William Hughes / The American Chronicle – 2006-11-19 23:28:06
“Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
(November 10, 2006) — Take a bow Cindy Sheehan, Ann Wright, Ramsey Clark, Mike Ferner, Max Obuszewski, Michael Berg, David Swanson, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Ray McGovern, Medea Benjamin and Brian Becker! You, and many other activists, like yourselves, in the Anti-Iraqi War Movement, have helped to source a sweep of GOP members from the House of Representatives, and also to return control of the US Senate to the Democratic Party, after a 12-year hiatus.
You were aided by many worthy web sites and web bloggers of similar thinking. Polls indicate that a majority of the voters were driven to vote for Democratic candidates, in a major part, because of the Bush-Cheney Gang’s gross mishandling of the Iraqi War. It was Iraqi War dissenters, who gave voice to that cause, when most Democrats in the US Congress were a huge chunk of the pro-war majority. There were some notable exceptions, like Rep. John Conyers, (D-MI), and his fellow maverick members of the House’s “Out of Iraq Caucus.” (1)
Meanwhile, the Media was mostly complicit in the egregious wrongs of the Bush Administration–one of the worst, most corrupt, in the history of the Republic.
Opponents of the Iraqi War dared to challenge the legality and morality of that conflict and the serial lies, including the fixing of the intelligence that got the country into that mess. (2)
When the causality list of US military dead and wounded continued to soar in Iraq, as the Nov. 7th election day approached, along with the rising cost to the national treasury, the voters responded in kind. (3) The disclosure of the shocking “waterboarding” of detainees also repulsed many people of conscience, as did this administration’s repeated shredding of the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights. (4)
Americans, finally, said: Throw the bums out!
The truth is that many of the winning Democratic Party nominees for office to the House and the Senate seats were third party beneficiaries of the persistent efforts of the many unsung heroes across this country, who are outside the scope of the reigning Duopoly-the Democratic and Republican Parties. Some of these activists risked arrest and, also, jail to make their opinions know. (5) The mandate for change, which was reflected in the results of election year 2006, came from far below the radar screen. It was acted out in rallies and protest actions across this country going back to massive Washington, D.C. antiwar rally, on the National Mall, of Oct. 26, 2002. (6)
The Democrats, with their propaganda machine, were clever enough to make the Iraqi War and George W. Bush, himself, the prime issues for the Nov. 7th vote. They did not cause, promote and/or support either of those two matters, until it became politically opportune for them to do so.
The Democrats, the “War Lite Party,” as an official political entity, headed by the tepid Howard Dean, had little or nothing to do with originally sourcing opposition to the Iraqi War and/or spotlighting Bush’s deranged persona as controversies to be challenged. It is fair to say that many of them, like the mousey Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, (D-MD), were mere spectators to the outrages of the Bush-Cheney Gang. Some Democrats, like the ultra-hawkish Sen. “Turncoat Joe” Lieberman, were actually parties to it.
Corruption was another big issue for voters, according to the exit polls. The scandal-ridden GOP, with the albatross of the sleazy, ultra-lobbyist Jack Abramoff, Bob Ney, Randy “Duke” Cunningham, Mark Foley and Tom DeLay hanging around its neck, simply broke under the enormous weight. The 11th hour Rev. Ted Haggart male prostitute sex expose’ was probably the final straw for a disenchanted public. Pastor Haggart, a raving Evangelical and mega-hypocrite, had close ties to the Bush-Cheney Gang. He reportedly had counseled Bush, a born-again Christian, in the past.
The bad news for the GOP is starting to strike home. The latest photos of Bush, after the stunning election results were revealed, showed him looking like the proverbial deer caught in an automobile’s headlights. Noticing the fear in his eyes, I had to wonder: Is he sensing that impeachment procedures against him, and his coconspirator in chicanery, V. P. Dick Cheney, may be only months away?
Questions: Will Bush do a Richard M. Nixon in 2007, and be driven from the highest office in the land? If he persists in his insane “stay the course” policy in Iraq, will the US Congress have any other reasonable choice but to impeach him? Does Donald “Rambo” Rumsfeld’s resignation as Secretary of Defense presage the dismantling of the warmongering Bush-Cheney Gang? Will the raving Neocons be brought to the Bar of Justice, too? (7)
Closer to home, in Maryland, Kevin Zeese, the Green Party’s standard bearer for the office of US Senate, forced the Iraqi War onto the table of issues to be debated. Michael Steele, the GOP’s candidate, would have liked to have seen it disappear, while the Democratic nominee, Ben Cardin, the eventual winner of the contest, was at most, a “paper” opponent of the war. It’s true, he voted against the war, but he never publicly raised his voice against it. He had plenty of opportunities to speak out at antiwar rallies in Maryland and the District of Columbia, but he always failed to show.
Cardin has also repeatedly voted to fund the Iraqi conflict to tune of $341 billion, which includes the construction of the 14 military bases in Iraq and the largest US embassy in the world in Baghdad. Does that sound like Cardin really wants to bring the troops home? Cardin also didn’t bring up the need to “exit Iraq,” until he was pressed by Zeese’s aggressive candidacy to do so. Even today, his promise is so vague, you can drive the entire Baltimore Ravens’ NFL football team through it.
Len Lazarick, of the Baltimore Examiner, said of Zeese, on Nov. 8, 2006, “He was the most fervent opponent of the Iraq War.” Zeese, like other Green candidates, around the country for congressional offices, deserves great credit for conducting a progressive campaign which targeted the rampant evils of the Bush-Cheney Gang, particularly the ongoing human disaster that is the Iraqi War, and for putting Democrats, like Cardin, on the spot about the conflict.
There were, in deed, a handful of Democrats in the US Congress, who stood out in opposition to the Iraqi War, such as Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) and Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio); Kucinich from the very beginning, and Murtha, within the last two years or so. But, in my opinion, it was the gallant members of the House of Representatives’ “Out of Iraq Caucus,” who have truly maintained the honor of the Democratic Party by opposing the war and the Bush-Cheney Gang, at every step of the way; and were, in fact, the genuine catalyst for change on Capitol Hill.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the names of some of those distinguished stalwart Democrats, in addition to the extraordinary Rep. Conyers, whom I have cited above. They are: Rep. Maxine Waters (CA); Rep. Lynn Woolsey (CA); Rep. Barbara Lee (CA); Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL); Rep. Sam Farr (CA); Rep. Maurice Hinchey (NY); Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (TX); Rep. Jim McDermott (WA); Rep. James McGovern (MA); Rep. Jim Moran (VA); Rep. Major Owens (NY); Rep. Cynthia McKinney (GA); Rep. Richard Neal (MA) and Rep. Donald Payne (NJ).
On the Republican side, they are: Rep. Ron Paul (TX) and Sen. Lincoln Chafee (RI). Every one of them comes to mind as a sharp opponent of the war, worthy of recognition. There were a few others also in the GOP. A list of the members of the House’s outstanding “Out of Iraq Caucus,” as of July, 25, 2005, can be found here. (8)
Bottom line: The Anti-War Movement sourced the Democrats’ victory!
3. http://icasualties.org/oif/ and
© William Hughes 2006.
William Hughes is a Baltimore author, attorney, educator and professional actor. He has been writing political commentaries for over 40 years. His latest book, Saying ‘No’ to the War Party, is a collection of his essays, and photographs, that targeted the “Special Interests,” like the Neocons, Big Oil and the Military-Industrial Complex, which dragged the US into the Iraqi war. The book was the author’s way of challenging the outrageous conduct of the Bush-Cheney Gang, while making current history come alive. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.