By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
Do you not think of Bush and Ashcroft as Americans?
I think of them as an alien army. They have managed to take over everything, and quite in the open. We have a deranged president. We have despotism. We have no due process.
Yet you saw in the ’60s how the Johnson administration collapsed under the weight of its own hubris. Likewise with Nixon. And now with the discontent over how the war in Iraq is playing out, don’t you get the impression that Bush is headed for the same fate?
I actually see something smaller tripping him up: this business over outing the wife of Ambassador Wilson as a CIA agent. It’s often these small things that get you. Something small enough for a court to get its teeth into. Putting this woman at risk because of anger over what her husband has done is bitchy, dangerous to the nation, dangerous to other CIA agents. This resonates more than Iraq. I’m afraid that 90 percent of Americans don’t know where Iraq is and never will know, and they don’t care.
But that number of $87 billion is seared into their brains, because there isn’t enough money to go around. The states are broke. Meanwhile, the right wing has been successful in convincing 99 percent of the people that we ‰ are generously financing every country on Earth, that we are bankrolling welfare mothers, all those black ladies that the Republicans are always running against, the ladies they tell us are guzzling down Kristal champagne at the Ambassador East in Chicago — which of course is ridiculous.
And now the people see another $87 billion going out the window. So long! People are going to rebel against that one. Congress has gone along with that, but a lot of congressmen could lose their seats for that.
Speaking of elections, is George W. Bush going to be re-elected next year?
No. At least if there is a fair election, an election that is not electronic. That would be dangerous. We don’t want an election without a paper trail. The makers of the voting machines say no one can look inside of them, because they would reveal trade secrets. What secrets? Isn’t their job to count votes? Or do they get secret messages from Mars? Is the cure for cancer inside the machines? I mean, come on. And all three owners of the companies who make these machines are donors to the Bush administration. Is this not corruption?
So Bush will probably win if the country is covered with these balloting machines. He can’t lose.
But Gore, aren’t you still enough of a believer in the democratic instincts of ordinary people to think that, in the end, those sorts of conspiracies eventually fall apart?
Oh no! I find they only get stronger, more entrenched. Who would have thought that Harry Truman’s plans to militarize America would have come as far as we are today? All the money we have wasted on the military, while our schools are nowhere. There is no health care; we know the litany. We get nothing back for our taxes. I wouldn’t have thought that would have lasted the last 50 years, which I lived through. But it did last.
But getting back to Bush. If we use old-fashioned paper ballots and have them counted in the precinct where they are cast, he will be swept from office. He’s made every error you can. He’s wrecked the economy. Unemployment is up. People can’t find jobs. Poverty is up. It’s a total mess. How does he make such a mess? Well, he is plainly very stupid. But the people around him are not. They want to stay in power.
You paint a very dark picture of the current administration and of the American political system in general. But at a deeper, more societal level, isn’t there still a democratic underpinning?
No. There are some memories of what we once were. There are still a few old people around who remember the New Deal, which was the last time we had a government that showed some interest in the welfare of the American people. Now we have governments, in the last 20 to 30 years, that care only about the welfare of the rich.
Is Bush the worst president we’ve ever had?
Well, nobody has ever wrecked the Bill of Rights as he has. Other presidents have dodged around it, but no president before this one has so put the Bill of Rights at risk. No one has proposed preemptive war before. And two countries in a row that have done no harm to us have been bombed.
How do you think the current war in Iraq is going to play out?
I think we will go down the tubes right with it. With each action Bush ever more enrages the Muslims. And there are a billion of them. And sooner or later they will have a Saladin who will pull them together, and they will come after us. And it won’t be pretty.
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