A Really Lame Duck

Posted by Cutler on October 05, 2006
Iran, Iraq, Isolationism, Right Zionists

There is talk these days of a Republican “perfect storm” that threatens to drown the reckless rightwing crew that have been steering the ship of state since 9/11.

If so, then the mid-term elections should result in huge losses for the Republicans and set the course for a great reversal in 2008. Hence the clocks counting down the days of the Bush Presidency.

Maybe this is a perfect storm.

But we may be in for a rough ride. And the Democrat’s GPS is on the blink.

Cheney Gone Wild

One of the frightening things about Cheney is that he seems live as though his heart [sic] might go at any minute. No future political plans. No aspirations beyond the current administration.

Cheney’s permanent lame duck status has given him an unusual level of insulation from the kind of “political” accountability that derives from the commodification of politics–polling, the next election cycle, etc.

The result has been an unusually high level of “ideological” and ambitious foreign policy, to say the least.

Thus far, however, one might imagine that these tendencies have been qualified, to some extent, by Karl Rove and the Republican party Congressional leadership who do have an eye on the next election.

This, at least, is the conclusion of the ideologues. See, for example, Norman Podhoretz on the role of “politics” in slowing the pace of the Bush revolution.

At least until the mid-term elections.

In a fascinating interview on Fox’s “Studio B,” Bill Kristol offers hope to the so-called “ideologues”: after the mid-terms, everything is possible.

Like what?

More US troops to Iraq.

More US casualties.

(During the interview, Kristol does begin to say that he would “support” an increase in US casualties. This should come as no real surprise given his devotion to the cultural politics of “sacrifice”).

This may be wishful thinking on Kristol’s part.

But what if Kristol is right?

What if Rove is restraining the Neocons because of his long-standing recognition of the powerful, “new isolationism” that runs through US political culture?

Will the passing of the mid-term elections release the Neocons from Rove’s shackles?

If so, then this is actually the calm before the storm.

What if the gathering storm includes a dramatic move to finish out the administration with “rollback” in Iran?

Would it be an enormously risky move that would almost certainly generate extraordinary instability?


But “with any luck,” the Democrats will be left holding that bag.

And they will finally deliver the political culture of sacrifice for which Kristol has been pining but which Rove has been unwilling to deliver.

3 Comments to A Really Lame Duck

  • On WNYC this morning (no link available), Ted Kennedy explained what he saw as the choice that Americans will face at the polls next month: while Republicans are united by their desire to “stay the course,” Democrats stand for the urgent need to change direction in a failing war. Was he advocating bringing the troops home? Nope. Instead, Kennedy suggests that what Democrats really want is to redeploy in Afghanistan.

  • As an aside, it looks like liberal zionists are finding much common cause with right arabists these days (even though the lib z’s are nowhere close to having influence over policy), seeking to take advantage of the anti-Iran rampup to promote a particular vision of “peace” between Israel and the Palestinians.

    Check out “Bush’s Saudi Moment” by MJ Rosenberg here: http://www.ipforum.org/display.cfm?id=6&Sub=15

  • ben, i believe it. all of this hype about how the ‘failed war in iraq’ is a key issue in the upcoming election but, as you noted, the dems want to go back to afghanistan. damn, maybe all of this karzai vs. musharraf beef has rubbed off on the dems. i mean look at the clinton/fox thing. his “i got as close to killing him” ordeal is clearly not anti-war but the dems, even bob menendez(sen. nj) has commercials talking about “i voted against the war,” trying to milk this “anti-war” thing when boss democrat himself clinton has been fighting to reinstate his reputation as an able murderer. oy vey.

    go yanks.

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