All week I've been reading in disparate sources from Drudge to US News and World Report about Bush, Rove and Cheney being overly confident about the midterm elections. Even Republican strategists are increasingly concerned because the White House doesn't have a plan if they lose. This lack of planning shouldn't surprise anyone, but if you really think about it a creepy, crawly feeling grows in your gut.
Here are some questions: Are these guys simply narcissistic idiots Rove-ing around in some never-never land bubble or do they know something we don't? Have they planned a grab bag nose punch of an October/November surprise? Or have Diebold, ES&S, and local state secretaries assured them that they will do "whatever it takes" to get a Republican Congress elected again? Or are they just planning to outspend us? Karl Rove recently told the Washington Times, "For most Americans, particularly the marginal voters who are going to determine the outcome of the election, it started a couple of weeks ago... Between now and the election we will spend $100 million in target House and Senate races in the next 21 days". That is $30 million a week in 15 or 16 key races. Knowing this group, the answers must lie in a clever blitzkrieg combo of all of the above.
When I asked Gore Vidal at dinner why the White House seemed so serene and at ease about the vote, he replied that, this time around, the Bush-Cheney henchmen could simply call on martial law. He glumly noted that we are so far down the road toward totalitarianism that, even if Democrats do win back the Congress, it would take at least two generations before the last six years of damage to the nation could be reversed. Gore frankly despaired that any amount of time could ever return the country to where and what it previously was. This prediction left me reaching for some Fernet Branca.
We all know the neocons won't cede power easily. They have to be aware that if the tide of Congress turns, Bush's last two years will be mired in gridlock and perhaps even be punctuated by several embarrassing congressional investigations. Of course, Cheney did say last week that everything in Iraq is hunky dory, which leads one to believe that after James Baker's devastating report and the escalating mass destruction of the war, Dickey-boy has simply lost it. But whether it is hubris, loony tunes, or both, the White House's freakish calm about the elections makes me as nervous as the hell we seem to be headed for. Therefore we should all be on alert. If for whatever reason we don't win back Congress in November the only real answer will be to take to the streets.