I’ve been trying for three weeks to write about what happens after the election, and I keep getting hung up on the things the Right will do to stay in power. Beyond just the loss of power, any honest Justice Department or Congressional examination of their activities since January 2001 is likely to land many of them in prison for a very long time. So maybe I need to get that subject out of the way before I can write about AFTER the election.
We’ve all heard each other’s paranoid talk that there will be an “October Surprise,” or that the voting machines will refuse to count Democratic votes, or that the Republicans might just cancel the election. Unfortunately there is reason to fear. In 1968, fearing an end of the Vietnam War would mean a Humphrey victory, the Republicans sabotaged the pending peace agreement, and by 1972 they had turned the IRS, FBI and CIA into little more than arms of The Party, with the government acting as a pay-to-play contractor to large corporate contributors. Fortunately there was still an independent press and a Congress willing to investigate such matters when they became visible, and Nixon had to resign.
In 1980 there is every reason to believe the Republicans made a campaign deal with the terrorist government of Iran to keep the American hostages — and keep Carter looking bad — in exchange for post-election arms shipments. A few years later, after the Iran/Contra arms scandal investigation began, Lawrence Walsh wrote about the nature of The Party apparatus that had infiltrated the government and obstructed his efforts to find out for us what had happened. The following is from The Impeachment Conspiracy by Robert Parry:
“The North case reached the U.S. Court of Appeals in 1990 and the Poindexter case followed in 1991. Iran-contra special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh, a Republican himself, encountered what he termed “a powerful band of Republican appointees [who] waited like the strategic reserves of an embattled army.”
Walsh recognized that many of the appeals judges held a “continuing political allegiance” to the conservative Federalist Society, an organization dedicated to purging liberalism from the federal courts.
“It reminded me of the communist front groups of the 1940s and 1950s, whose members were committed to the communist cause and subject to communist direction but were not card-carrying members of the Communist Party,” Walsh wrote. [For details, see Walsh’s Firewall.]
A leader of this partisan faction was Judge Laurence H. Silberman, a bombastic character known for his decidedly injudicious temperament. Silberman had served as a foreign policy advisor to Ronald Reagan’s 1980 campaign and had joined in a controversial contact with an emissary from Iran behind President Carter’s back. [See Robert Parry’s Trick or Treason.]”
Then came the election of Clinton! How much do I have to write about The Party’s activities to bring down the Clinton administration and cause every attempt at governing to fail, never mind the good of the country? With The Party’s Federalist Society judges in place every special prosecutor appointed to investigate Republican wrongdoing was a right-wing Party operative, and those appointed to investigate Democrats was … a right-wing Party operative. Every motion before the Courts went against Clinton and the Democrats. Just one example of Party infiltration of the mechanisms of government was Gary Aldrich. That a far-right sleazebag operative like Gary Aldrich was in the FBI at all, not to mention assigned to the Clinton White House, speaks volumes about the nature of The Party’s takeover of the apparatus of government for its own ends – as well as to the Clinton Administration’s understanding of what it was up against.
And, finally, the 2000 election. The Supreme Court demonstrated the extent and power of Party operatives, positioned within the mechanisms of our government, whose loyalty is to an ideology and a Party rather than the country.
These years of this Bush’s hands on the controls mean that our government is now infested with ideological operatives, waiting for their opportunity to prove that their loyalty lies with The Party, not American democracy.
So yes, it’s hard to write about what to do if Kerry wins. But I’m working on it. Win or lose, we have to come to understand how the Right managed to become so powerful, and what we must do to counter this before we lose what is left of the America we knew.