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The Final Distraction: McCain/Palin Worse Than Bush

10/16/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • John Cusack Makes films; Board member, Freedom of the Press Foundation

We all know McCain has sold his soul to win. Big mistake: the Democrats are taking the GOP bait, especially on Palin. She is the ultimate distraction. If we're not careful she'll be the final distraction. The perfect new celebrity -- Sarah Barracuda -- to capture the message in the 24-hour spin orgy, all the while attacking Obama as an elite celebrity. Any narrative that focuses on her -- any -- is a win for Republicans, carrying an undercurrent of race wars, gender wars, class wars. All ending with a debate on God and a return visit to Rev. Wright.

Palin is a gateway drug to a back-alley brawl Obama can't win. A Joseph Conrad-produced reality show/sitcom with Palin replacing Roseanne Barr fighting for the little guy with sass and sex. Wonderful.

Watch McCain repeat "maverick" 300 times a day, like a mantra, 'til Election Day. Republicans and hockey moms against corruption and Lear jets. Orwell for second graders: distraction and chaos, phony scandals and bullshit patriotics from the crew that would install an inexperienced neophyte -- not even put through the crucible of the national stage -- a heartbeat away from the greatest nuclear arsenal the world has ever known, and not blink. Darkest reptilian politics that speak to the ultimate calcified cynicism of Republicans.

Democrats need to ignore her -- unless she speaks about policy -- maybe she can explain and solve the collapsing world markets -- and keep the focus relentlessly on the disastrous results of Bush/McCain/Republican rule. They need to remind voters of the disasters of the last seven-plus years. Specifically. And as people have been saying, we need to be mad as well as inspired.

John McCain is the Republican Party as much as Bush -- we need to be constantly reminded of the policies (and, yes, the crimes) that are threatening this country from within.

Obama must hit Republicans ten times harder. Let's hear about war profiteering, taxpayer-funded mercenary armies and privatizing core functions of state, habeas corpus and warrantless wiretapping and presidential signing statements, and Katrina and justice department politicization, and phony intel and Abu Ghraib, rendition and torture.

If the Democratic leadership wants to disregard its base and continue to disregard the rule of law, they deserve to lose...and will. Let's hope the Obama campaign doesn't come to this conclusion 10 days out. He needs to articulate his vision of the future, but he also needs to articulate a version of reality. The fiercest urgency is needed now.

But some other fundamentals seem to be lost in the frenzy. McCain is no maverick, but it is worth understanding why the rabid right wing is cheering his call for government "reform" and to change "how government works at every level."

McCain won't just be more of the same -- it will be worse than Bush-Cheney -- using the disasters of the past eight years and the actual crises we face to double down on the American Enterprise/Heritage Foundation vision of government that desires, as Grover Norquist said, to shrink government until "we can drown it in a bathtub."

I would recommend a return visit to the groundbreaking Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein.

McCain, who said he knows nothing about economics, will surely hand over the reins to the Friedmanites and neoconservatives who have sent the country on a path to ruin. Anyone looking at his team could tell you that. Palin and the interests she represents are even further to the right.

Now, no one in their right mind -- including reasonable independents and Republicans -- wants to double down on neocon ideology, but here comes the "maverick" and his economic advisers to use the crises we face to implement more "change" and "reform" to the system by privatizing everything in sight. Is this what the American people want? When they are aware of it, the answer is always no. It's the same bullshit re-branded.

It may happen in a shock therapy in the first 100 days, or financial chaos may force them to wait until things stabilize, but sooner or later they will follow their fundamentalist creed. Ruin the government you are purporting to run and turn it over to privatization frenzy, creating a shadow government of private corporate rule. That's the whole idea.

So let's brand bust this maverick gibberish but understand the coded language that belies their true mission... we should take them at the true meaning of their words.

Not just more of the same -- worse than the same. Times of crisis are great opportunities to implement the radical agendas we usually reject.

That's also the idea.

McCain and the neocon ideologues won't "reform" government, they will gut government and privatize everything in sight in the name of responding to the crises they helped engineer through Bush and Cheney. Their view of government is the reverse of the Hippocratic Oath: do harm and then when the patient is sick, give the wrong medicine, watch him die, and sell off the body parts.

They will destroy the Department of Energy, HUD and anything else they can get their hands on. With this crew, all you need to do is destroy government, privatize it and get out of the way, and then a magic utopia appears. Well, actually it doesn't, but a lot of connected people get rich, and in the privatized war business, blood money flows and a fuck of a lot of innocent people die. The numbers and the misery are staggering. The legacy of Bush/McCain is a legacy of shame. Any man that stood with this criminal administration should be forced to answer for it.

The Republicans have been ruinous and most of it stems from an ideology that leaves the government in ruins. McCain has been on board hook, line and sinker. He voted with Bush over 90% of the time. End of story.

It is fundamentally corrupt and dishonest to call it reform when leaders want to cripple government, then hand it over to private industry, usually subsidized by taxpayers, but for other people's profits. More like contempt for government.

Red meat for dummies... a horror show for the rest of us.

Obama needs to explain to the country what this will cost us in real terms -- however many billions a day in Iraq and what that could buy, repair, fix, and allow in human terms -- ask us if can we afford it, and Obama must -- to use imagery the neocons can understand -- knock them down, put his boots on their throats, and never let up.