LAST DEBATE  MADNESS  Political Subscription Newsletter

                                                                                                                                Fm:   Stop the Madness






ABORTED PROSPECTS:  Explosive claims that Bush helped a girl get an abortion in 1970 (when still illegal) were aired by Larry Flynt on CNN Crossfire. He claimed to have loads of proof before he was cut off  (though BBC says “no”)- later CNN erased the transcript of the exchange on their website. Despite our reservations about Flynt, he’s an American hero- his investigations into the Repubs spectacular sexual hypocrisy + perfidy may have saved the Clinton Presidency. Great effort will be taken in the next 2 weeks to prevent the airing of huge “unsubstantiated” (true) charges against Dubbaya.         

Speak of which, Bush has never spoken of his summer in Alaska in ’74 (+ it’s not mentioned in his bio), when he worked for a North Slope airline cargo carrier at a time that Fairbanks was flooded with oil money and drugs. Coincidentally, his floating denials about drug use only go back to ’74.


THE LAST DANCE:   Big Al largely redeemed himself on Tuesday’s final debate, arguing his case well and tripping up Bush again and again,

Bush ducked and deeked, pathetically bobbed and weaved (“he’s calling me a mean guy”) like someone whining for his mommy (Lehrer), “he’s violating the rules”. This ain’t a Texas tough guy, but a silver spoon hack whom the Press has, as with Reagan, inexplicably given a pass: no tough questions, no follow ups, many off-limits topics, no calling him on his linguistic butchery. A list of babbling Bushisms of debate:

 And there were some whoppers- that he helped pass the Texas patient bill of rights, when Bush first vetoed it, then let it become law without his signing.

 16 lies + misstatements  Lehrer was so limp that he may have damaged his journalistic standing- he looked to be auditioning for high school principle (“bup, bup, bup, that’s against the rules”). We met Robin McNeil a few years ago- I think he was much of the backbone of that show. He did sharply question one of Bush’s fuzzy facts about Al (“3 times”???).

Incredibly many pundits and some polls thought the debate even, which simply doesn’t make sense. Bush barely answered one question clearly and honestly, he had no command of the facts, and barely seemed to tread water.  At the closing, his eye blink rate (which is supposed to indicate pressure + honesty) was going like a semaphore, spastically fast, and he seemed close to panic. Afterwards we had to listen to the pontifications of the undecided, the morons vacant enough to not have any opinion or convictions yet. Hey these people LIE to get on these shows- why not get a group of Gore + a group of Bush people and let them go at each other, instead of this tiresome political weegee board exercise.

GORE GOOFS:  Incredibly Al allowed GB2 to attack him (inaccurately, since Bush’s tax cuts make his programs more expensive) again for creating big government without blowing him out of the water with this simple retort:  “When it come to big government, nobody was worse than Reagan/Bush, who caused $4 trillion of deficits and $1 trillion of savings and loan failures: 20% of your federal taxes go to paying interest on that debt. And George Bush wants to do it again with the same tax breaks for the rich. Meanwhile we balanced the budget and have helped cause the greatest economic boom of our nation’s history. George Bush is economically reckless and radical, the Democrats are now the financially responsible party.”  With this utterly truthful and powerful approach Gore could crush the Repubs “big spender” label, which is a big reason for people’s support of Bush.    I asked former CNN + NBC Presidential campaign reporter Claire Shipman about why the press never illuminated this stinking hypocrisy at a conference + hopefully planted a seed. Press’s double standard (2nd debate):,7243,57689,00.html

FINDING the BILL:  Al’s biggest mistake may be in allowing his lingering distaste for Billy Boy’s sexual shenanigans to color his political calculus, and allow the greatest politician of the 20th Century to go wasted. In distancing himself from Clinton, AG is also distancing himself from the great economy and the administration’s many accomplishments; but keeping a genetic political animal bottled up in the White House is stupid, stubborn, and maybe fatal. Yes, Clint would outshine Gore, as his chuckling “I could have gagged” comment showed, but he could be utterly devastating in puncturing Bush’s foul hot air balloons- and his penchant for distortion, bumbling, and hiding. Bill can illuminate Dubbya’s claimed non-partisanship with his own experience with the Gingrich/Delay/Lott Congress-  6 years, $100 million dollars worth, of spurious vindictive prosecutions. Not using the Constitutionally brutal impeachment coup attempt against the Repubs, when 70% were opposed to it, is foolish. It’s hard to believe that Bill wouldn’t mow through George W Bush election chances like an overgrown lawn. Latest polls have Gore down by 2 points right after others that had him down 7-10 points but I think they’re crap, just like I thought Gore’s lead was baloney. After a public reunion in LA, Bill is playing a bigger part, stumping for AG in Indiana on Sat.  and trashing Bush’s record in upstate NY.

Bush’s repeated character attacks on Gore should be stopped: this is a 15 year drunk (“falling down” according to an outraged Texas caller to C-Span) who went AWOL for a year, probably did drugs that he punishes people harshly for, constantly distorts and misstates his and his opponents records and plans, waged a unfair vicious battle against Ann Richards, executes people by the score with barely a thought or deep reflection, and hasn’t accomplished one thing in his life without the massive intervention of his father’s millionaire pals and political cronies. Devastating huge excellent anti-Bush site:

HEEEEEERE’S GEORGE DUBBYA:  Bush spent a whole hour on Letterman, and initially I thought the whole thing was frighteningly deferential; from an audience obviously packed with Shrub partisans; to a monologue broadside at Al Gore. Dave was friendly and Bush was personable enough, cracking self-depreciating jokes, and getting big applause with his threats on the Zodiac terrorists. Dave relentless bored in, like a hungry caterpillar, searching for some core of beliefs or ideas or character. Essentially he didn’t find any- Bush was sublimely blithe, unconcerned about anything even as he mouthed the proper responses, a man comfortable in his lack of any intellectual depth or reflection (a necessary component for character). He was an asshole about making the “asshole” comment, utterly unapologetic; couldn’t quite get what Dave was getting at in capital punishment, “Are there any circumstances that would make you doubt it (whether execution was deserved)?”…“If, say, the person was innocent!!” Dave prompted finally.  Bush was totally resistant to possibility of global warming, and heedless about danger of drilling in the Arctic Nat. Refuge (“that was a joke, right- you don’t really want to do that,” Dave prodded). At the end Letterman was obviously stunned at Bush's vacancy, "Well, I want to wish you good luck (but I won't be voting for you!!!)", was so clearly unspoken I heard it in my head.

At one point Bush made the most incredible mistake of the race, in talking about the national oil reserve, which he claimed Clinton/Gore was improperly tapping in late Sept (about the only claim he made that’s true). He said it was “up there somewhere” (near Alaska, which they’d just been discussing). WHAT???? He spent 16 years in the oil business- his daddy was in the oil business and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is <60 miles from Houston and <200 mi. from Austin - in Freeport + Winnie, Texas + 2 sites in Louisiana, all on the coast or an inlet inside salt domes. Not knowing that exposes him as an absolute flake who doesn’t know the first thing about his business, his neighborhood, or his country’s defense strategy.

Somehow, in the talk show lottery, Bush got Sat Night Live + Letterman (pandering to the hip), Big Al, pandering to women, did Rosie and Regis (is that your final answer?). We hoped Sat Night Live, which won the ’76 election for Carter by lampooning probably the best Presidential athlete as a clumsy fool, had some slick land mines in place for GB2, who’s prone to blowing off his foot without even knowing it, but he didn’t even show up  (“Gov, you want to steal a trillion dollars from Social Security and give it to rich people”,  they savaged him).

PUNDITS PEARLS:   David Nyhan of the Boston Globe finally takes off the gloves in a searing Bush blast:    “The man doesn't get it. He doesn't understand the complexities of government. He's a sound-bite guy, a winker and blinker, a one-pager type of guy, who works short hours and doesn't sweat the small stuff, like the details. He can do two minutes, max, on a rehearsed answer, but any kind of follow up or extended colloquy throws him for a Texas-sized loop. That's why, when the debate ended, he looked like a kid just off a roller-coaster - pale, nervous, hoping he never has to do that again.”

New Republic puts it pithily in an highly intelligent endorsement for Gore: “Al Gore may not be the most charming man in politics, but on many of the critical questions of our time--from his warnings about global warming to his hostility to Slobodan Milosevic, from his insistence on deficit reduction to his support for welfare reform--he has not simply been right, he has been right before much of the rest of the political class even started paying attention. If he loses on November 7, it will not simply set America on an ideological course that we consider perilous and unworthy of our best traditions. It will be a sign that we are not living in a serious age.”

The New York Times also endorsed Gore, listing Bush’s inaccuracies and misstatements; and the Wash Post ( + LA Times, Minneapolis Star/Tribune, Detroit Free Press, Louisville Courier/Journal) did the same- more strongly, with some digs at Gore. Shockingly the Portland Oregonian + Cleveland Plain Dealer endorsed Bush.

BUSH’S TEXAS GULAG:   Bush’s incredible prison policies (his real affirmative action) were elucidated by a Boston Globe writer. If a separate country, Texas would have the highest incarceration rate in the world, 55% of which are non-violent- a population that’s more than the entire jail population of Great Britain (with 1/3 the pop). Blacks are imprisoned in Texas 63% more than the nat. average, though 44% of Tx prison pop, they get probation and drug treatment at 1/3 the rate of whites.

TALE OF THE TAPE:  The bizarre saga of the purloined Bush practice debate tape continues, with a full FBI investigation causing fear and loathing throughout the Bush high command after subpoenaing boxes and boxes of their records. This is biblical justice: the Repub obsession for investigation + politicizing the FBI leading to a criminal investigation of a non-crime- ironically there is evidence that it was a dirty trick setup: a Post Office video shows top media advisor Mark McKinnon’s assistant Yvette Lozano mailing an express package that they claimed were GAP pants (which arrived a few miles away a week later). The fact that they could and would find something this trivial should be a wake-up call to privacy advocates before America becomes like London, with 1 million cameras videotaping street corners, buildings, stores. We find this a dubious dirty trick, but Bush strategist Karl Rove has done things like it before. The anti-Clinton NY Daily News even demands answers:   Stolen tape scandal:


SILENCING RALPH’S MOUTH:   Though I’ve warned of the great dangers of Nader’s candidacy, we still are shocked at the contemptuous way he’s been treated at the debates- denied entrance and manhandled by low-rent security guards, as if the queries he carried were so threatening to the parties’ muddling appeal to the undecided that he had to banned even from the audience. Hey- he has several million votes as a candidate for President, what kind of ugly exclusionary place is America becoming? He could have steered Gore-Tex toward some real issues (like corporate control over campaign finance, the plight of the poor) and probably deflated Bush’s blubbering with a few deft lances. Alarmingly, Nader is threatening spoiler numbers in 6 states, esp Wa (11%),Or,Me,Wi,Mn,Pa,Nm,Fl. If the Democrats had embraced him instead of treating him like a pariah, they could have expected more of his votes. One report by Outside says Nader actually PREFERS a BUSH victory; theoretically if things go far enough in the wrong direction, people will clamor for Ralph. This was the Communists' tactic. If, however, Nader has any real class and love of America, he will strongly endorse Gore, because even he knows that there’s a HUGE difference between the 2 candidates, despite his campaign rhetoric. Federal money for his party isn’t worth the horror of 4 years of GB2.


DUBYA LINDBERG:    Espousing an isolationism unimagined since the 30’s, GB2 has rattled the foreign policy houses of allies around the world and signaled to tyrants that they might not have to worry about America in the future with his simplistic opposition to “peacekeeping” and “nation building”, which he manages to make dirty words. This is so far out of the mainstream of public + public policy thinking that I find it amazing. Even his father should be boxing his ears over this. America is the world power now- if it retreats from trouble spots, trashcan fires can become conflagrations. More pertinently, the economy (and stability and security) is a worldwide structure now, interlinked and co-joined in a thousand ways. GB2’s ideas and efforts to amputate the US from that world are so stupid it’s flabbergasting, as if someone from the 1880’s were taking the helm of the Presidency. I’ve written foreign policy commentary for 21 years (and been a foreign correspondent); among other things I predicted the collapse of the Warsaw Pact + possible end of the Cold War 5 months before the Berlin Wall fell. Bush would be a world disaster, not just a domestic phenomenon. Int. Herald Tribune- Bush unfit:


What is clear is that Bush is, more than anyone since Harding:  a lightweight inarticulate anti-intellectual creation and agent of big business, who will, if he’s elected, own this country. His compassionate conservatism is a fraud, his morality reconstituted, his international isolationism insipid and dangerous; his abortion stance, prison policies + Supreme Court intentions chilling; his economic policy + tax rebates reckless + irresponsible, his commitment to heath care a sham, his work ethic shabby, and his intelligence limited and sporadic.   If he wins, I’ll leave America for Europe- I won’t see the damage he does (for a couple of years) to my country.  I’m not sure what I’d return to. Please GET OUT THE GORE VOTE.




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