Political Season Begins

I believe this week marked, for all practical purposes, the beginning of George W Bush’s midterm election campaign. Bush launched his umpteenth “non-political” speaking tour to elucidate the public about the events in Iraq, as though he has anything worth hearing on the subject to say. The American Legion Convention looked like a good launching pad for this campaign offensive — a safe bunch of hawks in a safely Republican state of Utah (the strange blue dot of Salt Lake, and mayor Rocky Anderson, notwithstanding). Donald Rumsfeld thus spoke his effectively campaign speech, raising the specter of Neville Chamberlain. Neville Chamberlain is the last historical reference refuge of a scoundrel. Keither Olbermann thus had his At Long Last, Have You No Sense of Decency moment.

Meanwhile, the semi-offical propaganda outlet of the RNC, Fox News, furiously beat the drums of war for a military strike on Iran. As White House chief of staff Andrew Card said in 2002, “From a marketing point of view, you don’t introduce new products in August.” Or maybe you do, but just in the last week of August.

To get the most undiluted wad of Republican talking points, you turn to the dumbest and least independent-minded member of their cadre — Sean Hannity. Thus we get the specter of Speaker Nancy Pelosi as the tactic to bring out the beleagured base of the Republican Party — and the old saw is that midterm elections turn on whose base cares. I can’t picture anyone beyond the base who’d care about, at worst, “new boss — in some respects same as the old boss, and a check on this tired old government.” Even if the label “Limosine Liberal” fits Pelosi to a tee.

The latest issue of Weekly Standars is already out of date. The magazine had an editorial on the bump Bush was receiving due to the foiling of the British Liquid Terror Plot. The bump never materialized, but we all try to will such things into existence.

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