Conservatives: Exactly How Bad Do Things Have to Get?
By W. David Jenkins III
“To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president right or wrong,
is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”
- Theodore Roosevelt
There’s a scene that takes place early on in Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist where, after finishing his daily ration of
gruel, Oliver timidly asks the master at the workhouse, "Please, sir, I want some more." On a more contemporary level,
there’s a scene in the movie “Animal House” where frat pledge, Kevin Bacon, after receiving a painful blow to his bent
over backside says, “Thank you, sir! May I have another?” Now, mix these two examples together and you will have just a
little bit more insight into what must be the Bush lover’s psyche. The former being the need for emotional “sustenance”,
the latter representing the harsh reality of the situation.
The problem is, well, they don’t realize exactly what they’re being served and they haven’t a clue that they’re being
whacked. It’s almost enough to make you feel sorry for ‘em . . . almost.
One of the things I like to ask people who can still somehow support this administration is for them to name just one
thing that Bush has done that hasn’t ended up being a complete disaster. Usually I get one of three responses: success
in Afghanistan; the Iraq elections; and the fact that America hasn’t been attacked since 9/11. That’s about it — other
than the usual lame nonsense of Bush being a “Christian” and a “strong leader” and that just goes to show they haven’t
read their Bibles lately and they can’t tell the difference between “strong” and “arrogant.”
The gruel being fed to these folks is served on a daily basis by such sources as FNC, The Washington Times, Newsmax and
the loathsome Free Republic. These sources and others like them are the thin porridge of what passes for information
that allows them to get by just one more day. And even if they stray to one of the other 24/7 news sources, it’s still
the same old gruel with maybe a few more lumps in it. But this kind of daily diet is what allows these people to believe
the above-mentioned reasons for their Bush allegiance as they walk through life in a kind of Stepford Shuffle.
Spank No. 1: Afghanistan
So Laura Bush makes a surprise visit to Afghanistan at the end of March to flaunt and brag about all the good things her
hubby (who has yet to step foot in that country) has done over there. Problem is she never ventures outside of Kabul and
why is that?
Because her hubby left Afghanistan a flipping mess, that’s why.
There are more cops (for now) in Manhattan than there were American troops sent to Afghanistan to avenge the deaths we
sustained on September 11.
You conservatives remember all that “smoke ‘em out” mouthing off you bought into a few years back? Guess what? It didn’t
happen and guess what else? Not only is Osama (remember him?) not in our custody but the Taliban isn’t gone either.
In fact, the Taliban has been very busy recruiting new followers in northern Pakistan – one of our “allies” in the war
on terrorism. The area around Quetta and the universities there are fertile breeding grounds for anti-American
sentiments and the Taliban is enjoying a surge of new recruits.
And although the Taliban is presently scarce in Kabul, there is a resurgence of the warlords of Afghanistan throughout
the rest of the country. Heroin-yielding poppies are still the major export in the outer regions which helps to insure
the financial stability of these warlords and, if things weren’t bad enough, they are the perfect replacement for the
Taliban as their social values are remarkably similar. Especially when it comes to women. Burkas have not disappeared
from the country – remember, 80 percent of the population is outside of Kabul – and women are still struggling for
acceptance, let alone equality. For instance, women still needed their husbands’ permission to vote in the last
election. And for what?
The Afghan election was structured by the U.S. in order to address that which the U.S. deemed important. The election
changed virtually nothing in reality. Just like the Afghan constitution signed earlier last year, it merely gave equal
rights to women on paper. The election meant little when it comes to the harsh reality still facing Afghani women. They
are still for the most part uneducated and underrepresented when it comes to elections. They still have little control
over the patriarchal justice system and sexist attitudes which still exist. In other words, the bombs changed nothing.
And there are no girls going to school outside of Kabul. Somebody might want to let Laura in on that little tidbit.
The restructuring of Afghanistan is under-financed and ill-planned and has left the country, in all reality, no better
off than it was before the U.S. went in. The “success” conservatives point to is little more than that gruel we talked
Thank you, sir! I want some more.”
Spank No. 2: Iraq
I’m not going to spend a lot of time on the subject of Iraq because there’s no need to. Iraq boils down to a couple of
things that have come to light and, as usual, has received little coverage by the corporate media. But the debacle that
is the Iraq situation boils down to just a few hard facts.
Bush and Co. had designs on Iraq from the get-go – long before 9/11 gave them an “excuse.” The CIA could not give Bush
Co. what they wanted so they established the Office of Special Plans within the Pentagon in order to “filter” the
intelligence they were getting. And just to make sure they had a little extra to go with, they utilized the information
provided by a drunken, unstable liar — code named “Curveball” — someone the CIA had warned them about prior to the
invasion. More than 1,500 American service personnel are dead along with more than 100,000 innocent Iraqi men, women and
children. The United States has sacrificed credibility, tax dollars and thousands upon thousands of human lives so a
couple of misguided ideologues could play “army man” with other people's kids.
The only thing to show for all the wreckage is a lopsided “election” that has changed nothing and has been reduced to a
political photo-op for Republicans – as they were so eager to display at the State of the Union speech.
That’s Iraq in a nutshell. That’s why so many are being sacrificed.
Spank No. 3: 9/11 and the lack of another attack
One would think that because it’s been shown Bush has done very little to secure the U.S. since 9/11 — with the
exception that now many federal airport screeners know what our socks look like — and that we haven’t been attacked in
almost four years would raise more questions by any thinking person than it has. But no one in power is asking why. In
essence, like the raised purple-stained fingers of January, 9/11 has been robbed of any meaning to the Republican far
right other than an “opportunity” to take all those dubious plans they’ve had over the years off the shelf and try ‘em
out on the complacent masses which make up the media and other conservative followers.
Geo-political dominance, unilateral foreign policies, unprovoked invasions and the dismantling of domestic programs and
civil liberties in order to further empower those with too much wealth and authority already has been pursued and
achieved as a kind of sick response to what happened to this country that September morning.
Instead of a call to unite the world with us, 9/11 has instead given America an Attorney General who sought advice on
“legal torture,” an American ambassador to the UN who despises the world body itself, an intelligence “czar” who oversaw
death squads in Honduras, a Defense Secretary and his Under Secretary (now the World Bank president) who flipped the one
finger salute to the world and still cannot admit that they turned American foreign policy into one giant
But what really amazed me about the aftermath of 9/11 was the series of immediate and consistent and attempts by this
administration to stop every investigation into the disaster. Don’t conservatives ever ask themselves why?
Thumbs Up to the Speeding Truck
One of the things they teach you in psychology is the inherent characteristic of self-preservation that exists in every
creature. Commonly referred to as “fight or flight”, it’s the primary response of living things in order to protect
themselves from a perceived threat to their survival.
Basically it boils down either to kicking the threat’s butt or getting away from it as fast as possible.
Remarkably, Bush conservatives have managed to replace this very basic survival instinct with a placebo in the guise of
“fair and balanced” information sources and AM Talk Radio. Their listeners' intelligence and well-being are assaulted on
a daily basis but they feel just fine. They’re standing in the middle of the road facing a speeding truck racing into
them and they just stand there, smile and give it the thumbs up. How is this possible?
The recently passed Bankruptcy bill is a prime example. These happy idiots are waving their flags ‘cause Bush is keeping
the terrorists on the run but meanwhile the Republicans just made it easier for them to lose everything.
Lost your job? Medical crisis? Home foreclosure while you’re off fighting in Iraq? Bush Co. just informed you – too bad,
so sad. We’re at war, y’know and these financial companies have suffered enough.
But the speeding truck threatens more than just their personal well-being; it threatens the very foundations of the
political party they hold so dear.
Put it this way: when you have Republicans like Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Pat Buchanan and Bob Dole raising warning flags
regarding the actions of today’s ultra-right and the long-term consequences it could have on their party – that should
be a wake up call.
What If It Were Clinton?
That’s another thing I like to ask Bush Kissers when discussing the overtly bad behavior of today’s ultra-right wingers.
Just how thick would the foam coming from their mouths be if these same actions were attributed to those dastardly
Just recently at a conservative gathering in Washington, lawyer-author Edwin Vieira, quoted none other than Joseph
Stalin in regard to their perceived “problem” of the Reagan appointee, Judge Anthony Kennedy. It would seem that Vieira
feels that Stalin’s philosophy of “no man, no problem” would be an appropriate response when it comes to judges he feels
are out of step with right-wing ideology. Impeachment just isn’t enough for these people, obviously they prefer harsher
tactics — such as death.
But the most chilling thing about this little gathering of conservatives is that the audience laughed at the remarks!
The same people who found Bush’s “trifecta” joke after 9/11 funny are now finding humor in the suggested assassination
of federal judges.
In fact, judges are the latest in a string of targets put forth by Bush Co. in order to keep the gruel eaters from
focusing on things that should trigger their flight or fight response. Tom DeLay is a classic example with his war on
the judiciary in an attempt to keep people's eyes off his sleazy doings in the House. But the Republicans have given him
a safety net besides. If DeLay is in danger of being smacked by the Ethics Committee, well then, we’ll just have to
change those rules now, won’t we? And if the Democrats are going to use the filibuster to keep right-wing judges from
getting an up or down vote, well, we’ll just change those rules too.
And if changing the rules isn’t enough, well now, we have Senate Majority Leader Frist teaming up with the religious
wing-nuts in a public awareness campaign to publish ads depicting Democrats as being against “people of faith.” Even
though Bush enjoys a higher acceptance rate of judicial appointees than his predecessors, the Republicans are calling in
the God Squad in an attempt to get a handful of unqualified ideologues into the federal courts. God, help us all.
But all this hoopla, as I stated earlier, is a diversion from the real problems that we face as a country. Bush’s job
approval ratings are in the toilet (45 percent last time I checked) and they should be. There have been no successes
during this administration which benefit anyone except that richest one percent of folks so near and dear to the
Republicans. Photo-op elections hide the reality behind the cameras that the administration and the cooperative media
don’t want you to see. While we wage a pretend war on terrorists or whatever boogey-man is this week’s enemy, a very
real war is being waged and won against America’s working (and non-working) masses. And yet there are still those among
the masses who continue to feed on the watery-thin GOP gruel while willingly bending over for a spank after spank.
The world and all but 59 million people in this country seem to “get it.” Bush and the ultra-right are hurting all of
us. Even those who support them. Our safety, our stability, our honor, our credibility and the very foundations
established so long ago are at risk. We are a Republic (some say a Democracy) fast tracking on the way to becoming a
Theocracy. And we join with our neighbors world-wide and wonder when America will come back or how much of America will
be left to come back after these people are done with it.
Just what is it going to take for some conservatives to wake up? Just how bad do things have to get? When will they
realize what is happening to them, their party and the country they say they love? And, once and for all, when will they
stop asking for “more?”