Balm for the campaign-weary

For a few moments, let’s forget the Presidential campaign and look at the other follies dancing or parading or slithering across the stage. Here are leads to three current favorites.

  • That essay on the Bush/McCain connection is still working. I’ll try to have it up by the end of the day.

First, an excerpt from The Wrecking Crew, in which Thomas Frank explains how conservatives managed to “destroy a government, leave Americans in the lurch, and enrich themselves all at the same time.”

Follow This Dime

… the onrushing flow swamps all taxonomies. Mass firing of federal prosecutors; bribing of newspaper columnists; pallets of shrink-wrapped cash “misplaced” in Iraq; inexperienced kids running the Baghdad stock exchange; the discovery that many of Alaska’s leading politicians are apparently on the take — our heads swim. We climb to the rooftop, but we cannot find the heights of irony from which we might laugh off the blend of thug and Pharisee that was Tom DeLay — or dispel the nauseating suspicion, quickly becoming a certainty, that the government of our nation deliberately fibbed us into a pointless, catastrophic war.

You are shocked, shocked to hear such allegations, right? That “the government of our nation deliberately fibbed us into a pointless, catastrophic war.” Scurrilous. Outrageous. (I mean the allegations, of course.) But if you’re in the mood for more scurrility, try The Way of the World, by Ron Suskind. The author claims that, to bolster its rationale for invading Iraq, the Bush Administration faked a letter linking Saddam with the 9/11 conspiracy.

Book says White House ordered forgery

According to Suskind, the administration had been in contact with the director of the Iraqi intelligence service in the last years of Hussein’s regime, Tahir Jalil Habbush al-Tikriti.

“The White House had concocted a fake letter from Habbush to Saddam, backdated to July 1, 2001,” Suskind writes. “It said that 9/11 ringleader Mohammad Atta had actually trained for his mission in Iraq – thus showing, finally, that there was an operational link between Saddam and al Qaeda, something the Vice President’s Office had been pressing CIA to prove since 9/11 as a justification to invade Iraq. There is no link.”

Think of it. Our Vice President, accused of underhanded dealing. It’s the sort of thing which offends not only all decent people, but Dick Cheney as well. In fact, it could be this sort of foul trumped-up — dare I say “blasphemous” — personal insult which has prompted the Veep to skip the Republican convention this year.

In and Out of Action

Vice President Dick Cheney will not make an appearance at the Republican convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul next month, according to sources in his office. Cheney has not sought a speaking slot at the convention, nor has his staff sought a role for him at the convention.

See what I mean? The man must be heart-broken and crest-fallen, weary in soul and spirit, over the vile charges leveled against him.

Then again, as The American Spectator suggests, it might be something altogether different. He might not be going to the convention because he has not been invited.

The McCain campaign has not gone out of its way to reach out to Cheney, though a segment of conservative Republicans had been pressing the campaign to include Cheney in the convention agenda.

“Conservatives still think highly of him and are enthusiastic supporters whenever he speaks,” says a leading conservative who has spoken to the campaign about Cheney. “For a campaign that has largely failed in reaching out to conservatives, reaching out to Cheney wouldn’t be a bad idea.”

McCain and Cheney famously do not get along, and with McCain’s focus being almost exclusively on attracting independents and women to the polls, it’s not a surprise that engaging Cheney isn’t on the top of his list.

Be it noted that The American Spectator is a highly-respected ultra-conservative (if that’s not an oxymoron) publication, not some filthy liberal rag.

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