James Clay Fuller

Things We're Not Supposed to Say

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

They may lose, but will they go away?

Only smug, self-satisfied jerks say “I told you so.”

I’m going to do a modified “I told somebody so” anyway, though I deny self satisfaction. I’m going to do it because the little story below demonstrates the absolute predictability of the Bush crowd, which is a fact that liberals should be exploiting with considerably more skill than they have shown thus far.

Several days ago, Will Shapira -- an old friend of mine, a journalism school classmate, a radio and television reporter before he turned to public relations years ago– reminded me that about two years ago I predicted that the Bush nasties would start looking for a way to postpone or ignore the 2004 election results should they find themselves losing or in danger of losing.

What I said, as I now recall quite clearly, was: “Those people want to hold power at all costs. They despise democracy. They want to transform our government and keep themselves in charge, and they won’t necessarily step aside just because they lose the next election. They have no scruples, and they will happily lie, cheat and steal to get what they want.”

Well, that’s almost it. The observation to my two old pals may have included a Cheney-like suggestion or two involving anatomical impossibilities for the Republicans, but we needn’t go further into that.

Anyway, Will’s recollection was, of course, inspired by last week’s trial balloon from the Bush crowd. You know: The one about how it might be a good idea to “postpone” the November elections if terrorists perpetrate another horror in this country right before election day.

Well, maybe you don’t know. A shocking number of newspapers – and virtually all local news shows – ignored the story, even though it was big enough, and widely enough disseminated, that even the big cable news organizations covered it to one degree or another.

But it’s out there. The Bushies floated the idea of postponing the November election and are, I’m certain, watching closely to see how many people object and whether the objections are strong or limp.

Ridiculous? Think now: We’re talking about people who stole the last presidential election through a combination of chicanery and ownership of a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court justices. (Injustices?) They are the people who issue a terror alert every time something happens to boost the public standing of the political opposition. (Yes, every single “orange alert” has been tied to some event that hurt or might have hurt the Bushies politically.) They are the people who openly – and almost without challenge – are emptying the U.S. Treasury to pour billions upon billions of dollars into the pockets of their backers and friends.

And they are, above all else, the people who deliberately put us into an utterly unnecessary and foolish war – condemning many thousands of human beings to death – to further their own political and commercial goals.

Should they lose in November despite all the dirty tricks and voter fraud they can put together, there still seems to me a serious question about whether they will step down.

I know, I know. Probably 99 percent of Americans believe, as Sinclair Lewis said, “It Can’t Happen Here.” But Lewis thought it could, and so do I..

What’s to prevent the Bush people from trumping up some threat or actual event to postpone an election – perhaps for years, perhaps forever? Would they stop short of staging an event, even if X number of people die? (Did they stop short of creating the war on utterly false pretenses?)

My wife speaks for the overwhelming majority, no doubt, when she tells me the American people would never allow it.

She has more faith in the people than I do these days. It was obvious before the invasion of Iraq that there was no legitimate reason for creating such a war, yet most of the American public backed Bush unquestioningly. Even after the established facts made it impossible for any rational person to believe the stated reasons for the invasion,a substantial majority said the war was necessary and Bush was doing a fine job as president.

Even now, with still more truths laid before us, with the venality of the Bush crowd proven, half or more of the population of this country cling to the belief that G.W. Bush is a good president. (Hell, they even believe he is president, in fact as well as in name.)

I hope, passionately, that should they fail to steal this year’s election, Bush/Cheney and Co. will go away, but I can’t quite trust that to be true.


I want to make one brief observation about “Fahrenheit 9/11."

Every critic I’ve seen, and all of the “pundits” who have commented on the film, have mentioned the seven minutes during which our nominal president sat in an elementary school classroom after being told about the attack on the World Trade Center.

However, to my amazement now that I’ve seen the film, I haven’t read a single comment about what the camera shows during those seven minutes.

Whoever was shooting the film in that classroom – someone who was ignorant of what was whispered into the nominal president’s ear – stayed focused on Bush. Much of the film is in near-closeup. If Bush were an actor in a fictional drama, critics and public alike would be roaring praise for his portrayal; he said nothing, but his face clearly displayed his emotions and thoughts. The viewer cannot mistake what was going on inside George W. Bush during those moments.

He was in panic. He was confused and terrified. He hadn’t glimmer of a thought about what he should do. He needed to be told what to do, to be led by the hand, but for seven minutes that must have seemed like hours to him no one came.

You can’t doubt any of that if you see him twitching, his mouth moving this way and that, his eyes wide in panic.

Too bad none of the critics had the guts to say that, rather than going for the safely cliched complaints about Michael Moore’s “rants.”