Still more on this
theme in an earlier editorial:
"Missing in Action: The Democratic Party"
Watching the Democrats, one would think that they never gave up believing in
Like little kids in December, they seem to believe that just by being nice,
Santa will deliver the gifts: election victories and control of the
The Republicans know better. They analyze, they scheme, they think things
through, they act aggressively and ruthlessly, and thus they win.
Unfortunately, the Democrats never miss an opportunity to miss an
opportunity. And opportunities aplenty are coming their way which, for the
most part, they simply ignore. For example, when one of their number,
Senator Russ Feingold, speaks up with a loud and eloquent voice, he is told
to shut up. Demanding censure of the outlaw President, he is told by his own
party, is “not nice.”
One begins to wonder if the Democratic Party really wants to win in
November. If they keep on behaving as they have, and if conditions remain
essentially as they are now, they won’t win. The Republicans will have a
lock on that election:
Provided conditions remain essentially as they are now.
Now the good news: it is virtually certain that conditions will not remain
essentially as they are now. Beneath the placid surface of our body-politic,
stresses are accumulating that could result in a seismic political rupture.
(I’ve listed these “stresses” in my
Reality” and so will not repeat them here). More conspicuously: Bush,
Cheney and their war are becoming ever-more unpopular, public trust in
Bush’s competence and his honesty is likewise eroding, the mainstream media
is beginning to desert Bush and his administration as the media continues to
lose its credibility with the public. Still more moderate Republicans,
libertarians and evangelical Christians are
Following John Dean, Kevin Phillips, "Pete" Peterson and John Eisenhower in
2004, now its Bruce Bartlett, Francis Fukuyama, Larry Wilkerson, and Paul
Pillar. Even Chris Matthews, who once compared Bush to Henry V and
Winston Churchill, has had it with Bush’s and Cheney’s lies. To Don Imus,
he said just last week:
“From the beginning everything about how they've got WMD's, they are a
threat to us, they are going to bomb us with a nuclear weapon, this
country is going to be an easy liberate, it's going to be a cake walk. As
Cheney said as recently as ten months ago the insurgents are in their last
throes. Everything that is said is not true... They don't want the
whole truth out and that's the fact."
Whether or not the Democrats will wake up and seize the offensive in the
upcoming election campaign remains to be seen. But of this we can be
confident: the Democrats must venture forth and seize their victory. Santa
will not bring it to them just for being passively “nice.”
A Descent into Despotism.
Critics who use “the F-word” (Fascism) to describe the Bush regime are
denounced as “shrill” and “irresponsible.” Are they? Consider this:
when Bush signs bills from the Congress forbidding torture and warrantless
surveillance, he issues “signing statements” which states that he is free to
ignore these laws when, at his discretion, he chooses to do so.
And now this: “Last month ... President Bush signed into law a bill that
never passed the house.” [Mercury News, link lost] In effect, this demotes the Congress of the
United States from a law-making to
an “advisory” body. Add to that the fact that Bush and his party
are “elected” with privately owned and operated, unverifiable “black box”
voting machines and compilers, conveniently provided by GOP partisans. So it
comes to this: rule by decree by a “leader” who has placed himself above the
law and beyond recall by the voters. If this does not define a
“dictatorship,” I don’t know what does.
Meanwhile, the Congress, the courts, the media, the Democratic Party, and public acquiesce in
We’ve not fully descended to totalitarianism. Dissent, however muted, is
still tolerated. (But don’t you dare protest within sight or earshot of “Our
Leader”). Those of us who continue to criticize the regime have not
yet been charged with “thought-crime,” and sent to “re-education camps.” Not
So the task before us is not to protect our democracy; it’s too late for
that. Our task is to restore our democracy, to re-institute the government
we once had, “deriving [its] just powers from the consent of the governed.”
Election Fraud: “The Dragon at the Gate.”
If the Democrats are to capture at least one house of Congress in
November and if, as a result, the American people begin to take back their
own country, the party must first of all slay the dragon at the gate:
election fraud. For, as anyone who dares face and study the evidence must
appreciate, because GOP partisans build the unauditable machines, write the
secret software, and count 80% of the votes, “the people’s will” at
elections is essentially irrelevant. The election results are simply what
the GOP wants them to be, as they were in 2000, 2002, and 2004, and as they
will be again in 2006 – provided conditions remain essentially as they are
Accordingly, the restored integrity of the ballot is the sine qua non
of the overthrow of the Republican autocracy in November.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Party, those “useful idiots,” steadfastly refuse
even to recognize that there is a problem with the voting machines and vote
Nevertheless, the electronic voting scam is beginning to unravel, thanks to
the determined efforts of a few dedicated individuals, an uncensored
internet, and ad hoc citizen organizations along with all too few
maverick politicians (notably John Conyers and Russ Holt), and despite the
determined indifference of the Democratic Party and the mainstream media.
More and more e-voting outrages, failures, and statistical impossibilities
are coming to light, and even breaking through in the media (most recently
California, and the public is beginning to take notice. This awareness
accomplished some significant victories, notably in New Mexico and Maryland,
where “black box voting” has been abolished by state law. If this trend
continues, and if
few available albeit unused modes of verification are put in play, it is
just possible that November’s election with be sufficiently (if not totally)
honest to put an opposition party in control of at least one, and possibly
both, houses of Congress. Then a balance of powers will be restored and the
investigations, with subpoena powers and threat of perjury and contempt of
Congress in play, may begin to probe the corruption and abuses of power of
the Bush regime.
So, once again, opportunity knocks at the door of the Democratic Party. But
if the Party persists, with the cooperation of the corporate media, in
ignoring this opportunity, then that Party is once again likely to snatch
defeat from the jaws of victory.
Three roads diverge...
How will all this play out? I wouldn’t be so bold as to make a
prediction. But we might speculate about some alternative futures, so that
we might prepare ourselves accordingly.
Worst case – “The ‘Z’ Scenario:” Final descent into totalitarianism.
In Costas Gravas’ 1968 film, “Z”, a popular movement is on the verge of
overthrowing an autocratic regime. Then the leader of the opposition is
murdered, and the ruling junta immediately imposes martial law and
dictatorship. Could that happen here? As opposition to the Bush regime
grows, as evidence of corruption and election fraud becomes widely known,
this could lead to a crackdown on dissent, and a roundup and imprisonment of
dissenters. Another terrorist “Pearl Harbor” could be the catalyst. Or
possibly a new “pre-emptive” war with Iran.
A step too far – Cf. Russia, August, 1991. Is there a limit to how
much abuse “the establishment” (the military, Wall Street, the media, the
CIA, the courts, the federal bureaucracy, even the Churches), the Democratic
Party, and the public
at large will tolerate? Is there a point when these institutions turn
around, dig in their heels, and say “no more!”? These institutions, along
with the public, have the means to bring down the Bushevik regime. There are
When in Russia, the Communist Party attempted “the Z scenario,” the people
and the military would have none of it. The people resisted, the Army
refused to fire on the citizens, and the coup failed, and that was the end
of the seventy years of Communist rule and the Soviet Union.
And when the extent of Richard Nixon’s villainy was exposed by the media,
the courts required him to surrender his evidence, and at last his
Republican Party deserted him.
The CIA has been demeaned by the Bushista excuse that the Bush
Administration “misled by
bad intelligence.” Furthermore, the Administration exposed a CIA case officer, Valerie Plame Wilson, in
an act of political retaliation, at the cost of compromising a vitally
important counter-terrorism operation and possibly the lives of several
agents. A top-down revolt at Langley is highly unlikely, given the fact that
the top offices have been given to Bush loyalists. But that is not
necessary. “Further down,” intelligence strategically leaked, and blackmail
strategically applied, could have devastating consequences for Bush, Inc.
As for Wall Street (the financial establishment), how much longer can they
fail to appreciate that by supporting Bushenomics, they are scuttling the
ship they are riding on – that they will not escape the coming Bush economic
Then there’s the military. What if Bush attempts to launch an attack on Iran
in a desperate attempt to salvage a GOP win in November, and thus prevent
those Democratic Congressional subpoenas and investigations? Will the
military, having been ordered to fight and die in a meaningless and
dishonorable war in Iraq, finally refuse?
I imagine the following scene in the Oval Office, as Bush orders the strike:
“Mr. President,” says the General, “our boys will go if they can follow
you into Iran. So put on your flyboy suit, climb into the cockpit, and do
your wild-blue-yonder thing, just like that President-Dude in
“But you know I can’t do that! I’ll crash and burn!”
“The thought has crossed our mind.”
The “step too far” may have desirable consequences, most significantly a
restoration of our democracy. But it could be cruel and bloody, and the
“winners,” the CIA or the military, just might not share our loyalty to
democratic ideals. We could end up trading one autocracy for another. Just
consider what followed the Russian counter-revolution of 1991.
Best case – A Velvet Revolution, November, 2006. This is the outcome
that we should work toward.
Due to constant pressure from law suits, the progressive internet, citizen
organizations, and the demands of ordinary citizens, the Democratic Party
finally wakes up and actively demands action on voting fraud. The issue
becomes too big for the mainstream media to ignore. While e-voting is not
banished all at once, it is barred from enough key races that the Democrats
take control of both houses of Congress. The e-voting fraud is finally
exposed and then, following Congressional investigation, exposure and
legislation, all unverifiable voting methods are outlawed.
Public repudiation of the mainstream media becomes so widespread that the
media conglomerates face the choice: responsible journalism or bankruptcy.
Congressional investigation exposes the political corruption of the mass
media. In 2008, a Democratic administration initiates anti-trust action
against the media conglomerates which are then broken up, and the FCC
institutes and enforces regulations against market concentration.
The new Congress cuts funding for military operations and for base
construction in Iraq. Chairman Henry Waxman of Government Reform Committee
convenes hearings on corruption in government contracts in Iraq and military
procurement. These are followed by criminal indictments and convictions of
numerous members of the Bush/Cheney Administration.
The House of Representatives votes bills of Impeachment against both George
W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Conviction by the Senate fails when the Republican
Minority votes in a block. However, the political power of the Bush
Administration is effectively ended. In the 2008 election, the Republicans
in Congress pay a heavy price for their support of Bush and Cheney.
In 2009, the new Democratic president repudiates the doctrine of pre-emptive
war and the precepts of “The Project of the New American Century.” He then
takes active steps to repair international alliances, and to restore the
reputation of the United States in the World community.
And what about the Democratic Party? I began this essay with a
condemnation of the Party, and yet end with the hope that the same Party
will act aggressively to regain power, and responsibly as they apply that
power. How is it possible for the same Party to be impotent and
irresponsible now, and aggressive and responsible in the near future?
Answer: it must not be the same party.
Today, many life-long Democrats are justifiably disgusted with their Party.
I am one of them. The Party today is “Republican Lite,” staffed with
comfortable DC regulars, many of whom are accomplices (if only through their
passivity) to the corruption in Washington.
This disillusionment with the Party has led many progressives to leave and
join The Green Party, and other minor parties. One result was the loss of
Florida in 2000 and the "selection" of George W. Bush.
So this is my advice to the disaffected Democrats: Don’t abandon the Party,
take it over. This is what the Religious Right did to the Republicans. Had
they instead formed a minor party, they would have been insignificant, and
the United States would now be a very different, and much better, country.
On the other hand, a major party that is “taken over” by its grass roots,
will have an organizational structure, an institutional memory, and
financial resources – essential assets that are hopelessly out of reach of
If you hate what the Democratic Party has become, I’m with you. Together we
can make it a party that we can be proud of and support with enthusiasm. And
also, a party that can win – as it must.
Copyright 2006 by Ernest Partridge