National Commentary

Nicholas F. Benton: The End of a 12-Year Disgrace

If Republicans now struggling to get elected or re-elected to the House and Senate aren’t saying so publicly, or in so many words, they should be. They ought to be telling the president to stop holding press conferences, stay out of their districts and just generally stay out of sight.

He might have thought he was doing otherwise, but President Bush put his own ego ahead of the interests of his desperate GOP Congressional colleagues yesterday by holding his second press conference in two weeks to yet again remind the American public about his delusional fantasies.

The only thing that matches Bush getting on national TV to once again claim the U.S. is “winning” in Iraq (a perception shared by about 20% of the American people right now) is GOP fellow-travelers like walking flatulence Rush Limbaugh ridiculing the appearance of a Parkinson’s Disease victim. He accused actor Michael J. Fox of faking it on TV ads where he supports stem cell research.

We are witnessing what could go down in the books as one of the most dissembling political party meltdowns in American history, getting ever more bizarre as the day of reckoning approaches.

These people are so used to having it all their way, including a free reign spewing Limbaugh-like ugliness in all its forms across the land without consequence, that they simply don’t know how to react to a general public that is now turning even further against them with virtually every move they make. The old rhetoric simply isn’t cutting it. Playing on public fears for its safety like a broken record is becoming almost laughable for its failure to grasp the nation’s profoundly-shifted mood.

Pushing the same old political buttons that used to mobilize the nation so dutifully now only produces backfire results. The switch for the toaster now triggers the sprinkler system. The one that is supposed to make the microwave go now activates the vacuum cleaner. GOP candidates and pundits are running back and forth slamming into each other. You get the idea.

These clowns deserve everything they’re about to get on Election Day. They’ve had it their way since their so-called “revolution” in 1994 and they’ve proceeded to stain the American history books with some of the worst excesses imaginable.

Gaining control of the Congress, they first launched a six-year witch hunt against the president, resulting in a shameful impeachment on grounds of nothing more than a consensual sexual tryst. In the light of what’s happened since, including what’s going on right now, that has to count as a public disgrace of the highest order, not a disgrace of President Clinton, but of those who had the power, and abused it, to discredit him.

Religious fundamentalist bullying has been the hallmark of their style, exercised to, among other things, stall areas of scientific research that have promised revolutionary cures and therapies.

In 2000, they stole a presidential election. A stunned American public simply didn’t think anyone in such high places could be so devious, remaining in a state of shock as the crime of the century was perpetrated. The infamous Fox News declared Bush the winner in Florida on election night, despite no grounds for doing so, Dan Rather caved, and the Bushites refused to give it up after that. They stole it, plain and simple.

September 11, 2001 gave Bush everything he needed in terms of unquestioning support from the American public, his Democratic adversaries and the media. What he did, militarily, was nothing special. But how he used his new-found political advantage was heinous.

Within a year he was diverting the public’s attention away from Osama bin Laden toward an invasion of Iraq. He cashed in all his chips from 9/11 to win a clear path to one of the most devious, lying, murderous operations in U.S. history at a cost of 650,000 Iraqi civilian lives to date.

The top levels of the GOP in Congress are disgraced or incarcerated, the federal deficit is out of control, oil prices will soon re-escalate and millions of middle class Americans with powder-keg interest-only and no-down-payment adjustable rate mortgages are about to face their own doomsday.

This crowd’s havoc-wreaking the last 12 years does not reflect the GOP of old. These so-called “neo-conservatives” crawled out of the dregs of the 1960s counterculture, armed with the manifestos of old-time Nazi benefactors to infest the GOP and conservative churches. Their rise will be an interesting story to document, but only after their ignominious fall.