Personality cult

Who says it can’t happen here?

.—”I want you to stand, raise your right hands,” and recite “the Bush Pledge,” said Florida state Sen. Ken Pruitt. The assembled mass of about 2,000 in this Treasure Coast town about an hour north of West Palm Beach dutifully rose, arms aloft, and repeated after Pruitt: “I care about freedom and liberty. I care about my family. I care about my country. Because I care, I promise to work hard to re-elect, re-elect George W. Bush as president of the United States.”

The entire audience stands and pledges its allegiance to bush’s re-election. They swear an oath. Is anyone watching? This is truly symptomatic of the personality cult, and I’ve never heard of such a thing in America before.

This disturbing article comes to me via a disturbing post from Billmon, who has resurrected himself, at least for the day. He ends the post on a particularly ominous note.

And now we have local GOP Gauleiters in Florida soliciting oaths of allegiance not to the flag, not to the country, not to the constitution, but to the person of the leader — albeit still an elected one, at least for now.

One people, one country, one leader …

One step following another.

The truly sinister thing — and the reason why that Slate story made the hair stand up on the back of my neck — is that even as these people move, like sleepwalkers, towards a distinctly American version of the cult of the leader, most of them honestly appear to have no idea what they’re doing, or creating. I’m not even sure the Rovians themselves entirely understand the atavistic instincts they’ve awakened in Bush’s most loyal followers. But the current is running now, fast and strong. And we’re all heading for the rapids.

Time to change boats before the bushists force us liberals to attend struggle sessions and re-education camps.


Flip flop, flip flop

Keep clicking the shoes.

Via Sully.


Kerry Haters for Kerry

Hilarious — there are lots of them out there, and they just might be a decisive factor in Kerry’s imminent victory.


Conservative Economist endorses Kerry

It’s been a good week for Kerry, as yet another prominent conservative voice says he is the man to bring America out of the dark ages of Republican rule.

“After three necessarily tumultuous and transformative years, this is
a time for consolidation, for discipline and for repairing America’s
moral and practical authority. Furthermore, as Mr. Bush has often
said, there is a need in life for accountability. He has refused to
impose it himself, and so voters should, in our view, impose it on
him, given a viable alternative. John Kerry, for all the doubts about
him, would be in a better position to carry on with America’s great

Link via One Caveat, whose post should be read by all.


The radioactive president

In his best column in months, Thomas Friedman sums up just how isolated and alone America has become under bush, who is “radioactive” to nearly all of the world’s leaders — even to be seen next to him can be the kiss of death.

Europe, for its part, has gone so crazy over the Bush administration that the normally thoughtful Guardian newspaper completely lost its mind last week and published a column that openly hoped for the assassination of President Bush, saying: “John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr. – where are you now that we need you?” (The writer apologized later.) Meanwhile, French and German leaders seem to be competing over who can say more categorically that they will never send troops to help out in Iraq – even though the help needed now is to organize the first U.N.-supervised democratic election in that country.

How do we begin to repair this jagged hole? There is no cure-all, but three big things would help. One is a different U.S. approach to the world. The Bush-Cheney team bears a big responsibility for this hole because it nakedly exploited 9/11 to push a far-right Republican agenda, domestically and globally, for which it had no mandate. When U.S. policy makes such a profound lurch to the right, when we start exporting fear instead of hope, the whole center of gravity of the world is affected. Countries reposition themselves in relation to us.

Had the administration been more competent in pursuing its policies in Iraq – which can still turn out decently – the hole in the heart of the world might not have gotten so large and jagged.

I have been struck by how many foreign dignitaries have begged me lately for news that Bush will lose. This Bush team has made itself so radioactive it glows in the dark. When the world liked Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan, America had more power in the world. When much of the world detests George Bush, America has less power. People do not want to be seen standing next to us. It doesn’t mean we should run our foreign policy as a popularity contest, but it does mean that leading is not just about making decisions – it’s also the ability to communicate, follow through and persuade.

As much as bush despises the notion of a “global test” (a concept he can’t begin to understand), we are a member of the planet, we are a part of the world, we are one of many. But we wanted to do things alone, with a with-us-or-against-us mindset, and we wanted to exact vengeance on those who refused to follow bush off the cliff. We succeeded, making us weaker and more vulnerable than at anytime in our history. We have to join the world again. We have to get down from our high horse. We have to win back the respect of a world that sees a second bush term as an unsustainable blow to hope and world peace.

We have to. And we will.


Roger Simon’s excellent prediction

Threatening to hold his breath until he turns blue, Roger Simon throws an unusually revealing (albeit pathetic) temper tantrum over the looming probability of a Kerry win:

“As I said on Hugh Hewitt’s show the other day, “I’m no Nostradamus. Nostradamus was no Nostradamus.” But I do have this prediction:

If Kerry does win, the mainstream media will have gotten him elected with their biased coverage and they will pay for it more than they could imagine. And it will be the blogosphere and you, our own supporters, who will make them pay. Our strength will grow incrementally with a Kerry victory in terms of influence and even economic power. And both will be at the expense of the mainstream media. Yes, we too have ‘plans.'”

Oh, my. This is one angry dude. Usually the man in the funny hat has a little more grace, a little more charm, a little more je ne sais quoi. I mean, it sounds like he is vowing vengeance. He has “plans.” Quiver. Sounds like he’s ready to become a terrorist.


This post will go down in blog history, as it tells us so much about this ostensibly “moderate” blogger who, in revulsion to a wicked liberal media, was forced into the Little Green Footballs camp. Bull shit. Simon is a reactionary, a conscious and persistent falsifier of fact, a deceiver of his readers and, one suspects, of himself. His rants against the “MSM” are so tiresome and so far-fetched they just make me groan. He still insists we are winning the war in Iraq and that things are going well, but the mean liberal media keep distorting things and making it look bad. Boo-hoo.

I want to scream at Simon, “Look, there are all sorts of reporters in Iraq, some with the Wall Street Journal and NY Post and Fox News, and some with the NY Times and WaPo. Despite their differences in tone, they are all telling us essentially the same story from Iraq. The deaths of civilians, the beheadings, the bombings, the 1,040+ US soldiers killed — those are no product of media bias.

Via Pandagon.

Update: And another funny take on Simon’s losing his marbles can be found here. There will be many more to come — Simon just made himself the butt of blogger jokes for years to come.

Oh, and James Wolcott, likening Simon to Captain Queeg, remarks, “For some reason, I’m reminded of George Costanza’s great soliloquy that begins, “The sea was angry that day, my friends, like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.”


100,000 civilians dead in Iraq

What price freedom?

Apparently, we have to bomb Iraq to oblivion in order to save it: an estimated 100,000 deaths thus far. To borrow the incomparable Juan Cole’s mathematical slide-rule, that would be the equivalent, in American population terms, of 1.1 million people here.

“Most individuals reportedly killed by coalition forces were women and children,” said the report, conducted jointly by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, Columbia University and the Al-Mustansiriya University in Baghdad.

If, when the elections come, Iraq should vote in an Iran-style theocracy of fundamentalist ayatollahs, what then? Do we just pack it up, and swallow the fact that the whole thing was in vain, and all we did was install a regime even more prone to terrorism and anti-Americanism than Saddam? I ask that because as we bomb and strafe more cities and kill and maim more civilians, radicalization of the people is all but inevitable. Look at history and see how often a radical leader arises in a time of desperation.


shrub’s October surprise — Bin Laden, handed over by the CCP!

Well, I read it on the Web so it must be true — Osama Bin Laden is in China, and the CCP is negotiating with the bush administration to hand him over just in time for election day. At least that’s what one source is telling us, and it’s in El Mundo. Quien sabe? Rove has worked similar miracles at the 11th hour.

Jeremy, thanks for the link!


One last thought for the night


For one of the most spirited and heartfelt descriptions of why were are suddenly so optimistic, go here.


Shrub’s “one-finger victory salute”

You can see it for yourself. Isn’t it time we give him the finger?