"Shallow Throat": Ratchet It
Up, Take 'Em Down
November 7, 2005
By Bernard Weiner, The
"The wheels are coming off the bus," a giddy Shallow Throat said.
"Now that the Bush Administration is imploding from within, it's
time for those of us on the outside to set more political charges."
"So many who have wanted to 'get' these creeps, but who have been
silent before, are leaking damaging information about them. The
Establishment conservatives - those who were pushed out of influence
and power by the neo-cons who hijacked our party - are getting their
message out daily: it's okay to get rid of these Bush guys because
if we don't, they'll take us all down with them - the party, the
economy, the Constitution, the military, the veterans, whatever's
left of respect for the U.S. in the world."
I hadn't seen Shallow Throat like this in a long, long time. The
high-ranking Bush Administration GOP mole, who previously had revealed
so much of the motivations and weaknesses from inside the White
House, just let the words come pouring out.
"In short, we're at the shores of Lake Critical Mass, my friend
- but not quite to the Promised Land. Tell your liberal Dem colleagues
to ratchet up the pressure and join us traditional conservatives
in pushing this crew off the political cliff. If we each work our
respective constituencies with intelligence and determination, the
long nightmare will soon be over."
"But where to push the hardest?" I asked. "Where are they weakest?
We don't want to scatter-shot our energies."
DRY-ROT CAN DO WONDERS
"Their main points of weakness? Try anywhere. Their whole foundation,
built on lies and fraud and corruption and in-your-face arrogance
and bullying, has rampant dry-rot at the core. Just hit it hard,
anywhere, and more structure will fall off, by this time almost
on its own."
"Good metaphor," I said, "but give us some specific guidance here.
Should we concentrate on the Iraq war? Supreme Court nominees? Corruption?
"What I'm saying," Shallow Throat responded, "is that it's shadow-cabinet
time. The Dems, if they're smart, will organize their forces accordingly.
Certain Democratic senators and representatives should have specific
portfolios of attack. Some, those with special expertise, should
concentrate on Iraq. Some on corruption, focusing on DeLay, Frist,
Abramoff, Cheney. Some on our electoral system rife with fraud and
vote-tabulation manipulations. Some on the Constitution and abuse
of police power. Some should be shadowing Rove, Cheney, Rumsfeld,
Bush. Some on the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Gonzales torture policies.
Some on following out the Scooter Libby and Niger Yellowcake chain.
Some on Alito and his way-out-of-the-mainstream ideological jurisprudence
and open conflicts of interest. Some on foreign policy, especially
how the Bush neocons are anxious to move the U.S. to war with Syria
"To change metaphors, the Bush Administration is like a great
white shark beached right now, mostly by its own actions. In such
a position, it's extremely vulnerable, but in order to ensure that
it doesn't escape at the next Hard-Right high tide, you've got to
tie it up tightly. You've got to organize the various teams so that
everyone knows how and where to throw the ropes over the carcass,
where the nodal points of weakness are.
"If everyone's merely running around shouting and cheering, you'll
just get your ropes all tangled up and little will be accomplished,
except to make everyone temporarily feel good. We don't want to
feel good, we want to get this batch of crooks and liars and power-hungry
zealots out of the peoples' White House, so we can begin to undo
the years of Bush & Co. damage and start the restoration process.
GOP ELITE MAKES ITS MOVE
"That's one reason why I'm suggesting that you make as many alliances
as you can, even if some of them are only tangential, with the traditional
elements of the GOP, the Establishment conservatives, the moderate
rank-and-file, those good reasonable conservatives in the Congress
worried about their chances for re-election," said ST. "Use what
they're saying about this Bush crew - Bill Buckley, Larry Wilkerson,
Colin Powell, Brent Scowcroft, John Danforth, the leakers in the
CIA, the revealers of the Downing Street Memos, et al. These are
not dastardly 'liberals'; these make up the backbone of traditional
"Those speaking out against the Busheviks are taking giant risks
right now saying what they're saying, and they need all the support
they can get. Yes, of course, they should have revealed all this
stuff years ago, but don't waste energy denouncing them for their
belated courage, the point is that they're saying it now. Use it."
"But how," I asked, "can we ensure that the Dems will not falter,
that they are willing to take the lead in attacking the Bush Administration
frontally on all these issues?"
"Look, Bernie," said ST, "for years, your progressive friends
have been pointing out how spineless the Democrats have been in
the face of Karl Rove's mendacious assault on them and the democratic
process as a whole. But now, sensing the weaknesses and openings
in the crumbling Bush & Co. facade, they're starting to make forays,
starting to rack up a few victories. In some ways, as unbelievable
as it sounds, they are starting to make noises as if they finally
understand what the word 'opposition' means. (A few already have
taken the necessary giant step: admitting they were wrong in granting
Bush authorization to take the country to war in Iraq, because the
Administration lied and misled them as they also lied and deceived
the public at large.)
"As these Democratic leaders begin to speak out - especially Harry
Reid in the Senate and Nancy Pelosi in the House - don't bad-mouth
them for their earlier timidity; praise them and encourage them
for what they're doing now. Keep your eyes on the prize: cleansing
the White House of this ruinous, reckless, incompetent crew. You
can fight among yourselves later."
"What I don't understand," I asked, "is what do you guys, you
traditional Republicans, get out of encouraging us progressive Democrats
to lead the fight in toppling the Bushies?"
RE-OPENING THE BIG CENTER
"I thought that would be self-evident," said Shallow Throat, with
a you-really-have-to-ask? look thrown my way. "We're frozen out.
The Hard-Rightists, neo-con crazies and religious zealots have a
total lock on power in the Republican Party. The only way we can
ever hope for our more realistic and moderate candidates to get
back into contention is to impeach or otherwise get rid of this
destructive cabal. We'd prefer to do it ourselves but we're too
weak right now. This time out, the Dems must take the lead in bringing
"After that, the Big Center is open once again - you guys in the
center-left, we in the center-right. In a fair fight - which means
an honest electoral system, with hand-counted paper ballots by official
poll workers - we think we can whip your butts, but even if your
side wins, we still have a good shot the next time. Now do you get
it? It's in our self-interest - which just happens to be what's
good for the country as a whole - to return the federal government
to the Big Center by eliminating those who don't give a fig for
democratic institutions, except how to manipulate and distort them
in the service of a tiny sliver of the American population."
"And you're convinced that the Bushies can be taken now, that
they're that weak?" I asked.
"For sure. But with several important caveats. They may be dumb
and incompetent, but they're not politically stupid, they're still
in power, and they have few moral qualms. They see what you and
I see, that they're in free-fall right now, and that they're no
longer trusted or seen as occupying the moral/ethical high ground;
they realize that unless they take some drastic action to stop that
free-fall, they're going down - with huge anchors tied around their
necks: Iraq, Katrina, Libby, jobs, torture, widescale corruption,
the conservative Establishment revealing even more of their mendacity
and incompetence, etc.
BEWARE THE WALKING WOUNDED
"Which translates into: They will do anything, anything,
to stave off their impending loss of power. If they feel they have
to totally shift the focus, to distract the public from the Administration's
self-created woes, they will act accordingly; launch an attack on
another country; look the other way again as a large-scale terrorist
attack (or public health threat) takes place inside the United States;
kick their slime-machine into high gear against anyone who criticizes
them. In short, don't take your eyes off the Busheviks for a second;
they're wounded, cornered animals ready to do anything to strike
out and escape the political noose - and, not incidentally, likely
criminal prosecutions down the line."
"But," I asked, "if the situation inside the Administration is
so scary for those deemed 'disloyal,' why are you risking your neck
to talk to me and get the word out to your ostensible political
"The enemy of my enemy is my friend. The enemies for us all right
now are those holding the reins of political power in the federal
government. We work together now, we fight it out later in the good,
old-fashioned, civil way we've always fought. Let the best ideas
win - not the biggest lies.
"Sure, I'm frightened of what might happen to me if I were caught
talking with you. But, as I said when I came into this tavern, the
objective conditions are now there for taking down this bumbling,
vicious, greedy crew. Even if my own neck is at risk, at least I'll
know I'd be helping take them down with me. Not a bad bargain."
And with that, Shallow Throat, wearing a calm, big grin, vanished
into the night. I sat there sipping my Negra Modelo, feeling uplifted,
Bernard Weiner, co-editor of The
Crisis Papers, has conversed with the fictional Shallow Throat
on numerous other occasions. Formerly a writer-editor with the San
Francisco Chronicle, he has taught politics & international relations
at various universities. To comment, write email@example.com.
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