Sunday, August 15, 2010

Progressives Underestimate Palin's 2012 Prospects At Their Peril



It's easy to laugh at Sarah Palin. Then again, it was easy to laugh at Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush: two lightweights who wound up occupying the White House for a total of 16 years. I believe progressives underestimate Palin at their peril.

As Keith Olbermann has pointed out a number of times, Palin is an idiot. The video above proves it.

However, progressives shouldn't casually dismiss Palin---or her prospects to be elected president in 2012.

Personally, I believe Palin will indeed run in 2012. And if we Democrats don't take Palin seriously as a candidate, we deserve to lose the election.

After all, Palin has a rabidly loyal following that is enjoying growing momentum. She is a genuine political phenomenon. And most importantly, she has a formidable fund-raising machine in place.

If you doubt the loyalty of Palin's base, consider this: Palin's 2009 book, Going Rogue: An American Life sold nearly 3 million copies. It is one of the best-selling political memoirs in U.S. history.

It's clear that Palin is a political and intellectual mediocrity. However, it doesn't necessarily follow that Palin has no chance at winning the presidency.

After all, the American people elected Bush/Cheney twice. (Well, not really, but enough people voted for Bush/Cheney to where the GOP could steal the vote).

If you doubt Palin could win in 2012, consider this: in 2008, nearly 60 million Americans cast their vote for Palin to be a heartbeat away from the White House.

If the U.S. economy is still in the toilet in 2012 (and I believe it likely will be), then the nation will be in an angry mood, come election time. The horrendous poison-pill economy that Obama inherited from Bush could well simply be unfixable, no matter what action Obama takes between now and then.

If 2012 still sees America mired in an economic rut, then the Tea Party and Palin will be well-positioned to take advantage of the crisis.

Anyone who doubts Palin's prospects for success in 2012 is simply blind to the reality of American political history (and the dumbing-down of U.S. culture) since 1980.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

The Pentagon's Hypocrisy On Iraqi Civilian Deaths


At long last, the U.S. is preparing to heed the wishes of the rest of the world (not to mention the Iraqi people) and begin the process of winding down the disastrous occupation of Iraq. In order to save face from this whole fiasco, U.S. leaders and the Pentagon have decided to declare the war a "success."

But there's only one problem for the Pentagon. Violent deaths in Iraqi are sharply up. In fact, 535 civilians were killed by bomb blasts or other attacks last month, an increase of 50 percent from the previous month, according to Iraqi government figures.

This inconvenient fact has posed a problem for the Pentagon.

So what's the solution? The Pentagon has bizarrely begun disputing the Iraqi government figures as unreliable.

This is truly surreal, not to mention hypocritical.

After all, throughout this whole 7-year fiasco of a war, the Pentagon has never cared about the stats of Iraqi civilian deaths. The Pentagon's stock, glib answer to the whole question of Iraqi civilian deaths has always been the same: "We don't do body counts."

Now, the "We-don't-do-body-counts" people are attacking the Iraqi government's own official civilian death statistics. The whole thing stinks of hypocrisy--the same sort of hypocrisy that has defined this war from the beginning.

I can't imagine why the Pentagon would think that the Iraqi government was exaggerating the death count. Or, for that matter, why the Pentagon would think it has more accurate statistics than the Iraqi government.

The fact is, the Pentagon has never cared about how many Iraqi civilians have died in this war. And when you don't care, you don't do body counts. (For the record, over 1.3 million Iraqi men, women and children have died in this war).

On countless occasions since 2003, the Pentagon brass have proven themselves to be liars, over and over. They lied about Jessica Lynch. They lied when they stage-managed the phony photo-op that showed the toppling of Saddam's statue. They lied when they initially claimed that they hadn't used horrific, flesh-melting white phosphorus chemical weapons in Fallujah.

In reality, the Pentagon's only real role is to secure Iraq's oil for the multi-national oil corporations that ultimately will be the only beneficiaries of this war. Clearly, the wishes of the Iraqi people don't enter the picture.

Friday, August 06, 2010

The Day Dick Cheney Told the Truth About Iraq



Any sane, rational, clear-thinking adult knows that Dick Cheney is a war criminal and a liar. But just as a stopped clock can tell the correct time twice a day, there was one occasion where Doctor Evil actually told the truth about Iraq.

In a 1994 interview, Cheney defended George H.W. Bush's decision not to topple Saddam. Interestingly enough, Cheney actually makes some sense in this interview. He even uses the word "quagmire."

Just like Donald Rumsfeld wishes the 1983 video of him shaking hands with Saddam would just vanish, I'm sure Cheney wishes that this video never existed. Because today, the 2010 Cheney (who still strongly defends the Iraq War) is a totally different person from the 1994 Cheney (who correctly predicted that invading Iraq would be a fiasco).