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January 23, 2004

Out of Position: Where Will the 'Antiwar' Vote Go?


by Anthony Gancarski

On Monday evening, as the returns from the Iowa Presidential Caucuses flooded in via CNN, C-SPAN, and other like outlets, it became all too clear to the casual viewer what the ramifications were. That Howard Dean, so-called "antiwar" candidate, had played himself. That MoveOn.Org made very little impact in the heartland; Senators Kerry and Edwards, who won and placed respectively, had gotten no love from the Soros-backed grassroots internet outlet. And finally, that those hundreds of thousands of protesters, energized in righteous fury against the US invasion of Iraq in San Francisco, DC, and New York City, meant next to nothing in the end.

But is [was?] Howard Dean even "antiwar"? Readers of this column know better. When the Vermont Governor saw fit, he kowtowed to AIPAC, advocating a financial package for Israel that exceeded even the stated goals of Pentagon hand Paul Wolfowitz, for whom a day doesn't pass without him being demonized, incantation-style, in one quarter or another. US to Liberia? Fine with the good Doctor. And Iraq? As Dean said in July, "now that we're there, we're stuck." If such positions qualify as antiwar, then Heinz ketchup is an organic vegetable.

Despite such bald refutations of the idea that Dean is anything other than a politician willing to project American power into any crevice of the world incapable of defending itself against such incursions, lefty outlets echoed the corporate media assertion that Dean's "viability" was a function of his opposition to the US invasion of Iraq. But as Iowa indicates, Maple-Powered Howard's viability is every bit as suspect as his antiwar credentials. Or his endorsements $20k per month for an endorsement to Carol Moseley-Braun, of all people? Wouldn't Marion Barry have come cheaper? Can we believe that any endorsement Dr. Dean gets is legitimate?

And don't look for things to get any better for Howard, who crumbles under pressure in a way not seen in American politics since Democratic frontrunner Senator Ed Muskie melted down in 1972. Not in this millennium has a Democratic candidate for any office, much less the highest in the land, botched an MLK Day appearance in the way Dr. Dean did in Des Moines. To summarize: unsolicited, the putative frontrunner for the nomination stormed the event with media in tow, and reportedly demanded to address the crowd; denied the microphone, Dean and his considerable entourage stalked out, blaming the attendant media corps for blowing his big chance to ride the King legacy to yet another overblown soundbite, telling the press to "get a new life." What's next? Will Dean stalk into the Holocaust museum in Washington DC, demanding to read Allen Ginsberg's "Kaddish"? Oy gevalt!

Gentle reader, please excuse my scabrous tone here. But I tried to warn people, gently, firmly, with varying shades of delicacy, that Howard Dean was a hack, incapable of surviving the hurly-burly of a contested Presidential campaign. I warned of impending Muskie moments to people who should know better, in emails that went unresponded to, in pieces that ended up rejected. And now, just when the scoreboard is turned on to count the delegates, those Muskie moments are coming, one after one, like trembling puppies tumbling from a bitch's womb.

The ramifications of such, for those who still oppose US action in Iraq, Afghanistan, and beyond, are grim. With more than nine months until the US Presidential election, we are already left with no "antiwar" candidate [unless Dennis Kucinich, he of the plan to sacrifice all native-born nubiles' maidenheads to the tender mercies of the UN, tickles your fancy]. Failing a cataclysm befalling the two-party political firmament, we will be left with the sonorously stentorian cadences of Kerry, Edwards, and the delusional General Clark to provide the counterargument to the Bush/Cheney foreign policy Washington is locked into for the duration. In this election year, optimism is a fool's prerogative and a simpleton's sanctuary; the safe bet is that America as we once knew it is dead, buried, decaying under silt.

And that, loyal readers, is the true State of the Union. But for those interested, I should add that my analysis of Bush's 2003 SOTU is online. G'wan and read the damned thing, already, and peace be with you!

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Anthony Gancarski, the author of Unfortunate Incidents, writes for The American Conservative, CounterPunch, and LewRockwell.com. His web journalism was recognized by Utne Reader Online as "Best of the Web." A writer for the local Folio Weekly, he lives in Jacksonville, Florida.

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