A Wide Stance

A family-values Republican senator from Louisiana shows up on the client list of a DC madam. A month later, the Bush administration’s architect of doom, Karl Rove, bows out of the White House, in the process issuing Dr. No-like battle plans for the 2008 election. Little more than a week passes before the attorney general, mired in scandal, cuts his losses (and the party’s) and resigns, his explanation as incoherent as everything else he’s ever said. The last week of August brought lurid revelations regarding gay-bashing Idaho Senator Larry Craig’s rather unique brand of courting in airport bathrooms. Unable to keep spinning for the administration, former Fox News “reporter” turned White House Press Secretary Tony Snow announces that he, too, is leaving—claiming that his 168K salary simply isn’t enough to make ends meet. For the moment, only George, Dick, and Condi remain.

At this late hour, there’s not much left to say about the Bush regime. Call the president and the loyalists in his party hypocrites, rogues, scoundrels, or whatever you’d like—it just doesn’t matter. It’s time to focus on whether the “surge” is working or not (hmm…) and any mention of the scandals or defections is just so August. Five years ago, it was then-White House Chief of Staff Andy Card who famously explained why the Bush gang waited until after Labor Day to unveil their Iraq War plans. “From a marketing point of view, you don’t introduce new products in August,” Card said. True to form, over the past month the White House dumped much of its old stock and unwanted goods. One can now only tremble in anticipation of what Bush, Inc.’s featured line will be this fall.

Meanwhile, the leading Democratic candidate to replace Bush, Hillary Clinton, continues to offer platitudes followed by bromides, or vice versa. Consider the new slogan she’s rolling out for the fall: “The Change We Need.” Her campaign also features equally catchy signs reading “Change + Experience.” Yet beyond her gender, it’s not exactly clear what changes Hillary would bring to the White House. She has no plan for national health care, and her track record on Iraq is that of a follower, not a leader. More to the point, the Bush legacy is so pitiful that all of the soon-to-be seventeen presidential hopefuls from both parties are calling for some sort of “change.” With fourteen months to go until the election, and sixteen months until Bush finally leaves office, all I can say is that I wish someone could figure out how to change the damn calendar!

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With this issue we are sad to announce that Marjory Garrison will no longer serve as the city editor of the Rail. We owe Marjory a debt of gratitude for the many award-winning pieces she edited over the last few years. On a happier note, Marjory will indeed continue to write for us. And we are equally pleased that Brian Carreira, who has covered the Atlantic Yards controversy and many other issues for us, will be taking over as our city editor. Welcome aboard, Brian…Last but certainly not least, we hope to see everyone at the Brooklyn Book Festival on Sunday, September 16th, at Borough Hall.

Contributor

Theodore Hamm

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