Get ready: the Republicans may not know it, but they’ve all but certified their ticket for 2016, and they will probably win.
The saturation bloviation that followed last week’s Republican presidential debates missed some monumental moments, including:
(1) There was one (and ONLY one) candidate on the stage that had anything meaningful to say. It was Rand Paul. What he said about war and marijuana was of serious significance.
(2) The GOP hard core on the stage and in the audience certified their obeisance to a free pass for the horrific presidency of George W. Bush, thereby opening the door for his brother, who can almost certainly win if he runs with the guy from Ohio.
Let’s deal first with Rand Paul. Like his father (and unlike virtually anyone else in the GOP) the senator from Kentucky seems to have some actual principles. Both Pauls have been firmly committed to the legalization of marijuana for many years, and have not wavered.
When Rand (who’s a medical doctor) discussed pot in the debate, he couched it in terms of those who are struggling to get medical marijuana treatment for their children. Rather than slamming him, Jeb Bush then sheepishly admitted to having smoked it many years ago, puffing it up with the obligatory joke about his truly terrifying mother.
That’s old news. What’s new came from Chris Christie. The New Jersey governor has proudly proclaimed that as president he would send the drug gestapo even (or especially) into states where pot has been legalized to “enforce federal law.”
But when confronted with Sen. Paul’s lament on medical marijuana, Christie whimpered that NJ also has medical marijuana, and that he would not interfere with that.
It was utterly ridiculous. But it underscored how far pot has moved toward full legalization. These were the REPUBLICANS! Only Carly Fiorino jumped in with a lament over the death of her drug-addicted step-daughter, which somehow seemed to support her desire to jail all pot smokers.
Those of us in Ohio were then treated to a high-production-value commercial (it ran at least twice during the debate) featuring a Buckeye mother complaining that her daughter suffers from seizures, and that she and her husband have been forced to move to Colorado to get medical marijuana.
Bordering on the surreal for those of us living in the Midwest, the ad was sponsored by a very well-funded group of corporatists who’ve put a legalization measure on the ballot here.
That initiative might fail. But Toledo has just voted to decriminalize and the floodgates feeding full legalization are clearly open. That the national Republicans (Fiorino and Christie aside) have finally stopped falling over themselves to slaughter anyone who even mentions legal pot is good news.
It should be further noted that when challenged, none of the other candidates joined Jeb in admitting that they inhaled. But here in Columbus we are surrounded by former college classmates of Governor Kasich who swear without reservation that he was (and may still be) a major pothead.
There are also those who claim he’s bisexual, but that’s another story. (We will be publishing CITIZEN KASICH, a study of the man who may be vice president, in early 2016).
Rand Paul’s powerful denunciations of foreign intervention in general and the Iraq war in particular were also significant. His father Ron has delivered some uniquely cogent denunciations of our disaster in Vietnam. Rand has been equally clear about the on-going imperial fiasco in the Middle East.
Here again we saw a mixed bag on stage. There was serious hemming and hawing about how bad George W. Bush’s plunge into the quicksand really was.
But Jeb was ready. “He kept us safe,” he said of his older brother.
It was an astonishing lie. It was W running the country when 9/11 happened. New York and then the nation were permeated with toxic dust that poisoned our persona and gutted our civil liberties.
Bush 2 then presided over one of the nation’s most grotesque military failures, followed by an utter dereliction of duty during Hurricane Katrina, leading to the destruction of an entire great city and many unnecessary deaths. And that’s just for starters.
It is safe to say our nation will never recover from W’s eight years of unelected misadventures.
But the GOP faithful did not groan and puke over Bush 3’s defense of his brother. They applauded! Wildly!!
This, of course, in the lair of the Grand Illusionist, the Ronald Reagan who covered his own catastrophic regime with the B-movie madness of endless upbeat enthusiasm, even while delivering a saturation disaster.
Suddenly all the common wisdom that the GOP would not go for Bush 3 evaporated. Here was the brother and son of previous Republican presidents, standing tall on a stage filled with utterly boring haters, hacks and one very rich performance artist. The Bush pall suddenly turned to sheen, at least in GOP eyes. Don’t “misunderestimate” that moment, as Bush 2 might say.
The poll numbers still seem to favor Trump. But he is too much of a wild card for America’s oligarchs. On three key issues he actually veers left. He supports a single-payer health care system; he says he wants the tax loophole closed for hedge fund financiers; and he clearly believes that children’s vaccines can cause autism. Sooner or later, the corporate/media hammer will come down on Trump, and he’ll have to decide whether to run third party. If he does, the GOP (which learned a major lesson with Ross Perot in 1992) will have to decide whether they’ll let him live. THAT will be the real moment of truth in 2016.
Only Kasich said anything else of significance. Briefly but not too subtly, he commented essentially that he has a lock on Ohio. It was an apparent throw-away comment early in the game, missed by most.
Kasich’s latest insult to Hispanic voters is emblematic of his tone-deaf nature. Within the party, it will pass.
But come next fall, one need only do the quick math: Bush carries Florida, Kasich counts Ohio, game over.
Do not “misunderestimate” the fact that 80% of the votes in 2016 will be cast on electronic machines, with access controlled on electronic registration rolls. With this comes a network of private, partisan, for-profit companies that favor the Bushes.
The GOP has both governors and secretaries of state in Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa and Arizona. There are many others, but those five swing states could be more than enough.
(We’ll deal with this in THE SIXTH JIM CROW: ELECTRONIC ELECTION THEFT & THE STRIP/FLIP OF 2016, also to be published early next year).
Unless something is done about it between now and November 2016, there is no public recourse on any of the machines on which this election will be conducted. They are privately owned. The source code is proprietary. The boards of election have no access. There will be no meaningful recounts.
No matter how the public votes, wherever the governor and secretary of state are of the same party, the outcome can be altered with a few keystrokes in a few seconds. And unless things change, there will nothing to be done about it, especially in light of the billions the Koch Brothers and other GOP stalwarts are spending to buy the White House.
The voter rolls can be stripped and the vote count flipped with Republican spare change.
Yes, this is conspiracy theory. But anyone who doubts the conspiracy has not closely looked at the selections of 2000 and 2004.
The ones that brought us George W. Bush, who “kept us safe.”
Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman have co-written six books on electronic election theft. They will publish two new ones this election season: THE SIXTH JIM CROW: ELECTRONIC ELECTION THEFT & THE STRIP/FLIP OF 2016, and CITIZEN KASICH. Watch for them at www.freepress.org.