Thursday, April 22, 2004

Ask an Expert
'Twas ever thus--I left town for a couple of days and the news piled up while I was gone. Here's a quick trip from headline to headline.

News that the White House redirected $700 million meant for Afghanistan to war-planning for Iraq means we can now "follow the money" in the Iraq affair, just as Deep Throat urged Woodstein to do in Watergate days. At TomPaine.com, Thomas Asher hears the echoes of Watergate in many of the administration's activities--and suggests that if Bush's ship starts sinking and rats begin getting off, the echoes could grow louder as the number and size of the administration's scandals increase.

When Watergate first hit the fan, Richard Nixon famously said, "I don’t give a shit what happens, I want you to stonewall it, let them plead the Fifth Amendment, cover up or anything else, if it’ll save the plan." Bush's refusal to admit any mistakes is a 21st century version of the same thing. Mark Morford wonders why it's so damn hard for Bush to say he's sorry.

One way for Bush to change course without admitting he's changing course might be to bid farewell to Dick Cheney. I am on record as saying I don't think this will happen, although Slate's Timothy Noah thinks there are solid political reasons for dumping Dick--chief among them that Cheney's adios might appeal to the all-important swing voters, if they are uncomfortable with Cheney as the administration's unfettered id.

Swing voters don't necessarily have to swing from one major party to another. The Christian Science Monitor reported this week on the potential impact of third-party candidates of various stripes on the 2004 election. It ain't just Ralph Nader who should cause worry--the Monitor says 20 percent of voters consider themselves disaffected from both major parties, and could cast their ballots in many different ways. It's worth noting that for all the anger directed at Nader voters in Florida last time, the fact is that several third-party candidates got more votes than the 523 or so by which Bush carried the state. So perhaps it wasn't entirely Nader's fault.

Recommended reading: On this Earth Day, you might want to hazard a few minutes inside the brain of the Heritage Foundation's Edwin J. Feulner, who explains that Earth Day is a misnomer, and that we ought to call it "Growth Day," because nothing is better for the environment than economic growth. You might want to celebrate it by taking an unnecessary trip in your car because, Feulner says, cars have actually improved the environment a great deal, by replacing the horse, and replacing all the waste horses generated (which, he says, "was itself a dangerous form of pollution") with much safer exhaust.

Maybe he's right. After all, when it comes to horseshit, nobody knows more than the Heritage Foundation.

Correction: Cream does in fact boogie, on "Spoonful" and "Crossroads." Your correspondent regrets the error.

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