As the slime of the John McCain-Sarah Palin campaign engulfs the world like a tidal wave of sewage, the calculating political manipulators behind the Republican ticket, and their end game, have received scant attention. If recent polls are to be believed, the election (if it is not already stolen) may already be over.
The Turd Blossom’s son
The McCain-Palin dirty tricks campaign is the work of Republican operative Steve Schmidt.
Schmidt is a protégé of Karl “Turd Blossom” Rove. He has elevated several of the most toxic individuals on earth to positions of global power. He is also a counselor to Dick Cheney. It was Schmidt who successfully spearheaded the lobbying efforts behind the confirmations of Supreme Court justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito. And it was Schmidt’s manipulation of image, celebrity and popular disgust that installed actor and bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger as the do-nothing governor of California.
The Rove filth playbook — media manipulations, intimidation, lurid character attack techniques, corruption, falsification and lying, cynical appeals to the most foul aspects of the American psyche — is something that Schmidt has clearly mastered, and it is being enthusiastically applied to McCain-Palin as part of a long-term extremist agenda.
As described in Paul Alexander’s Machiavelli’s Shadow: “The Rove scorched earth approach to political campaigns is a reflection of a willingness to perform whatever ruthless, unethical acts necessary to transform America into a fascist regime.
“Once he [George W. Bush] reached the White House, as part of his effort to achieve a permanent Republican majority, he would put into place a plan that included a corruption of the state and federal governing systems that bordered on the diabolical, a scheme that went so far to create a sort of government within a government to carry out its actions. But in order to achieve what he wanted he had to win elections, and to win elections, in true Machiavellian style, he would do or say whatever he had to, no matter who got damaged in the process, no matter how badly.”
Alexander quotes longtime Texas Republican strategist Mark Sanders: “[Rove] immediately started putting together a plan for what was essentially the Third Reich of the Republican majority in this country. That was absolutely his plan, a Republican majority domination not just of the US House, the US Senate and the presidency, but also state legislatures across the country. This was not just a pie-in-the-sky dream that Karl had. He wanted to see the Republican Party rule for the next 30 to 40 years.”
Rove’s choreography of George W. Bush’s political career proved that it was possible to elevate a mentally ill and willfully stupid criminal to world power, and, along the way, harness the ignorance of the American masses with a completely manufactured image, appeals to fear, appeals to right-wing evangelical fanatics (via cultural and moral “wedge issues”), and other rude distractions from reality, and from the issues.
To the Rove formula, Schmidt adds insidious new elements that tap even further into the lowest aspects of the modern American mass psyche: the “politics of personality.” The stuff of Hollywood tabloids and gossip rags, and lowbrow reality television programs.
Schmidt secured the governorship of California for Schwarzenegger by projecting the unqualified actor’s Hollywood action hero persona, along with a manufactured aura of being a maverick outsider fighting against an establishment.
McCain-Palin is an Arnold Schwarzenegger sequel, with extreme violence, and a murderous female assassin, as its star.
Sarah Palin: irritant
Far from being the desperate, hasty, unvetted “hail Mary” on the part of John McCain, the selection of Sarah Palin, “Caribou Barbie,” the self-described “pit bull in lipstick” is a diabolical master play on the part of Schmidt and the right wing.
The Palin element has revitalized a dead McCain campaign, while creating anxiety and confusion across Obama-Biden and the Democratic Party. By design, Palin, not McCain, is essentially the head of the ticket, its star, its attack poodle.
She is crass and vindictive, psychotic, willfully stupid, criminal, crass, zealously loyal to more powerful masters, a world-class narcissist, an egomaniac, and a vengeful hatemonger — a female George W. Bush and a perfect Republican tool.
The vast wasteland of her mind, combined with a mean, sadistic and crazed fanaticism (see The Palin theocracy and Sarah Palin’s Ties to the Christian Right) appeals to the right-wing base. But her appeal goes beyond that.
No one better represents, and appeals to, the demise of mainstream American society than Palin. Nobody better embodies the ignorance, stupidity, self-importance, and brash emptiness that appeals to the widest swath of today’s American wasteland.
Palin’s mental illness and crass stupidity were clearly exposed in her ABC interview with Charles Gibson. Palin recited, in robotic fashion, the propaganda talking points she was told to repeat ad nauseum (by Schmidt). Asked by Gibson if nuclear war with Russia was a possibility with a McCain-Palin administration, she happily replied “Perhaps so!”
A nuclear holocaust and all-out world war. Just like that.
She is clearly unqualified, and deeply and openly corrupt. Her activities in Alaska are brimming with scandal, abuses of power, and vicious vendettas. She is a secessionist and a wild-eyed Creationist, who three times asked city librarian Mary Ellen Emmons if she was okay with censoring books, even sending her a letter (later rescinded) that she was going to be fired.
None of this matters, by Steve Schmidt’s calculations. He knows that the America the McCain-Palin machine needs to wrap up doesn’t read, doesn’t know about the world, and doesn’t care about her qualifications; only her “maverick,” “pit bull” image — and her measurements. (There is no question that sex appeal is a factor.) The qualifications of George W. Bush and Arnold Schwarzenegger didn’t matter, either.
Sarah Palin is someone out of a bad reality television program, a living lampoon. And she’s “hot” — she will get the vote of untold numbers of men, who do not give a damn on this basis alone.
Palin is honey to all of them: the “Wal-Mart” drones, the right-wing Christian Dominionist fringe, the gun-toting white trash survivalists, the militant Hillary Clinton “PUMAs,” the right-wing thugs.
The Chinese war strategist Sun Tzu, another favorite of Rove (and therefore Schmidt), delighted in the use of irritants to confuse, harass and sow disorder among adversaries.
Palin is an irritant, brought in to pester, aggravate, annoy, the victims of her crass, shrill attacks.
Palin’s gender has been used as both a weapon of mass destruction, and as a defensive shield. She can attack Obama and the Democrats, but she has been protected from any sort of counterattack, thanks to the deer-in-headlights mentality of her opponents, as well as a free pass from the media. It doesn’t matter, in the Schmidt-Rove calculation, that Palin is an insult to women, and also an insult to women who identify with Hillary Clinton. All that matters is it’s working.
Palin is not only being used as a distraction. There is “strategery” involved. She has turned an easy and orderly Obama conclusion into a race against the clock. As an unknown, a complete mystery when her out-of-left field selection was announced, the Democrats have been racing against the political clock to gather enough information to even come up with a counter-strategy. So far, there is no evidence of one.
It is not clear at this point if the more mature neocon manipulators behind the larger John McCain machine (Henry Kissinger, William Kristol, Iran-Contra figure Robert McFarlane, Brent Scowcroft, George Shultz, etc.) approve of Palin, or the prospect of having to stage-manage another George W. Bush, should McCain secure the White House and die or become incapacitated before his term ends. But Palin in any office, on any level, is nightmarish.
If there is a rational plan behind the Palin selection, it is the one put forth by Mike Ruppert, author of Crossing the Rubicon. It involves the central question, oil: “The selection of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to be John McCain’s running mate is terrifying. It would be good news if McCain were just out of his mind or desperate. Remember Dan Quayle? Quayle was also a lightweight. But in Quayle’s case there was little to suggest what his influence in Indiana could do for the Bush I administration.
“In Palin’s case what she can do for a McCain administration is all too obvious. She can help turn Alaska into one giant oil field quickly and without any concern for the environment. She can redefine the term ‘fast track.’ She knows the state and can wheel and deal in the places that will most quickly open up protected areas for drilling. Damn the torpedoes … That realization was instantaneous for me. Then came the second epiphany. McCain is acting as if the election is irrelevant and it just may be. The Republicans did steal the last two didn’t they?
“Is this one already so far in the bag that McCain doesn’t care what she does to his national ticket?”
Sarah Palin will be the next president of the United States. If not in the next few years, then at the next opportunity. The world will have Steve Schmidt’s manipulations to thank for it.
The McCain “war hero” lie
John McCain’s tepid presidential effort was falling apart under the management of the (equally unsavory) strategist Charles Black, and appeared doomed in the wake of the Democrat’s euphoric convention.
In recent weeks, going into the successful Republican convention, Schmidt and Co. has united the fractured Republicans (with Palin), while orchestrating a massive Roveian tidal wave of the most transparently outrageous swift boating gutter attacks against Obama and fear-mongering, and sharpening, simplifying, and dumbing down the McCain image to its most basic:
McCain=War Hero and prisoner of war. McCain=Maverick.
Other pithy campaign themes include “Drill, baby, drill,” and regurgitated “war on terror/9-11” slogans.
Both of McCain’s false character labels have served as one-word talking points on the campaign trail, to be repeated endlessly like a blunt instrument on the collective skull of the American population. It is also being used as protective shield, with McCain crying, “You can’t attack me because I was a POW” to all forms of criticism and inquiry.
Schmidt’s stage and media management has successfully silenced discussions about the darkness of McCain: his temperament (irrationality, penchant for rage, bizarre outbursts, etc.), his corruption, and his criminal connections.
Douglas Valentine, a foremost authority on war history, and the author of The Phoenix Program, wrote the most incisive and thorough analysis of John McCain in the following piece:
John McCain: War Hero or North Vietnam’s Go-To Collaborator?
In this thoughtful and on-target expose, Valentine demolishes the “war hero” myth, while exposing the McCain psychology.
Valentine points out the following:
McCain is the scion of a family of military elites. His career has been one of privilege.
McCain is no war hero, he is a war criminal, who bombed “gooks” on some 22 Navy bombing missions, boasting about himself, and the killing, without remorse, according to a psychologist who interviewed McCain in 1970.
McCain was likely a willing collaborator, who quickly and routinely (over three years) offered up specific classified information to his captors. This specific information resulted in key military defeats for the US, and untold American deaths. Two of McCain’s fellow POWs, Ted Guy and Gordon “Swede” Larson have long expressed doubts that McCain was tortured.
McCain was a “professional psywar stooge,” who collaborated in psychological warfare offensives aimed at American servicemen.
McCain has persistently lied about his experience, to political advantage across his subsequent civilian career. Meanwhile, his detractors, including fellow POWs who knew him, and other Vietnam veterans critical of his posturing, have been ignored, but not discredited. If there is a man who deserves to be legitimately “swift-boated,” it is McCain.
According to Valentine, “This is the lesson of McCain’s experience as a POW: a true politician, a hollow man, his only allegiance is to power. The Vietnamese, like McCain’s campaign contributors today, protected and promoted him and in return, he danced to their tune.”
Valentine credits strategist Mark Salter for creating the original McCain myth, “casting him as a modern Teddy Roosevelt, ‘the war hero turned domestic reformer.’ In large, the Salter strategy has worked. The American media accepts McCain’s war hero myth as gospel and, in so doing, bolsters the ‘straight talk’ image so essential in politics.” Further, Valentine notes, “it’s not the collaboration that makes John McCain unfit for office; it’s the fact that he has managed to rewrite his collaboration into political capital. ‘He’s a war hero, respect him, or die.’ . . . In his current presidential campaign, he’s cozying up to the hate-mongering Christian right he once criticized. He’s reversed positions on so many issues that his Democratic rivals have assembled his contrasting statements into ‘The Great McCain Versus McCain Debates’ . . . This essential dishonesty, this lie of the soul, is a sign of a larger lack of character . . .
“McCain is not some principled leader, not a maverick cowboy fighting the powerful. He’s a sycophant. He believes in nothing but power and will do anything to attain it. He explodes in anger when challenged because, when a criticism hits too close to home, it goes straight to his deep-seated shame.”
McCain’s political career is full of skeletons, and continuous corruption. Among them, McCain was a member of the infamous Keating Five, a member of Congress who received bribes for covering up the savings and loan scandal, and blocking investigations. The S&L Scandal, a CIA/Mafia operation connected to the Bush faction, looted $2 billion in taxpayer money. McCain was also an Iran-Contra liar, one of Oliver North’s most passionate defenders. An airplaine used by McCain and his lobbyist was used to fly the Saudi royal family out of the US, after 9/11.
There is strong evidence that the conflict in Georgia and South Ossetia was set up by provocateurs, lobbyists working for McCain, sent in by McCain, and the Bush-Cheney administration. Routed Georgian forces were caught crying for McCain’s help.
Steve Schmidt and the rest of the McCain apparatus will make sure that none of this factual history becomes campaign fodder.
Deer in the headlights
Flushed with euphoria from their successful Denver convention, Obama-Biden and the Democrats were promptly kicked repeatedly in the private parts by the McCain-Palin-Schmidt machine and the corporate media that the right wing almost fully controls.
While the swift boating has gone largely unanswered, Obama-Biden have refused to respond to the attacks, while also refusing to criticize the “great American war hero McCain and his great service,” and refusing to go after Palin.
At the same time, Steve Schmidt has stolen, literally ripped, the Obama “change” theme from under Obama-Biden’s feet. Nobody except Obama’s people care that they stole it.
Everything important about McCain and Palin are off the table, just as the impeachment of Bush-Cheney has been kept off the table by the spineless Dem leadership of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Harry Reid. Joe Biden, presumed to be the feisty fighter on the Obama ticket, has been silent and invisible. He has already promised to be nice to Palin.
At a recent appearance, Obama tried to laugh off the swift boating, saying to the audience, “they must really think you’re that stupid.” What Obama doesn’t seem to grasp is what Schmidt/Rove does: the election will be decided by the genuinely stupid. The people who have no interest in polite, long-winded, rational discussions of nuanced policy.
The playbook that successfully stole the 2000, 2002, and 2004 elections has not changed. (The 2006 contest was ceded to the Democrats; Bush-Cheney bet that the Dems would not successfully challenge them on any major issue, and have won that bet.) Schmidt understands that the Democratic faction still hasn’t learned to win either the rhetorical fight, or prevent the entire charade from being stolen electronically (Republican companies still control elections), and through intimidation, theft of voting rolls, and purges.
Also, in what appears to be another calculated Republican trick, just in time for the election, the Bush-Cheney administration has stolen Obama’s thunder by redeploying forces from Iraq to Afghanistan (as suggested for months by Obama), ramping up the “war on terrorism” in Pakistan (as suggested by Obama). Obama who has now proclaimed that Bush’s Iraq “surge” was “successful beyond his wildest dreams.”
Does Obama-Biden have anything left to talk about, with just two months left?
Past the brink of madness
Should the right-wing successfully secure White House power for the mentally ill, warmongering John McCain, and the demented, willfully stupid, fanatical Sarah Palin, humanity will face a horror even worse than Bush-Cheney.
For all of its brutality and vileness, Bush-Cheney was, at its core, a criminal apparatus charged with a campaign of pillage that it carried out like a team of mafia assassins.
By contrast, McCain and Palin are two irrational individuals with deranged, pathological psyches, backed by a massive and rapidly growing fanatical theocracy with visions of murderous world destruction.
It is not clear at this time if the more seasoned, rational elites have control of this machine, or if a fanatical Rove/Schmidt theocratic faction within the neocon faction is truly on the verge of an unprecendented coup.
It is even less clear if its counterweight, the establishment neoliberal faction behind Obama, with its more obvious Wall Street backing, will even get a sniff at the White House, or survive another stolen election. The battle between the two corporate war factions will pave the way towards a certain horror.
With the world facing an energy crisis, world war over resources, an economic system on the verge of collapse, and other unprecedented catastrophes, is the American empire about to be handed over to typical fist-in-velvet glove neoliberals, or even more openly fascist regime in the eleventh hour, to complete the war and homeland militarization started with Bush-Cheney?