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The International Writers Magazine:US Politics

The Shape of Things To Come
Dean Borok

I am not going to play dummy and pretend I don’t know what’s going on, just so I can fit in with mediocre conformity. What we are witnessing here is an epic Republican meltdown of historic proportions, just like I pictured it. This beats 1974, 1932 or anything else you can name.

Bush is not a lame duck, he’s a dead duck. He is soooo unlucky, every one of his foul-ups has returned to hit him in the face while he is still in office. If I ever saw a fit candidate for tar-and-feathering and run out of town on a rail, it’s little Bushy.

McCain is refusing to get on stage and have Obama blast him with everything except the kitchen sink, sticking the whole mess on him like a pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey.

The Republicans have got this beating coming to them for all their nasty destructiveness and criminality. There is only one more ugly surprise to look out for, and it may well happen, which is where Bush would try to declare a national emergency and suspend the election. Don’t laugh. He already pulled one power grab in 2000, which landed us in this mess, and he has always shown that he is not above desperate measures. Almost half the country would support a coup, particularly with Obama poised to become president, but the armed forces are all the way around the world in Asia, so he may not have the logistical capability to contain the population centers.

So, let’s say the election is held and Obama sweeps in with a crushing Democratic majority in congress. What he will inherit, thanks to the Republicans, is an economy on life support. He also will not have the party united behind him. Obama is the luckiest guy I ever saw. He has never had to fight a contested election. Even now the opposition has done him the honor of bending over for him. It remains to be seen whether he is any more suited for prolonged work, as opposed to sitting behind a desk and taking decisions, than Bush was.

This election is not being decided on any personal qualities that either of the candidates may or may not possess, but strictly on the basis of historical determinism. Given the current events, the Democrats could have put up Clifford the Big Red Dog and won, which was their determination when they put Obama ahead of Clinton, having handicapped the odds down to the minutest consideration. The Democrats decided that the Clintons were overqualified and that they could win without them, and have an easier time managing Obama (a lot of people already own a piece of Obama, or think they do).

This is the same kind of calculation that led the French political establishment to hand De Gaulle his walking papers after World War II, on the basis that as long as he was on the scene there would be nothing left for anybody else. He went to his country house in Colombey Deux-Eglises and fumed.  Years later, when the French economy and government collapsed, they went back to De Gaulle on their knees and pleaded with him to restore order. He agreed, but only on the condition that they completely rewrite the French constitution to put all authority in him personally.

Now that the Republicans are dead letter, all the fighting will take entirely within the Democratic Party. Remember, when Lenin took power in Russia in 1917, he didn’t have to defeat the czar. The czar was already defeated. He had to defeat Kerensky and the Social Democrats.

Unfortunately for Obama It’s impossible to tell how much he can get done without the active participation of the Clintons, but in the multi-polar environment that will shape up in Washington, the Clintons are going to be a prominent polarity of power. If I were them, I just wait to see how he does before particularly pitching in to help out. I would not accept any work assignments from him just yet. The Clintons would do well to establish a salon in Georgetown and consolidate Hillary’s growing power in the Senate. Let Obama demonstrate what kind of power he can bring to bear on his own.
If it develops that the crushing responsibility of redressing the country is more than Obama is able to accomplish without the Clintons and that he needs them, then they, like De Gaulle, may be in a position to set the terms according to their needs.

© Dean Borok Sept 26th 2008
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