[Marxism] Vote Bush, because Kerry is Making the Liberals Dumb, Dumb, and Dumber

Tony Abdo gojack10 at hotmail.com
Wed Aug 4 08:32:58 MDT 2004

Relunctantly, I have joined the Anybody But Kerry camp.  Why?  It is simply 
that Kerry is distracting us and making us dumb.  Sure, Bush is more or less 
the same as Kerry, but at least he doesn't have this dumbing down effect on 
people with hearts (liberals) like Kerry does.  With Bush given another 4 
years, then we can all get back to work once again.  So disregard this 
idiotic article below.  Tony

Anybody But Bush -- then back to work!
by Naomi Klein; UK Guardian; August 01, 2004

Last month, I reluctantly joined the Anybody But Bush camp. It was "Bush in 
a Box" that finally got me, a gag gift my brother gave my father on his 66th 
birthday. Bush in a Box is a cardboard cut-out of President 43 with a set of 
adhesive speech balloons featuring the usual tired Bushisms: "Is our 
children learning?" "They misunderestimated me" - standard-issue 
Bush-bashing schlock, on sale at Wal-Mart, made in Malaysia.

Yet Bush in a Box filled me with despair. It's not that the president is 
dumb, which I already knew, it's that he makes us dumb. Don't get me wrong: 
my brother is an exceptionally bright guy; he heads a think-tank that 
publishes weighty policy papers on the failings of export-oriented resource 
extraction and the false savings of cuts to welfare. Whenever I have a 
question involving interest rates or currency boards, he's my first call. 
But Bush in a Box pretty much summarises the level of analysis coming from 
the left these days. You know the line: The White House has been hijacked by 
a shady gang of zealots who are either insane or stupid or both. Vote Kerry 
and return the country to sanity.

But the zealots in Bush's White House are neither insane nor stupid nor 
particularly shady. Rather, they openly serve the interests of the 
corporations that put them in office with bloody-minded efficiency. Their 
boldness stems not from the fact that they are a new breed of zealot but 
that the old breed finds itself in a newly unconstrained political climate.

We know this, yet there is something about George Bush's combination of 
ignorance, piety and swagger that triggers a condition in progressives I've 
come to think of as Bush Blindness. When it strikes, it causes us to lose 
sight of everything we know about politics, economics and history and to 
focus exclusively on the admittedly odd personalities of the people in the 
White House. Other side-effects include delighting in psychologists' 
diagnoses of Bush's warped relationship with his father and brisk sales of 
Bush "dum gum" - $1.25.

This madness has to stop, and the fastest way of doing that is to elect John 
Kerry, not because he will be different but because in most key areas - 
Iraq, the "war on drugs", Israel/Palestine, free trade, corporate taxes - he 
will be just as bad. The main difference will be that as Kerry pursues these 
brutal policies, he will come off as intelligent, sane and blissfully dull. 
That's why I've joined the Anybody But Bush camp: only with a bore such as 
Kerry at the helm will we finally be able to put an end to the presidential 
pathologising and focus on the issues again.

Of course, most progressives are already solidly in the Anybody But Bush 
camp, convinced that now is not the time to point out the similarities 
between the two corporate-controlled parties. I disagree. We need to face up 
to those disappointing similarities, and then we need to ask ourselves 
whether we have a better chance of fighting a corporate agenda pushed by 
Kerry or by Bush.

I have no illusions that the left will have "access" to a Kerry/Edwards 
White House. But it's worth remembering that it was under Bill Clinton that 
the progressive movements in the west began to turn our attention to systems 
again: corporate globalisation, even - gasp - capitalism and colonialism. We 
began to understand modern empire not as the purview of a single nation, no 
matter how powerful, but a global system of interlocking states, 
international institutions and corporations, an understanding that allowed 
us to build global networks in response, from the World Social Forum to 
Indymedia. Innocuous leaders who spout liberal platitudes while slashing 
welfare and privatising the planet push us to better identify those systems 
and to build movements agile and intelligent enough to confront them. With 
Mr Dum Gum out of the White House, progressives will have to get smart 
again, and that can only be good.

Some argue that Bush's extremism actually has a progressive effect because 
it unites the world against the US empire. But a world united against the 
United States isn't necessarily united against imperialism. Despite their 
rhetoric, France and Russia opposed the invasion of Iraq because it 
threatened their own plans to control Iraq's oil. With Kerry in power, 
European leaders will no longer be able to hide their imperial designs 
behind easy Bush-bashing, a development already forecast in Kerry's odious 
Iraq policy. Kerry argues that we need to give "our friends and allies ... a 
meaningful voice and role in Iraqi affairs", including "fair access to the 
multibillion-dollar reconstruction contracts. It also means letting them be 
a part of putting Iraq's profitable oil industry back together."

Yes, that's right: Iraq's problems will be solved with more foreign 
invaders, with France and Germany given a greater "voice" and a bigger share 
of the spoils of war. No mention is made of Iraqis, and their right to a 
"meaningful voice" in the running of their own country, let alone of their 
right to control their oil or to get a piece of the reconstruction.

Under a Kerry government, the comforting illusion of a world united against 
imperial aggression will drop away, exposing the jockeying for power that is 
the true face of modern empire. We'll also have to let go of the archaic 
idea that toppling a single man, or a Romanesque "empire", will solve all, 
or indeed any, of our problems. Yes, it will make for more complicated 
politics, but it has the added benefit of being true. With Bush out of the 
picture, we lose the galvanising enemy, but we get to take on the actual 
policies that are transforming all of our countries.

The other day, I was ranting to a friend about Kerry's vicious support for 
the apartheid wall in Israel, his gratuitous attacks on Hugo Chavez in 
Venezuela and his abysmal record on free trade. "Yeah," he agreed sadly. 
"But at least he believes in evolution." So do I - the much-needed evolution 
of our progressive movements. And that won't happen until we put away the 
fridge magnets and Bush gags and get serious. And that will only happen once 
we get rid of the distraction-in-chief. So Anybody But Bush. And then let's 
get back to work.

· Naomi Klein is the author of No Logo and Fences and Windows. This column 
originally appeared in The Nation

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