[Mb-civic] The Dangers of a 'What the Heck' Vote Robert Scheer LATimes

Michael Butler michael at michaelbutler.com
Tue Sep 28 13:01:42 PDT 2004



The Dangers of a 'What the Heck' Vote
 Robert Scheer

 September 28, 2004

 Don't say you weren't warned. Yes, you, that otherwise reasonable centrist
voter who might be tempted to cast a "what the heck" vote for George W.
Bush. Don't kid yourself that the Cheneys, Ashcrofts and Rumsfelds who mold
Bush's thoughts will suddenly moderate their radical vision for remaking the
world or dampen their attacks on our treasury and civil liberties. It won't
happen: Reward their rampage of the last four years with a new mandate to
rule and they will only be emboldened.

 Four more years of the Bush administration threaten two essential
ingredients of our system of government: checks and balances on the
president's exercise of power by Congress and the judiciary; and an informed
citizenry alert to the attempts by a president to play fast and loose with
the people's future.

 On the latter point, it is dangerous to reward rather than punish a
president who exploited the tragedy of 9/11 to justify a costly war in Iraq.
A vote for Bush is a vote for the neoconservative doctrine of preemptive war
based on distorted evidence and the rule of fear. If the GOP wins in
November, why shouldn't a victorious Bush administration feel empowered in
its second term to invade another country on the basis of flimsy ties to Al

 What is to stop the administration from expanding attacks on our civil
liberties or reinstituting a military draft in order to wage an ill-defined
war on terror? Nothing, because Bush's reelection would erase the doubts
raised by his first dubious victory and validate his post 9/11 strategy of
stoking our fears while robbing us of the information and logic needed to
make rational policy choices.

 A Bush victory would mean the dominance of that unholy alliance of the
so-called Christian right and the adventurist neoconservatives over all
three branches of government. Moderate Republicans in Congress are an
endangered species no longer willing to challenge even the more extreme
elements of their party. And with the Democrats frozen into a minority party
posture, Americans can forget about any check on the hubris of the Bush

 All this would be glaringly obvious in the domestic as well as the foreign
policy area and nowhere more alarming than in the ideological shaping of the
federal judiciary for generations to come. The odds are overwhelming that
the modicum of restraint now exercised by the U.S. Supreme Court would be
swept aside by the inevitable Bush appointments in a second term. A high
court held in check by the swing vote of Sandra Day O'Connor, who has talked
of retiring, would give way to the ideological far-right judges that Bush
has been pushing onto the courts.

 The high court would become the Antonin Scalia court, faithfully served by
the rigid obedience of newly minted clones of Clarence Thomas. Scalia is the
justice who refused to recuse himself from a case involving Vice President
Dick Cheney, his duck-hunting buddy. This would be the most politically
activist court of modern time because its prevailing philosophy would be to
green-light the actions of this wildly activist president.

 We have been warned about the dangerous excesses of the Bush White House by
veterans of other GOP administrations, beginning with John Dean, who was
President Nixon's White House counsel and who has condemned the
unprecedented misuse of secrecy and national security as "worse than
Watergate." The warnings from former key players in the current
administration, such as Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill and
counter-terrorism czar Richard Clarke, document a dangerous pattern of
deceit and manipulation.

 This is the time to decide whether this country and, by logical extension,
the fate of the world should be in the hands of a leader whose essential
mode of governance mocks the ideals of a free society.

 This is too dangerous a time for voters to be blinded by the extra bucks in
those tax breaks that are bankrupting our future economy or to indulge in
some comic book fantasy about zapping the bad guys in those foreign
countries. It is a time to think hard about the unbridled power of a second
Bush term and whether you want Bush, Cheney & Co. to decide, on a political
whim, to send your kid, or the one next door, to war.

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