Thursday, October 28, 2004


Double, double, toil and trouble. The hobgoblins are riding this Halloween. Bombs missing in Iraq -- ballots missing in Florida -- must we go through all that again?

The big news tonight is that Yasir Arafat has been carried off the stage. He will be missed. He was one of the scariest of the hobgoblins. Now it will gradually dawn on even simpletons that for all his faults -- and they were enormous -- he was never a master terrorist. So they’ll keep having to find new scarecrows.

One of the scariest has just popped up backstage: James Baker. He’s the former secretary of state -- a sort of foster father-figure to George Dubya. Baker moved into Florida to hijack the last election, but his net goes a lot wider than that. Naomi Klein of the Nation has just done some bang-up reporting on Baker’s long ties with the rulers of Saudi Arabia. He stands to pick up as much as a billion dollars in fees for one upcoming deal. His role helps explain why Pappy Bush held back from taking Baghdad in 1991 during the Persian Gulf War, becauuse they figured they still needed Saddam.

It’s been thrown up to John Kerry that he voted against that war. It was in fact one of the better things that he did during his career. Not winning those medals -- he shouldn’t have - but leading Vietnam veterans against the war. As a Senator, he had an outstanding record investigating the dirty wars in Central America and the contras’ role in drug trafficking. A while ago, Ruth Conniff of the Progressive did a nifty analysis showing that Kerry’s voting record in the Senate was generally liberal for a term and a half, and then went bad -- like so many Democratic politicians led by Bill Clinton.

Well it does confirm my view that Kery can be pushed. It’s up to us to get those votes out and get them counted. Don’t let them steal it again.