Electoral Politics

"Giving Kerry a Free Ride:

The Left and the 2004 Election"

Stanley Aronowitz, Portside

There is an old saw of political forecasting: "it's the
economy, stupid". Bill Clinton popularized it in his
campaign to unseat George H.W Bush and it seemed to
work, despite Bush's swift and apparently painless
victory in the Gulf War (in retrospect it was not
nearly as smooth as was initially reported). According
to most assessments, the senior Bush was defeated by
his failure to address the 1991-93 recession with bold
interventions that appeared to recognize the issue, let
alone make a real difference.

A decade later the
incumbent national administration led by senior Bush's
son, George, is presiding over a stubbornly flagging
economy. More particularly, if many Americans are
experiencing declining living standards — whether they
have a full-time job or not —, according to
conventional wisdom the prospects for returning the
president to a second term are said to be grim. If the
perceive that the government is indifferent to their
plight, they surely will not support another four years
of pain and suffering.

Upon taking office the second
Bush administration was confronted with a largely
inherited incipient recession. True to the neo-
liberal, supply-side tradition its chief strategy was
to take trickle down measures to stimulate private
investment. At the same time, after September 11, 2001
military spending soared, largely on the basis of
borrowed money, even as the economy stagnated.
Despite enacting two huge tax cuts, mostly for the very
wealthy, and reducing the prime interest rate to almost
the vanishing point — 1% — George W. Bush's first term
has been marked by job losses due to falling industrial
production amid technological displacement, income
stagnation and overproduction.

"His Master's Voice...

Bush's Mystery Bulge"

The Bush administration insisted on a condition that no cameras be
placed behind the candidates. An official for the Commission on
Presidential Debates, which set up the lecterns and microphones on
the Miami stage, said the condition was indeed real, the result of
negotiations by both campaigns. Yet that didn't stop Fox from setting
up cameras behind Bush and Kerry. The official said that "microphones
were mounted on lecterns, and the commission put no electronic
devices on the president or Senator Kerry." When asked about the
bulge on Bush's back, the official said, "I don't know what that

So what was it? Jacob McKenna, a spyware expert and the owner of the
Spy Store, a high-tech surveillance shop in Spokane, Washington,
looked at the Bush image on his computer monitor. "There's certainly
something on his back, and it appears to be electronic," he said.
McKenna said that, given its shape, the bulge could be the inductor
portion of a two-way push-to-talk system. McKenna noted that such a
system makes use of a tiny microchip-based earplug radio that is
pushed way down into the ear canal, where it is virtually invisible.
He also said a weak signal could be scrambled and be undetected by
another broadcaster.

Chuck Zlatkin writes:

Kerry and Bush, but Ralph Nader Too?

Chuck Zlatkin

I watched the third debate and I had this vision that I was watching Lyndon Johnson debate Lyndon Johnson. No matter which LBJ wins the debate or the election, this war will continue to escalate. This part I’ve lived through before.

In the current version, John Kerry is playing the part of the Great Society LBJ. The role of the good ‘ole boy Texan LBJ is portrayed by George W. Bush. It is the 1964 election all over again except this time we get an echo not a choice.

The beauty of watching this election as something scripted is that it makes it real easy to see the truth of it.

Anonymous Comrade writes:

"Strange Victory"

John Chuckman

Nothing tells us more about the odd political state of America than the recent presidential debate and reactions to it. The American debates, of course, are not debates at all. They are more a set of joint press conferences, a staged opportunity for both candidates to repeat memorized lines in a cozy environment, protected by elaborate rules and an always-undemanding moderator. Still, once in a while, something manages to happen.

Putting the Right Under a Microscope:

An Interview with Chip Berlet, Political Affairs

[Editor's note: Chip Berlet is a senior analyst at Political Research Associates and has written, edited and co-authored numerous articles on right-wing activity and government repression for The Boston Globe, The New York Times, The Progressive, The Nation, The Humanist, and The St. Louis Journalism Review. Berlet edited Eyes Right! Challenging the Right-wing Backlash (PRA and South End Press, 1995). He is also co-author with Matthew N. Lyons of Right-wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort (Guilford Press, 2000).]

PA: What are the main political forces that compose the right?

CB: You can probably divide up the right into three broad categories: the secular right, the Christian right, and the xenophobic right. Everyone to the right of the Republican Party is sometimes lumped together in a variety of ways. And although they overlap, they really make up different sectors that sometimes can agree on an agenda and sometimes can’t. So coalition-building is crucial to their success.

"Ed Koch: Only Bush Can"

Nathan Guttman, Haaretz

The former Democratic mayor of New York explains why he has embarked on
a campaign for a Republican president as the candidate who will not
abandon Israel.

NEW YORK — Ed Koch will spend a lot of time next month on the New
York-Florida shuttle. The former mayor of New York and one of the most
prominent American Jews, Koch is setting out to persuade the Jews of
Florida that this time they should vote for George W. Bush.

Even he
himself, a sworn Democrat who was elected on his party's ticket for a
number of public positions over decades, has been persuaded that this
time it is necessary to cross the line and support the Republican candidate.
Koch, who will turn 80 in December, is considered the classic Jewish
Democrat. In his most prominent position as mayor of New York for three
straight terms between 1978 and 1989, and before that as a member of the
U.S. House of Representatives, he toed the traditional party line and
was punctilious about all the domestic issues that are so important to
Democrats, especially the Jews among them.

A strident minority: anti-Bush US troops in Iraq

Though military personnel lean conservative, some vocally support Kerry - or at least a strategy for swift withdrawal.

By Ann Scott Tyson | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor

Inside dusty, barricaded camps around Iraq, groups of American troops in between missions are gathering around screens to view an unlikely choice from the US box office: "Fahrenheit 9-11," Michael Moore's controversial documentary attacking the commander-in-chief.

"Everyone's watching it," says a Marine corporal at an outpost in Ramadi that is mortared by insurgents daily. "It's shaping a lot of people's image of Bush."

The Politics of Darkness: North / South
On the Road in Gringolandia
John Ross

The ambiance inside the Garden was as toxic as an Al Qaeda bioterrorist Jihad. In the spotlight, a smugly chortling Bush lip-synched doom to 20,000 beardless Caucasian conventioneers. "This will not happen on my watch" the President pandered from the podium while the Twin Towers crumbled on the big screen behind him, apparently so brain-damaged that he did not remember that it had already happened. The Caucasians zeig heiled appropriately. "Four more years!" they regurgitated.

"Four more wars!" I screamed hoarsely and my colleagues in the press corps backed off to avoid contamination by my alarming lack of journalistic objectivity. An agitated gnome in an elephant's head hat two rows in front of me who had been haranguing the sky boxes where Al Franken and Michael Moore were quarantined to prevent a public lynching, lunged at me menacingly when I refused to stand up and cheer the bilious Bush.

Anonymous Comrade submits:

Wolfowitz Corrupts Directive Regulating Political Activity by Military

Department of Defense directive 1344.10 regulates political activity on the part of active-duty military personnel. On August 2, Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defense, amended directive 1344.10.

A comparison of the previous and revised versions of 1344.10 can be found on the Daily KOS, a blog frequented by Democratic Party activists and professionals/operatives:

More on Active Duty Military Attending the RNC

Additional Daily KOS commentary and discussion

mmmoongoddess writes:

This is from the Inter-Press News Service

"'Terror' Election Barring Voters Could Stand, Says Government Memo"
Ritt Goldstein

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Aug 19 (IPS) — A recently unearthed government memorandum prepared for the U.S. Congress addresses the power of the administration to postpone elections. But more notably, it reviews actions the executive branch might take that could preclude large numbers of Americans from casting a ballot in the coming presidential vote.

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