With luck and some supervision of the voting machines in Ohio, George Bush will soon see the routing of the “evildoers.” But it won’t be the “terrorists” that he is constantly selling to America. It will be the weak, discredited and broken in his party. Let’s talk about that notion of party for just a moment. Readers of this column will surely divine a leaning toward independent thinking. And with Republican candidates struggling to distance themselves from their own party and most especially from the Bush/Iraq stink bomb, does party matter? Or is it really “character” that counts, as all the unfortunately successful covert Republican Swift Boat-esque mud-slinging divisions would have you believe?Good news: The hairball in American government’s sink pipe is about to unclog either way. For example: Neither character nor party helps Schwarzenegger in the important race for Governor in California. You’ll be voting for Phil Angelides because there no longer is any open path to Arnold. One simply can’t find their way to him through the bramble of his own making. He ran on fighting special interests; he’s now dependent on their money. Looking for targets, he uses all of his collective wisdom to go after schoolteachers and nurses. Consistently invoking the kind of personal character building that only an immigrant to America could experience, Arnold confirms his real character by refusing to be seen with George Bush this time around because that won’t help him like it did starting out. Saying he would turn things around when he first ran, Arnold changes course to suck up and win by pretending to be “green” and moving to the middle ground. Let’s put it this way: When it comes to character, Schwarzenegger fondles whatever will get him ahead. It’s not about California, or party (he’s abandoned it) or character (he doesn’t hold on to one for very long). It’s about him, as it’s always been about him way back to the narcissistic bodybuilding days. While our own race for governor very neatly assays the synthetic quality of Republican candidates, I’m hoping to see the turning of the big dial with this election: Setting the tuner back on democracy and off of theocracy. I don’t have to recite the litany of spontaneously combusting conservative Republicans to illustrate how the mighty full of gas have fallen. But a balloon makes a sharp noise when it pops, then the party often continues. If common sense is going to prevail during life-changing legislation on the continuing death toll in Iraq or slowing the death toll in medicine with stem cell research, then we have to end voter vulnerability to liars and carpetbaggers who invoke religion.Since we can’t purge the exploitation of religion from politics overnight, I’d be delighted to see November 7th as a referendum on lying. Even sunny Santa Monica has found itself splashed with muck from attack ads aimed at Kevin McKeown. Then, in a scenario becoming way too familiar to us, the lying and the source of the lying are revealed after the damage is done.As demonstrated by Schwarzenegger, party doesn’t seem to be at the core of every candidate’s campaign. So does it matter to vote Democratic? Yes, it’s crucial.It matters because we cannot forget, we must not forget, that the Republican Party is the party that embraced and suckled the dark angels we are now about to purge. And further that they did so not because they shared any kind of philosophy or a consistent agenda with the conservative and religious right, but because they saw opportunity. Not for you and me, but for themselves. In the voting booth, let your mantra be: “I expel thee…”
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