Kill your idols

Kill your idols

60 Minutes counterpoint: How ’bout Clinton & Nader?
The recent Bill Clinton and Bob Dole two-minute celebrity square-dance on 60 Minutes (a revisiting of the show’s old “Point-counterpoint” segment) was unsurprisingly pathetic and boring.

Yet I was reminded of a hypothetical question I’ve heard debated a lot recently (sometimes heatedly) around Chico, and that is: If Al Gore, the actual winner of the last presidential election, had not been replaced in a bloodless coup by Dubya, would we still be charging blindly into this Iraq war like a drunken frat boy into the apartment of his girlfriend’s cheating lover? Think about this.

Both candidates were funded by the same big businesses, with Bush winning the edge at around $500 million. Supposing that the same crucial error in intelligence gathering was made that resulted in 9/11 (that is, assuming that feds were not ordered off the case by a worried Bush/bin Laden family circus), would the Gore administration have allowed neo-conservative war hawks to capitalize on the resulting chaos and launch a pre-emptive global campaign to pursue American dominance in the Middle East? Would our civil liberties have been so briskly brushed aside in the name of terrorism? Would environmental and domestic causes have been slashed and burned as well? Essentially, would the government have exploited Americans’ fear in every conceivable manner for profit? Hmmmm. I tend to say: Yes.

I don’t think Gore would have been as idiotic and arrogant-sounding as cowboy Bush, but the backroom power brokers in Washington have waited years for something like 9/11 to give us a reason to flex our military might so the remaining years of the Oil Age might play out to our favor. As long as there are trillions to be milked, forget about alternative fuel sources getting fair play.

But then, I’m a registered Green. What do I know about political reality? Old Democratic blowhards will tell you loyalty is everything. Stay loyal to the party. And indeed, virtually anything is better than a blithering fool like Bush. But when does the cycle of slightly lesser evils end? Herein lies the crux of the debate (e-mail me if you have “answers"—Rush Limbaugh wannabes, conspiracy nuts need not write).

Bush has told journalists that whether we go to war “is not up to you, it’s up to me.” It has been pointed out that the Founding Fathers did not establish an imperial presidency with war-making power. The Constitution clearly reserves that for Congress.

Here’s hoping the current legal case in Boston challenging the President’s authority to wage war somehow finds a miracle.

“When people feel uncertain, they’d rather have somebody who’s strong and wrong than somebody who’s weak and right."—former Mack Daddy Bill Clinton

Weekly props
1. What about the U.N. surveillance story?

2. Ben & Jerry’s anti-war commercials

3. The Dirty Three at Harlow’s (4/29)

4. Happy Spring Break (enjoy it while you can, kiddies)