Democratic Underground

"Shallow Throat": Ratchet It Up, Take 'Em Down

November 7, 2005
By Bernard Weiner, The Crisis Papers

"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? Torture? Where?"

"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 and/or Iran.

"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 center-right rule.

"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 them down.

"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 enemies?"

"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, warm, hopeful.

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 crisispapers@comcast.net.

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