Among people who call themselves "progressives," it is common to hear George W. Bush derided as an idiot, a fool, an incompetent. In reality, "Bush is clearly the most successful president in modern history," having stolen two elections, wrecked the Constitution and pursued wars with no end in sight - all with absolute impunity. The Democrats' pitiful weaknesses are Bush's strengths, the reason he prevails. Unless he is impeached, Bush's legacy will last long beyond his term in office, since "a Democratic president will not undo what Bush has wrought" - not Obama, not Clinton. "The lack of movement politics and dependence on the hapless Democratic party have made the Bush winning streak possible and guarantee that it will continue after he leaves office." Bush is triumphant. The "opposition" has failed.
"The Bush winning streak will continue after he leaves office."
The Clinton/Obama nomination battle is filled with ironies. It is important to watch, yet it is also a side show, a dangerous distraction from other developments. Obviously it matters who gets the nomination and in this tight race, how they go about getting it. But it must never be forgotten that George W. Bush still sits in the White House. His presidential powers are not diminished and he clearly has no intention of coasting through his lame duck year.
Bush has little reason to back down. His goals in 2008 are to leave his office to John McCain, and set the stage for continued Democratic support for his awful legacy. A kangaroo court show trial complete with a 9/11 conviction might do the trick.
While two people with essentially the same voting record battle as if they were actually different, six men will be tried by military tribunal at Guantanamo, charged with planning the September 11th attacks. They will face the death penalty if convicted. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is among them, a victim of "extreme interrogation" techniques before he confessed to killing journalist Daniel Pearl, planning 9/11 and causing bad weather.
"Bush's goal is to set the stage for continued Democratic support for his awful legacy."
Not only have the six accused men been denied due process in the American judicial system, but this military tribunal will be conducted in a presidential election year. Neither the media nor the Democrats have asked why they have not been charged until now, despite being in United States custody for years.
Neither Clinton nor Obama has pledged to end these travesties of justice and violations of international law. Both speak only vaguely of closing Guantanamo. Clinton goes out slightly further on the limb, saying she would determine on a case by case basis whether the federal courts or court martials should be used to try prisoners. Not surprisingly, Obama won't go that far. "I think it's important to be careful about commenting on specific cases pending before the tribunals at Guantanamo Bay." In other words, Obama will continue the Bush policy of violating the Geneva conventions regarding treatment of prisoners. Bush still wins.
George W. Bush is an intellectual mediocrity who was never legitimately elected president in the first place. He now faces Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress and has an abysmal approval rating. It never seems to matter. Bush is clearly the most successful president in modern history.
"Obama will continue the Bush policy of violating the Geneva conventions."
Where has he failed? He wanted to win by hook or crook, and he stole an election. He then perfected the art of electoral theft to insure more Republican victories. He wanted to loot the treasury for the benefit of corporations and wealthy individuals and he has. He wanted to invade Iraq, steal its resources and make it a cash cow for corporations and he did just that. He wanted to expand his power to conduct surveillance on anyone and he did. He declares that the president is above the law and can do anything he wants, including hold citizens indefinitely without trial. He has done that as well.
If anyone needed further proof that the evil Bush legacy will outlive his term, look no further than Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. As if Americans don't have enough reason to be embarrassed, Scalia left the country and spewed his evil thoughts on foreign soil. In a BBC interview he told the world that America will keep torturing, executing and violating international law.
First he went for the low hanging fruit, the movie plot scenario that justifies barbarity. "Is it really so easy to determine that smacking someone in the face to find out where he has hidden the bomb that is about to blow up Los Angeles is prohibited by the constitution?"
He was just getting warmed up. He thinks capital punishment is just fine and that Europeans really want to be evil too, but their governments don't represent them. "If you took a public opinion poll, if all of Europe had representative democracies that really worked, most of Europe would probably have the death penalty today."
"A Democratic president will not undo what Bush has wrought."
It was bad enough that a representative of our legal system insulted foreign governments, but Scalia spoke for Bush when he said that world opinion was of no importance. "I don't look to their law, why do they look to mine?" In other words, shut up, assume the position and let Uncle Sam have his way. Why shouldn't Scalia speak those words? They have worked so well for his president.
The lack of movement politics and dependence on the hapless Democratic party have made the Bush winning streak possible and guarantee that it will continue after he leaves office. John McCain proudly asserts that the occupation of Iraq might go on for 100 years. Clinton and Obama claim they will draw down troops but with so many conditions attached that the occupation will never end. The Iraqi death toll will continue to mount in a Clinton or Obama administration.
Without impeachment, Bush will continue his awful policies without opposition. The goal of securing a Democratic victory will by pyrrhic. A Democratic president will not undo what Bush has wrought. Whether John McCain or a Democrat wins in November 2008, Bush will have stolen yet another election.
Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgandaReport.Com. Ms. Kimberley maintains an edifying and frequently updated blog at freedomrider.blogspot.com. More of her work is also available at her Black Agenda Report archive page.