Hunter Thompsons Ghost I: The Afterlife does not disappoint
The afterlife does not disappoint. I share a room in Hell with Gordon Liddy's mother, (not a bad gig if you don't mind mustached women on the "bony" side) a floor above Nixon, who, as is only fitting, is rooming with his mother. They seem to get on quite well with each other and refuse to stop blaming JFK for the fact that they are here. One of the few pleasures afforded me is the opportunity to remind them, as I pass en route to my afternoon torture session, that the sole reason I've taken up residence in this mindless dump is due to a technicality… It seems, ironically, that Dick and I both have been doomed to this existence due to our insistence on employing our own preferred "exit strategies."
I have endured since my arrival constant updates from the soul of Pat Buchanan, who is still alive but apparently made prior arrangements when he walked away from the Nixonian disaster of the '70's unscathed and ready to dive headlong into the Reagan era. Pat has done well for himself, and the updates he's channeled this direction indicate that things have taken a turn for the worse since my departure, and thus, a resurrection appears to be in order.
The updates are like a supernatural RSS feed, and the news continues to teeter precariously between the horrific and the absurd. Apparently Vice President Cheney, (whose soul, like Buchanan's, resides here already in a room prepared for his daughter), errantly shot his friend during a Texas quail hunt. News reports indicate that Cheney mistook the man, attorney Harry Whittington, for a smallish, earth-colored bird and opened fire with a high-powered yet elegant 28 gauge shotgun, managing to pepper half his face, his neck, and enough of his chest with birdshot to send the laughable schmuck into cardiac arrest.
Luckily Whittington survived or manslaughter charges may have caused the VP to go the route of Spiro Agnew and resign amidst what has become the darkest of times for the meanest and nastiest of administrations.
Yes, the good times enjoyed by the wildest bunch of brush-cutters to occupy the Whitehouse since Colson, Hunt, Haldeman and the rest of Tricky Dick's looney tunes staff, appears to be reaching its end. Bush has certainly taken on the same look of confused madness that plagued Nixon toward the end. It has reached the point where it is far from difficult to imagine him kneeling in the Lincoln bedroom in a gin-soaked haze, praying for guidance to Honest Abe's portrait with Henry Kissinger in tow…
Of course, Nixon never had the knack for humor that Bush has refined to a near work of art. Where Bush scores "cowboy points," with his off the cuff and genuinely dumb-sounding remarks, Nixon could only come off as a sweaty wannabe in over his head in a room full of silver-spoon suckling rich boys. Otherwise he would likely have gone down in the history books as our nation's finest executive examples. The bombing of Cambodia, Kent State, Watergate, and Howard Hunt would have all gone unnoticed by history's unsteady eye if only Dick could have won America's hearts. Perhaps Nixon was the great lesson for the Republican Party. Whatever you do, don't get caught with a candidate lacking charisma. That, more than cheating, killing, stealing, or lying, will ruin a presidency faster than you can say WMD. Since the Nixon debacle, the Grand Old Party has enjoyed unfathomable success while the Democrats have bumbled forward with well-meaning nerds and social rejects like Mondale, Dukakis, Gore, and Kerry, refusing in spite of themselves to learn from the successes of Bill Clinton, who not only survived impeachment over his terrible urges, but who is currently enjoying a positive resurgence of his place in history thanks to the evil deeds of this hateful and despicable crowd that has invaded the Whitehouse over the past 6 years.
And while Cheney has dominated the news, the true horror of the war in Iraq continues to enjoy very little coverage outside of PBS and the Al Jazeera. The same morning the Cheney shooting broke (mysteriously 14 hours after the actual incident, announced not by the Vice President's staff but rather a small town Texas "beat writer" from a local county rag), Iraqi children were spotted running into the crossfire of American Troops and insurgent rebels. Of course 24 hour news channels like Fox News and MSNBC were far too busy with the real story to dedicate time to "downer news" like that.
Perhaps the worst monster created from the Watergate disaster, which started this nation on a downward spiral to the Orwellian depths we've managed since, is that of the national media. It was then that politicians realized that to control the press is to control the public, and only the genius of hardcore party men like Limbaugh and Rove could initiate the myth of the "liberal" media, causing all reporters to tread even more carefully than before in the interest of objectivity, when, in reality, that was never necessary. Because of this, the news, even that beyond Fox, has moved to the right unwittingly, and with it, the American conscious.
This slow, steady move to the right is the product of hard work and a solid plan. The Republican Party has built its base for the past 30 years out of dedicated volunteers/disciples, effective propaganda, and a solid, steadfast message. While Democrats appeared to stand for only that which reflect their latest polls, the Republicans have conveyed a message, and much like another resident in my new "building", Adolf Hitler, they have not only given their followers rhetoric fit for any political argument, but have also given them a target to hate. The ivy league liberal intellectual establishment. Homosexuals. Hippies. Have we forgotten how powerful a political tool hate can be?
And not only has the brain-trust of this president, (the Roves and Cheneys and Wolfowitz's etc) orchestrated this plan, this implementation of fear and hate on a scale not seen since Joseph Stalin saw fit to imprison and/or kill his citizens and employees, but they have also managed to use the most unlikely of resources to pound their message home. Christian conservatives. The very people who supposedly embrace a savior of love and forgiveness have been victimized by the politics of hatred.
Unfortunately for everyone, the Democratic party, and its supporters, have managed to step forward and stand for very little. Because of this they have done nothing to change their image of a bunch of mock-intellectual hippies/yuppies/queers who occupy their free time by smoking grass and complaining about the man as they convince one another that they really are somehow more intelligent and more evolved than their counterparts on the right.
But make no mistake my friends. A differential in intelligence is not the issue here. There are plenty of smart people on both sides of the fence. The issue, during this savage and dangerous era, is a matter of will, and the GOP has imposed its will in a way that Howard Dean and his happy band of geeks and peaceniks are unable to comprehend.
Which leads us to the questionable leadership in the Democratic Party over the past 6 years. Clinton's gang understood how to play the game. They created the most prosperous time in our nation's history during the '90's because they weren't afraid to organize and fight. Since then the Party's leadership has endured a transition from the bumbling and treacherous Al Gore, who has done a fine impersonation as some deranged doppelganger of Richard Nixon(another column in itself I suppose) to horrible wimps like Tom Daschle and Richard Gephardt, only to be upstaged by the capable but disastrously boring John Kerry. And now, with Dean at the helm, the future seems grim even while the Bush regime stands embroiled in tumult, marred by scandals that in some way have touched every member of the Fuhrer's inner circle.
Yes, the wild boys in the Whitehouse have made enough trouble to leave the door wide open for the Democrats in the '06 elections. But instead of seizing opportunity and regaining control of the house, or senate, or at least making bona fide progress in that direction, the party of the jackass, under Dean's leadership, has remained disorganized and seemingly inept. It will take a virtual miracle for the Democrats to bounce back and return a sense of balance to this republic.
Even worse, the Party possesses a dearth of stars. Barack Obama exploded on the scene at the DNC in '04 with a speech for the ages, and is rumored to be a vice presidential hopeful in '08. His star is perhaps brighter than any other in either party.
But for the most part, the old standbys have done their part to mute the bright voices and new faces within the Democratic ranks. Instead the party plods forward, seemingly hell bent on hanging its entire future hopes on the idea that Hillary, with her new forged alliance with Bush Sr., can somehow win one for the team in 2008.
By then, it will be too late. If the Democrats pull the same chickenshit, hair-brained cut and run politics they used in the year(s) preceding the '04 elections, we are finished. Then, the party brass decided no one would beat Bush and focused their efforts on….. actually, none of us can really say where Democratic efforts were focused in '04. Kerry scared the living hell out of Bush without the organization and backing he deserved from the Dem's, who assumed they'd sent the Senator from Massachusetts to humiliation and whipping at the hands of the powerful Bush/Cheney ticket. It wasn't until the presidential debates, when Kerry trounced Bush like a mongoose dismantling a king cobra, that the party realized their man had a chance, and at that point it was too little, too late. Kerry had been a horrible, uncharismatic, uninspiring choice as a nominee, and yet had come oh so close with little or no help from his own party.
Yet so few seem to have learned from that experience. Democrats speaking to the media tend to hint that they believe the GOP will lose seats in Congress this autumn, but those of us outside their Washington circles have seen little or no push or energy from a party that should smell blood in the water. Instead we have seen recycled candidates who couldn't win before, or recycled messages that set the candidates up for the greatest criticism of all; the Democratic Party is a party of no ideas.
The bottom line, as it were, is that the Fourth Reich has arrived in America and those of you who believe it will all come to an end in '08 must stop with that foolish and irresponsible thinking NOW. Democrats must take action and it must be responsible action. Support your local candidates in 2006. But don't do it with goofy music festivals where only people who already believe what you believe are going to get together and pretend they're political. Make a difference with the undecided. Grow up!!
In closing, for now, I would like to remind all of you who you are dealing with. If you believe that America will heal itself with new leadership in 2008, you are assuming that a new leader will be appointed then. But that is not a safe assumption in a world caught on the verge of a third world war in which the United States and Israel could very well be pitted against the entire nation of Islam. If this were the case, do you believe for one minute that Rove would allow his man Bush to step aside in 2008? Hell no! It would be just the kind of scenario to pave the way to abolishing presidential term limits. As a matter of fact, would any of you put it past these swine to attempt to do away with elections until the "war" is resolved? And how would the Democrats stop such a push without control of any branch of government? Perhaps this thinking is extreme, but that does not diminish the disregard this regime has displayed toward civil rights since the tragedy of 9/11.
Oh well. It doesn't matter to me. Down here, they peel away my skin and soak me in rice vinegar every day at 3:30PM one way or another. After that it's on to hard labor in the skull mines until dawn. Arduous and boring I admit, but still nothing so brutal as watching a madman control a nation full of freaks just begging to be fed their next fix of American Idol or Survivor. We will march on a road of bones.
Until next time.