Friday, January 16, 2004

American Idols
I had to chuckle this morning when I heard that that the Bush administration is pushing ahead with plans to appoint an Iraqi legislature, going so far as to ask the hated United Nations for help, even though a prominent Shi'ite cleric is demanding democratic elections. The reason for the appointment scheme, it was said, is because there's not time to set up democratic elections in time for the July 1st deadline to hand over power. Not time for who? If this completely arbitrary deadline were missed, the Iraqi people wouldn't suffer as much as Bush's reelection campaign might. The July 1 date is a deadline only in the sense that the handover has to happen by then so Bush has time to bring some troops home to stand beside him at Ground Zero on September 11 when he accepts the Republican nomination. If Kofi Annan is wise, he'll drag his feet--because the only way to ensure that the UN will be meaningfully involved in Iraq (or any other place that might attract American interest someday) would be to get Bush thrown out of office.

But just because the troops are coming home doesn't mean the war is over. None of us, it seems, are going to live long enough to see that. Dick "Him Before He Dicks You" Cheney told an audience in Los Angeles this week that Al Qaeda is so big and bad and evil and awful and terrible that we will have to fight wars against them continuously all over the world for the rest of eternity, but even then we're all going to die anyway, and only Republicans can lead us effectively to our glorious, albeit assured, doom.

Good god, we've got to throw this bastard out in November.

And we're working on it. When southern states began seceding from the Union after Abraham Lincoln's election in 1860, newspaper editor Horace Greeley said that if disunion was inevitable, then "Let the erring sisters go in peace." More than 140 years later, with what might be the most significant presidential election since 1860 looming, the old Confederacy is a battleground again. Norman Solomon suggests that instead of devoting time and resources in a fruitless attempt to win votes he's not going to get, the Democratic nominee should let the southern sisters go to Bush and concentrate on consolidating the blue state base and fighting for winnable red states such as Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico.

But before we can think too much about how to win, we have to pick somebody to run. Columnist Elaine Kamarck has been following the Democratic race from day one, but it took some advice from Simon Cowell, the vicious British judge on American Idol, to help her pick the winner.

(Late additional note: Tapped notes that Kamarck is one of the founders of the Democratic Leadership Council, for cryin' out loud--the people who've been trying to foist Lieberman on us for damn near a year. So for her to endorse Dean is quite something.)

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