Beast of the Month - November 2007
Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker
"I yam an anti-Christ... "
John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) of The Sex Pistols, "Anarchy in the UK"
"This is a song called Livin' In the Future. But it's really about what's happening now. Right now... Over the past six years we've had to add to the American picture: rendition, illegal wiretapping, voter suppression, no habeus corpus, the neglect of that great city New Orleans and its people, an attack on the Constitution. And the loss of our best men and women in a tragic war. This is a song about things that shouldn't happen here happening here."
Bruce "The Boss" Springstreen, introducing a song to Today Show viewers in September.
In September, college student Andrew Meyer was tasered and arrested at the University of Florida by a gang of jack-booted campus police. His crime? Asking 2004 Democratic Party candidate John Kerry two questions at a forum created precisely for that purpose. His two questions, incidentally, were about evidence that the 2004 election was stolen and if Kerry was a member of the Skull & Bones. Oddly, though Meyer clearly was being overwhelmed by police force, Kerry droned an unconvincing reply while Meyer screamed "Don't tase me, bro!" The big loser in the media frenzy afterwards was John Kerry, and though it's impolite to kick a man while he's down politically - especially when that man should legitimately be sitting in the White House - frankly Kerry deserves it. But beyond Mr. Kerry, what happened perfectly symbolizes everything that's gone on over the past seven years: leaders of the Democratic Party sitting back passively, pretending nothing is wrong, while basic American liberties are trampled upon.
Apparently, a lot of people agree with The Konformist at this point. Opinion polls show George W. Bush widely detested, as his popularity has sunk to a Watergate-era Tricky Dick: an October Zogby poll gave him a 24% approval rating. And yet, the same polls indicate that the Democrat-controlled Congress is even MORE detested. Indeed, the same Zogby poll indicates Congress has a paltry 11 percent approval rating, and polls consistently show the legislature exceeding the record low of 1992 when the era of Bush I and check-bouncing Congressmen inspired a "throw the bums out!" mentality in the masses (which sadly later fueled the rise of the Newtoids.)
Mainstream pundits try to spin this in arguing the problem is a lack of Beltway bipartisanship, but the numbers prove this to be a lie. The smoking gun is revealed by looking at popularity among party affiliation of the voters: while Bush has a decided ideological split (as Salon's Glenn Greenwald noted, he still had a 64-29 approval-disapproval rating among GOP voters in an August Gallup poll, vs. an 8-90 rate among Democrats) there is no real rift about Congress (a 24-66 among Republicans and 28-59 among Democrats.) Indeed, another Gallup poll in September indicated Congress was more popular among Republicans than Democrats. That would indicate the problem is not a lack of bipartisanship, but rather a lack of Congress rightfully taking on Bush and his right-wing minions (hence why party voters are even more disgusted with the performance than Republicans.)
None of this should be a surprise. The stage was set in May 2006, when current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (The Konformist Beast of the Month) declared: "Impeachment is off the table." In retrospect, these words have shaped the current political climate more than "Macaca" ever could (or, as sayings go, "Don't tase me, bro!") By publicly declaring the Democrats would remain toothless in any defiance of the law by the Bush Team, it has only encouraged Shrub and his minions to escalate their arrogance in massive criminality. Even after further revelations of fraudulent lies leading to the Iraq War, widespread illegal wire-tapping by the DOJ, torture of POWs in defiance of the Geneva Convention and even the Nixonian pardon of White House perjurer Scooter Libby, the Democrats have remained faithful to Pelosi's pledge. This is even after a July poll by the American Research Group showed 45 percent of the public favors impeachment of Bush (and an even higher 54 percent of Donkey Dick Cheney.)
Some would argue the Pelosi pledge was a pragmatically wise move: Pelosi was attempting to counter right-wing ravings that a Democratic-controlled would be so left-wing it would resemble a gang of Stalinists (or, worse, a Hillary clone army.) By denying the demands of the most radical members of the Democratic Party, the theory goes, it enabled the Democrats to appeal to moderates and ensure their 2006 Election victory. But as far as lies go, backing off on the no-impeachment promise appears to be one that can be without little fallout, especially since, as opinion polls now show, impeachment is no longer a fringe movement but a mainstream one with strong support from moderates.
The official position of why the "no impeachment" mantra is still being followed: that the American public wants results, not highly politicized hearings that would be divisive. So, what results have come from the Democratic-controlled Congress so far? Let's see: continued funding for the Iraq War even with no timetables put into place, passage of a FISA bill which gave Bush a virtual blank check to spy on Americans without a court order, and continued torture of POWs which has given America a black eye on the world stage. Meanwhile, a bill to expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) to cover more low-income children failed to override a Bush veto by 13 votes in the House. Apparently, Ms. Pelosi was unable to arm-twist thirteen GOP members to side with sick children over a widely unpopular Bush. Indeed, during a July breakfast with progressives, Pelosi itemized a list of the Democratic Party's alleged agenda: ending the war in Iraq, expanding health care, creating jobs and preserving the environment. So far, they have far more success implementing the GOP "to do" list (hence their unpopularity among Democrat voters.)
The real reasons why impeachment isn't being pursued? To begin with, there is again pure pragmatism: so long as Bush and Cheney occupy the White House, they (and the Iraq War) remain an albatross hung around the neck of any Republican seeking the presidency in 2008. Even someone as unlikable as Hillary can win in such a contest, or so the theory goes. Another reason the "I" word is being avoided is that it opens a can of worms, where the Democratic Party's complicity over the last seven years will become quickly apparent.
But perhaps the biggest reason: the Democratic Party is led by those who, almost universally, believe in the American establishment, even more so than the GOP. And admitting that the US government has been a criminal enterprise the past seven years hardly brings out mass faith in this establishment. While a portion of the Democrat leadership have noble sentiments, when push comes to shove, they will side with the establishment anytime it conflicts with the desires of the working class and progressives, and thus betray the foot-soldiers of the party.
A telling quote comes from Barack Obama, a fellow The Konformist concedes is certainly one of the more decent men in D.C. Yet on the impeachment issue, he shows establishment fawning and cluelessness. He opposes it, declaring: "I think you reserve impeachment for grave, grave breaches, and intentional breaches of the president's authority." Hmmm. And by grave breaches of the president's authority, do you exclude little things like illegal spying on American citizens, violating the Geneva Convention and using fraud to push the US into a costly and destructive war?
The bad news is, politically speaking, the Democratic Party leaders appear to be the winners despite all this. At this point, a majority of Americans will back a party of sniveling, unprincipled cowards over what the GOP has turned into during the Bush years. The Democrat establishment also believes, rightfully, that no matter how much they betray the progressive movement, they will come crawling back to them at election time over shards of glass rather than be stuck with Republicans controlling Congress or the Presidency. That means in 2008, the two most powerful politicians in America likely will be Hillary and Pelosi.
The good news: don't pen in Pelosi as a 2008 winner just yet. She may have an even tougher battle than Hillary does against Obama and John Edwards. Peace activist Cindy Sheehan, the mother of an American soldier who died in Iraq, and who during the summer of 2005 shamed the korporate media to finally cover tragedy in Iraq as much as they follow the lives of Britney, Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton and Brangelina, has announced a run for Congress as an independent against Ms. Pelosi. On why she is running against the top Dem in the House, Sheehan has explained that Republicans "are literally like rats jumping off the sinking ship of state and they are distancing themselves from George and Dick faster than the Democrats. With the mood of the country, we know this is not a moral position but a politically expedient one. Why can't we urge the Democrats to a moral position? Because they have been elected with a (D) they become one of the Untouchables?"
Whether Sheehan can win is still to be seen: Pelosi, after all is an incumbent, and a powerful one at that. On the other hand, Ms. Sheehan has overcome bigger odds politically in the past, and if ever the Speaker of the House could lose an election in a "secure" seat, it would be Pelosi against Cindy in a race decided by extremely progressive Bay Area voters. Because of this, The Konformist gives an early endorsement of Ms. Sheehan without reservations, both because of admiration of Sheehan and loathing of Pelosi. Frankly, somebody needs to be held accountable for the last seven years, and if the Democrats won't put that on Bush and Cheney, then they need to be punished for their own culpability. Go to it, Cindy!!!
In any case, we salute Nancy Pelosi as Beast of the Month. Congratulations, and keep up the great work, Nancy!!!
Beastly Update: Showing the continued sniveling servitude by the Democratic Party, Michael Mukasey was confirmed as Attorney General 53-40 on November 8 by the US Senate, despite his refusal to espouse his views on the legality of torture by the US government.
For more on the Cindy Sheehan 2008 campaign:
Antosca, Nick. "Kerry Should be Ashamed, and the Cop Who Tased Andrew Meyer Should be Jailed." The Huffington Post 18 September 2007 <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nick-antosca/kerry-should-be-ashamed-_b_64873.html>.
Berman, Ari. "Why Pelosi Opposes Impeachment." The Nation 31 July 2007 <http://www.thenation.com/blogs/notion?bid=15&pid=218930>.
Conover, Bev. "The Media and John Kerry's Disgusting Display." Online Journal 20 September 2007 <http://onlinejournal.com/artman/publish/article_2440.shtml>.
Greenwald, Glenn. "Why is the Democratic Congress so unpopular?" Salon 21 August 2007 <http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2007/08/21/congress/index.html?source=search&aim=/opinion/greenwald>.
Kleefeld, Eric. "Poll: More Republicans Than Democrats Approve Of Congress." Talking Points Memo 20 September 2007 <http://tpmelectioncentral.com/2007/09/poll_more_republicans_than_democrats_approve_of_congress.php>.
Parry, Robert. "Bush Gets a Spying Blank Check." ConsortiumNews.com 5 August 2007 <http://www.consortiumnews.com/2007/080507.html>.
"Peace Activist Sheehan to Challenge Top Democrat Pelosi." Monsters and Critics 10 Aug 2007 <http://news.monstersandcritics.com/usa/news/article_1341231.php/Peace_activist_Sheehan_to_challenge_top_Democrat_Pelosi>.
Rjmac. "Springsteen Gets Political on Today Show." Daily Kos 28 September 2007 <http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2007/9/28/101850/975>.
Sheehan, Cindy. "Strange Bedfellows..." MichaelMoore.com 12 July 2007 <http://www.michaelmoore.com/mustread/index.php?id=886>.