahead and twenty-one-gun salute that, I’ll finish my coffee.

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Iraq Study Group Report Dissected

Aquarian Weekly 12/13/06 REALITY CHECK

PUNCHLINE IRAQ Study Group Report Final Nail In Bush’s War Coffin

“Grave and deteriorating.”

“Decades to play out.”

“Enough troops are simply not available.”

“Withdrawal would only lead to bloodbaths.”


Light ReadingThe above are just some of the ominous lowlights strewn along the 142-page Iraq Study Group Report released the first week of December to what can only be described as the walking corpse of a presidency.

“The ability for the United States to influence events is diminishing.”


There is the end, and then there is THE END. In Iraq, now, we have hit the latter. For all purposes of intent, the presidency of George W. Bush is finished. He will wait it out for two more innocuous years because of constitutional law, nothing more. Everything he bet his gig on has gone belly up. The check has been cashed. The piper is due. The die lies still on the table. It is over. Way over. Too late, the hero.

“Humanitarian catastrophe.”

Crash. Boom. Bang.

It is Tuesday morning and the gambling axioms tumble down – the back-door cover never came, the horse did not place, the bluff failed. Here comes the bookie. His humor left home, his rancor full-bore. Here stands the leader of the free world without another penny to wager, our penny, stuck in his hand like the harbinger of midnight. Captain Shoo-In’s fancy coach is officially a rancid pumpkin.

There are no more alleys to turn into on this one. First it was ties to 9/11, then a cadre of Weapons of Mass Destruction. When that didn’t stick it was toppling an evil regime in an unstable area. Then it was restructuring the region with democracy. Then it cleverly morphed into “Stay The Course Or Lose Miserably”, doom and gloom, utter chaos unless we see it through. Then the tried-and-true Losers Quit-Americans Stand Tall. But all of it seems like some kind of sick joke now. Historians will scratch their heads. “The Boy President had his chance,” they will say. “One chance to grab destiny, and he tragically fumbled it away.”

The walls are closing in now and the allies are few and far between. The architect of this disaster in Iraq, Donald Rumsfeld, is long gone, sent packing while the administration leaks lame memos from the fallen demagogue as if there was some queer notion he was horny with reality after six years of swearing to fantasy. The rough-and-tumble UN bully, John Bolton, is also toast, his brash house-cleaning nothing but a flaccid pecker-waving exercise in futility. Nothing has changed, except, of course, his forwarding address.

The big-time hawks are now running scared too, their plans sullied, their mighty rhetoric flayed. Gnashing of teeth is in vogue at the Pentagon these days, where they are heard weeping down the corridors, each one of them wondering what the hell happened? How did we, the strongest, richest, nation on earth wage a war so ineptly, so myopically, as to render what was a wounded, vengeful, united nation into a mass war protest? This was a popular war, now it appears to be the worst kind of murderous sham.

I knew that incredible pile of bullshit about Axis Of Evil was dumb, but now it looks like something out of a world-class charlatan snake-oil rap, and if the only way to save face in Iraq left us is to suck up to Iran than just torch the damn place and get the fuck out.

Shock & Awe to Shame & Angst.

Not an easy ride to the bottom. It took screw-ups of the most stupendous kind. Everything and everyone failed. It is a slam-dunk, to use a most-unfortunate phrase. There is not one party, not one faction of this federal government, not to blame on this one, a bottomless sinkhole of guilt.

You want to know how badly things have gotten? The Iraq Study Group is not only suggesting but clamoring for an alliance with Iran. An alliance with Iran? If that isn’t the final tolling bell of defeat nothing is. Iran is bankrolling, instigating, and perpetuating the worst of the sectarian violence in Iraq. The second Saddam Hussein went kaput the Iran party train was tooting into the station. Now, after nearly 3,000 American troops dead and thousands upon thousands of innocents slaughtered and maimed, we are going to pow-wow with proudly belligerent terrorist loons salivating to turn the planet into a Jew-killing spree?


I knew that incredible pile of bullshit about Axis Of Evil was dumb, but now it looks like something out of a world-class charlatan snake-oil rap, and if the only way to save face in Iraq left us is to suck up to Iran than just torch the damn place and get the fuck out. It is an absolute slap in the face of anything resembling honorable and decent, a complete ramrod ass-ream to the American people, whether they be staunchly ant-war or blindly gung-ho.

There is no way this government can justify a scintilla of the past three-plus years of this foul mistake with that kind of move. I dare Junior to cop to it and get out of town with a shred of legacy beyond humiliated goober, his scarred credibility shackled like Houdini in a water-box.

The incoming Secretary of Defense went screwy the other day in front of Congress admitting there was no way we are winning the war; a war, by the way, we already won but then was suckered by some half-baked idea to rebuild the country and use the United States military as some kind of traffic-cop force stuck inside a cultural abattoir. The brain-damaged elite even cheered the Gates performance. This is the final resting place for foreign policy – the pundit-intelligentsia doing back-flips of joy over the new defense czar taking one for the team.

If the Bush track record with study groups is any indication (please refer to the 9/11 Commission’s ignored recommendations for three consecutive years) then there are going to be a lot of disappointed people around here. But election results, firings, and a host of scurrying bigmouths are a persuasive avenue to changing policy. When ten bipartisan think-tank dignitaries, who have served four presidents, compile, in print, every war decision you have made and stab gaping holes in them all, there is time to pause.

The joke is over.

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Dems Sweep, GOP Weeps

Aquarian Weekly 11/15/06 REALITY CHECK

DEMS SWEEP, GOP WEEPS Angry Voters Shift Balance Of Power & Scold Confounded President

Cry ‘Havoc,’ and let slip the dogs of war; That this foul deed shall smell above the earth With carrion men, groaning for burial. – William Shakespeare

Shock & AweThe scorn of the final tally is fierce. When motivated, the electorate can be predatory, and election results, a thing of brutal beauty. On November 7, 2006, do not let it be said that the rail was not long and the ride not swift. Republican ass was systematically booted, a tenderized morsel masticated and spit out by the American voter like so much chum. The finality of it, a cold dish of dizzying trauma, signals it is not merely over, but really over, so completely and utterly over that it is hard to fathom without grave contemplation – a flogging worthy of historical record. Defeat pure, concussive and lasting; a degrading experience in every way.

What transpired in this Midterm Election, a national referendum on folly, malfeasance and war, will be dissected for years this way: For the first time in six election cycles one party thoroughly obliterated the other for reasons of legislative ineffectualness and the repeated and pathetic failures of the executive order. Many careers went belly up. Reputations were desecrated. No witnesses dared deny the hurt.

There are only two examples in the last half century to equal the beating the Republicans took last Tuesday, the Midterm elections of 1946 and 1994, both GOP landslide victories against first-term Democratic presidents, one who did not want to be president in the first place, and told everyone so, Harry Truman, and the other, a loose cannon, Bill Clinton, who only became president because of a bleating little troll called Ross Perot.

Let’s face it folks, there is Midterm backlash in the normally dysfunctional second term of a president, a well-known American tradition, and then there is the absolute and crushing devastation George W. Bush endured those last excruciatingly painful hours of Election Day, 2006.

Do you have any idea how striking and total the Democratic storm to the House of Representatives and, even more stunningly, the Senate is to political junkies like yours truly? Do you realize how difficult it is for the Democrats to now be sitting on a 30-plus- seat blow out after a decade of wild redistricting and gerrymandering? Jesus, man, if not for that, the Democrats may have captured 50 seats.

Defeat pure, concussive and lasting; a degrading experience in every way.

After the dismantling of what was left of the Democratic Party following its doomed 2004 presidential bid, could anyone with half a brain have predicted this kind of vicious throttling? Maybe a slight shift of power in the House, but this?

And the Senate? Not a single soul on either side of the political fence could have seen this coming. Even now it is unconscionable to swallow an entrenched redneck like George Allen Jr., once the darling of the Grand Old Party, and glassy-eyed dreamer for the White House in 2008, losing to a nobody anti-war geek like Jim Webb in Virginia! Nor is it the least bit conceivable that an ultra-conservative state like Montana, and even much of Pennsylvania, and the normally Republican-stronghold of Ohio, would allow their GOP candidates to be summarily dismissed at such a dizzying rate.

Around 10:30 on Election Night, the groaning visage of a beaten and ravaged Ken Mehlman, Chairman of Republican National Committee, became the symbol of the evening’s humiliation. He could barely cobble together a sensible reaction to the whole thing. His party coming apart at the seams, he appeared on television like a man standing helplessly by as a gang of street thugs raped his pet and keyed his Beemer. And no one with an ounce of sympathy could blame him. Long-time, high-functioning representatives like Anne Northup and purported senatorial lifers like Rick Santorum were being snowed under, rejected, as if they had been caught in some horrible set-up, jacked by Ashton Kutcher for cheap laughs.

Later, Tom Delay, poster-child for corruption personified, made shameful public attempts to undercut what was fast becoming a thrashing so embarrassing he’d be lucky to have his parking validated on K Street after midnight. His failure was absolute, but not as finite as former Golden Boy, Karl Rove, who was found early Wednesday morning skulking around Georgetown simpering like a wounded dog. His only friends were winners, and when their gravy train derailed, they left him to toll the final bell like Hugo’s Hunchback.

The most stunning fallout of this dramatic shift of power was the immediate erosion of the formerly unyielding firewall of a president who conducted a bizarre post-game press conference as if emerging from a car wreck. Disoriented and puzzled, the artist formerly known as Captain Shoo-In sold three years of steadfast support for “staying the course” or the other nonsense his vice president spewed recently about “full speed ahead” on the Iraq policy by sacking Donald Rumsfeld and agreeing to hear a “fresh perspective” on the war effort.

Through the looking glass and over the rainbow, the Cowboy Prince appointed dissenting voice, and former George Bush Sr. advisor, Robert Gates to Secretary of Defense. Then, in a moment usually reserved for outlandish soap opera twists, announced he would conference with the pragmatic realists over at the James Baker Institute for further advisement.

Sources close to the cold-cocked administration reported finding the remains of Dick Cheney clutching his chest in an insignificant, almost emasculated lump on the Oval Office floor.

The very sight of Democrats bigwigs like future House Speaker, and Liberal viper, Nancy Pelosi dancing like conquering Vikings on televisions across the nation had quite obviously disoriented the Bush Team. No one within ten blocks of Pennsylvania Avenue was even willing to admit there was an election until Howard Dean, vehement opposition to the Iraq War for three years, started squawking about how the new Congress needs to be careful not to pull out of the war too soon, nor waste precious time holding those in charge accountable.

Hardcore professionals know the clarion call of the victor when they here it. Suddenly Dean, the goofy outsider throwing stones at the glass house, found himself inside; a strong waft of power filling his flared nostrils, and gory visions of Patton on a binge prancing around in his swimming head. He was heard to whisper, “God help me, I love it so.”

The people have spoken.

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Conservatism VS. Fundamentalism

Aquarian Weekly 11/8/06 REALITY CHECK

CONSERVATISM VS. FUNDAMENTALISM Final Battle For The Soul Of The Republican Party

Jerry FalwellOne week left for the Republicans to defend their turf. One week left before the final nail is driven in the Revolution’s coffin. One week to go for the tattered remains of the Contract With America before it is likely shuffled off into blessed ignominy with every other spectacular line of steaming bullshit shoveled upon the voting public. One more week before…gulp!…the Democrats take the stage once again.

Seems like only yesterday Newt Gingrich and his charges swept into town as the power-tie cavalry and promised to clean up the corruption, trim fiscal bloating, and finish the job The Gipper began in 1980. Conservatism: Less government, more individual freedom. But, alas, the new order went the way of the old order – Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Today, with 12 years of Republican control in two branches of the federal government, corruption abounds, pork is aplenty, and no one seems to know how to protect the borders, wage a war, or save the nation in time of national crisis, hurricane or terror.

What happened to the dream, some may ask. I will not be one of them. The dream, as John Lennon once wrote, is over, mainly because there never was a dream. Rhetorical power drives and ideological demagoguery, but not really a dream.

I don’t believe in Beatles.

Exactly, Johnny.

But failure to overcome the greatest human frailty – pure greed and a lust to horde, in this case power over promise – is not the only downfall of the modern Republican surge of 1994. Nope. The Republicans went wrong because the party that claims to have a direction – and appears so primarily because the other party we’re stuck with is woefully devoid of direction – has none. It is divided. It has lost its way.


Conservatism vs. Fundamentalism: Fundamentalism won.

No one affiliated with this charade wants to admit it, beyond the old guard: William F. Buckley, George Will, and Pat Buchanan. But somewhere along the line the purveyors of true Conservatism bastardized it, sold it down the river for votes and popularity and special interests. Don’t worry. It’s not the first time this has happened in politics. It happened to the rotting corpse of Liberalism too. And it’s bound to happen again.

You see, when Barry Goldwater ran for president as the first strongly opinionated right-winger in 1964, and was savagely painted as a war-mongering despot by the sanctimonious LBJ clan, he did so as a true Conservative. He wrote a book about it. He was pro-environment, pro-choice, and pro gay rights. He even fought against Jerry Falwell and his medieval Moral Majority thugs at every turn, the ones who now run this government and press their atavistic Stone Age agenda as holy war.

Truth is the Republican Party has been hijacked by religious zealots, who ignore the very tenets of Conservatism by wishing to use the Bible instead of the Constitution for a framework of civil rights and a guideline of governance.

Truth is the Republican Party has been hijacked by religious zealots, who ignore the very tenets of Conservatism by wishing to use the Bible instead of the Constitution for a framework of civil rights and a guideline of governance.

Then there is the subject of Fiscal Conservatism, of which this Republican Congress and the present administration patently ignores.

Today, if Goldwater saw a Republican President of the United States signing off one hundred percent of the domestic spending for six consecutive years, funneled to him by a Republican Congress spending nearly half of the national budget on rebuilding the ideological face of entire regions across the globe, while getting re-elected on “moral” grounds and not from performance record, he would never stop puking.

Not since the Great Society of massive government programs has a president or a Congress passed this level of domestic spending in one six year period. Even factoring in two wars, anti-terrorist provisions, and the rate of inflation, this is still one of the most bloated federal governments in the history of this nation. What, I ask you, is conservative about that?

Okay, never mind Goldwater, what about the other Conservative sacred cow, Ronnie Reagan?

Here’s what the aforementioned Pat Buchanan told me about that six years ago when he bolted the Republican Party for an independent run for president; “If Ronald Reagan ran as a Republican it would be a far different story than what they’ve got now.”

The sad truth about Conservatism is that it is, like most isms, a lie. There is no Conservatism to speak of, not the actual original concept, but a weirdly translated coagulation of political agenda and fear mongering. Not unlike Christianity, or the neo-corporate version of it exploited by fundamentalist freaks or organized clans. Mostly, the term Conservatism, and its home base, the Republican Party, has been sold out by the Religious Right, which corrupted the party platform and got a religious fanatic elected president on the assumption that he is pure and true and takes his cue from Jesus Christ.

This is how morality puppets are allowed to attack sexual lifestyles and scream murder of innocent babies on the floor of Congress, beat the floorboards against Hollywood and South Park and video games while they funnel billions into government-created sink holes like Homeland Security and No Child Left Behind and Medicare bills which grease the palms of no-bid contractors and union creeps and pharmaceutical conglomerates that buy and sell this country from the inside, sucking our resources and jilting the populace.

I might agree or disagree with many intellectual and philosophical concepts behind Conservatism, modern or otherwise, but I know one thing, real conservatives would not support nation building, which the current administration and Republican-controlled Congress does. Nor would real conservatives tinker around with the touchy illegal immigration issue, which this lame Congress continues to do. And real conservatives certainly would not allow the Federal Bureau of Investigation to spy on its citizenry with the most inclusive and abusive laws yet known to this republic.

How in the world these performing seals like Rush Limbaugh, who claim to be conservatives but are really just interested in playing party barkers, can continue to defend this two-dimensional fraud is as perplexing as the National Organization For Women defending the actions of a misogynistic predator like Bill Clinton to promote its national agenda.

Look, this week, when the voters speak, and perhaps the Republicans lose the House and/or the Senate, many will look to the failed Iraq War, or the rampant corruption, and the malaise of a “do-nothing” Congress. But this space chooses to believe there may be, praise God, a swing in the phony fascist Holy Roller contingent whose days of influence and bullying are numbered.

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2006 Midterm Senatorial See-Saw

Aquarian Weekly 10/25/06 REALITY CHECK

2006 Mid-Term ElectionsA HOUSE DIVIDED

Mark Foley In the grand make-up of this republic there is little more convoluted a practice than midterm House of Representative elections. Redistricting, quitting, dumps, retirements, backlash, and overall national fervor for or against the party in power make it virtually impossible to predict, not to mention the discrepancies found in polling. You see people are generally willing to be polled on issues and campaigns, but rarely show up to actually cast a vote in non-presidential years. Therefore, in the case of the particularly close races, it is anyone’s guess as to the ultimate outcome, which casts incredible pressure on the incumbents and a fair amount of doubt in races where seats are left vacant.

Not to mention the pangs of guilt and shame heaped upon journalists, pundits and the cream of the jock-sniffing elite. There is gambling, and then there is trying to prognosticate House races three weeks from paydirt, and chief, there isn’t a bookie alive that wouldn’t be willing to take that kind of bizarre action. The odds are long and money changes hands so fast there is a twisted kind of inertia that sets in, destroying futures, wrecking marriages, and sending locked real estate exchanges into infinite limbo.

Yet, as usual, I cannot turn away.

All 435 seats in the House of Representatives are up for grabs, of which 50 can be considered something close to competitive. After careful and mind-numbingly boring research conducted over three days of eye-twitching caffeine abuse, the Reality Check News & Information Desk’s crack staff whittled the number of key races down to 22.

Currently, Republicans hold a 232-202 advantage with one Independent leaning left. Democrats need a net gain of 15 seats to wrest control. Really, it comes down to a few seats, because if the Republicans can manage a split, they will retain control.

The races in question include many of the aforementioned open seats spread over 19 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont and Wisconsin. Open seats increase the chances for Democrat gain and Republican remorse, a more likely scenario with each passing day.

These 22 “up-for-grabs” races, in essence, become this year’s Battleground States, and to some extent, expand the silly concept that Florida or Ohio elects a president, as they did in the last two hotly contested presidential campaign years, and will ultimately decide the survival of the Democratic Party as presently constituted or usher in two entertaining years of investigations, arrests, resignations, and maybe one glorious spring of impeachment proceedings on our boy president.

The names are not important. Believe me. No one who reads this space gives a flying flatulence who is actually running and why. Are you hanging your democratic resolve on the Rick Renzi/Ellen Simon battle for 1st district in Arizona? No, you’re not.

There is gambling, and then there is trying to prognosticate House races three weeks from paydirt, and chief, there isn’t a bookie alive that wouldn’t be willing to take that kind of bizarre action.

In all due respect to the Renzis and Simons, half of these people are despicable and desperate, but the end game is threefold: Which party will own the legislative branch, what does it mean for the future of Washington politics for the remainder of the Bush White House, and how does a petulant balance skew the sinking vessel of oozing hubris that is Capital Hill.

As stated last week in this space, normally midterm elections reflect the mood of the country in the first go-round for a president. Mainly, they ride on local issues. Even in the case of this year’s second term mess – wherein Republicans have been abandoning the Pennsylvania Avenue ship in serious numbers and the president is not helping anyone maintain traction, no matter how many gin-martinis Karl Rove ingests in preternatural fits of animal paranoia. The ghosts of Mark Foley, Tom Delay, and Duke Cunningham might not even be enough to save the Democrat cause.

How soon we forget that in the fall of 2004 nearly two-thirds of the electorate deemed George W. Bush’s handling of the Iraq War underwhelming at best and criminally demented at worse, yet he is still president. So this white noise punditry about a disgruntled country over a never-ending, dubiously-constructed conflict thousands of miles away affecting how Idaho or Georgia voters will lean is crazy talk, and not a fair assessment of how the House will go for the next two years.

However, it is our duty to delve, and delve we shall – if only locally.

Here in New Jersey, Republican incumbent Mike Ferguson has taken more than a little shit for the $57,000 he received from the dark-hole fund bag of Tom Delay, whose very name conjures defeat in GOPland. His challenger, however, the newbie, Linda Stender, offers only an exhale in a predominantly liberal state both revolted with the Iraq War and still horrified over Democrat despot Jim McGreevey, the formerly expunged governor who has turned the derision he’s received for years of money-laundering, backroom dealing, and other modes of heinous criminal activity into homosexual discrimination. If I were gay I’d root out this son of a bitch and smack him silly on principle alone.

Next door in New York, four races roll along neck-and-neck. The most notable involves long-time incumbent, Republican Peter King, who is one of the few staunchly conservative congressman who remembers the early-nineties revolution. King is a major player and a key voice of the ruling majority, and is in some trouble. His challenger, fellow Long Islander, Dave Mejias has gained momentum the past few weeks. This race is one of the many across the nation that reflects not only local issues but also the national furor. It may well be a siren song for Republicans and a telling microcosm for this thing come November 7.

Let us pray for poor Tom Reynolds, who has been likely doomed by the Mark Foley sexcapades.

On a national level, of the 22 states mentioned as toss-ups, the Democrats are likely (a very weak likely – please see opening paragraphs above) to increase their bulge by a net of seven seats. But there are far too many “ifs” on the Republican side in too many of these tight races. And again, many of the open seats give the Democrats a nudge, but how much of a nudge?

So, against all better judgment, and with over 15 years of defeats to consider, this space must report that the Democrats will take the House, ever slightly.

If so, round up the outlaws.

If not, bury the dead.

But I’m not betting on any of it.

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