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Analysis Last Updated: Jan 4th, 2007 - 01:08:31

As Rome burns, Congress boils
By Larry Chin
Online Journal Associate Editor

Nov 17, 2006, 01:07

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Barely a week since their purported victory, the Democratic Party is already wallowing in dissension and bickering, like a dog eating its own tail. Not to be outdone in the race to the bottom, Bush-Cheney-Rove and the Republicans are locked into their own gang warfare over what remains of their criminal apparatus.

Murtha versus Hoyer: pick your poison

The incoming Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), already finds herself neck-deep in a divisive power struggle over the House Majority Leader job. Pelosi is pushing hard for friend and political ally Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), while a large contingent of House Democrats back Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD). Pelosi risks an immediate black eye before even taking the reigns as House speaker.

Murtha and his supporters correctly blast Hoyer for his persistent and unconscionable support of Bush's war agenda. Murtha�s critics (also correctly) blast away at Murtha�s bad record on ethics. In addition to charges by groups, such as the non-partisan Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, that he is both corrupt and an active opponent of ethics reform, Murtha�s role in the 1980 Abscam Scandal

(which exposed seven members of the House and one senator for bribery) is an ugly historical fact, and one that leaves him terminally vulnerable to �swift-boating."

Although he is hailed in sound bite-driven America as �anti-Iraq war," John Murtha�s actual position is anything but antiwar. He considers Iraq �unwinnable� under Bush-Cheney�s management, and proposes tactical redeployments that still keep �quick strike forces� in the region. That is not antiwar.

Hoyer, meanwhile, is an enthusiastic supporter of the "war on terrorism" and echoer of the Democrats� �make us safe� talking points. He is clearly a lapdog to the Bush administration, who even advocates sending in more troops.

Regardless of the outcome of this round of infighting, the congressional Democratic leadership will not "change the course" of the war, nor slow the decline of the American Empire. In fact, the demise may be worsened if the public is, in any way, fooled into complacency by the neoliberal posturings. The Democrats aggressively support the �war on terrorism� and the continuing cover-up of 9/11, and fully condone the occupation of both Afghanistan and Iraq, and continuous �counterinsurgency� all over the world.

As of this writing, Hoyer has the votes. Barring successful eleventh hour arm-twisting by Pelosi, this is a victory for the pro-Iraq war agenda, and an immediate black eye for Pelosi.

Leadership of what?

Nancy Pelosi is a product of the infamous �John Burton political machine� that has shaped and controlled much of California politics since the 1970s. This itself speaks volumes about what to expect from Pelosi: neoliberal corporate power and influence.

Pelosi is also AIPAC�s best friend, which assures that she will support continuing war in the Middle East. She was a major force behind the attacks and eventual removal of Rep. Cynthia McKinney, one of the few honorable Democrats in Washington. Pelosi is also a legendary China-baiter, who will support the ongoing Cold War against China. Pelosi poses no threat and no challenge to Bush-Cheney.

Meanwhile, incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is a �moderate� (code word for �conservative�), and yet another Bush administration accommodationist, who is not only supportive of much of Bush-Cheney�s policies, but has spent the last week groveling and licking boots -- promising to �treat the Republicans as they have not treated the Democrats."

Even while a large section of outraged Democratic voters are demanding impeachment and legal proceedings against the Bush administration, the Democratic leadership is doing its best to silence these voices, and shut down the entire discussion. Reid is �turning the other cheek," at the same time that Pelosi views impeachment as �stupid." Many leading Dems, such as Dick Durbin (the Senate�s new #2), Byron Dorgan, etc. �don�t want to go there� at all, and would rather concentrate on �the issues� -- as if removing criminals and mass murderers from the Executive Branch is not an issue, not a part of �ethics� reform.

These Dems are content to dither over porky slices of the national budget pie, while the �war on terrorism� sails forward.

The Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), and the likes of the infamous Rahm Emanuel, will continue to make sure that the Democrats remain pro-war, pro-corporate, pro-empire.

The only real issues of our time -- world resource depletion and manufactured war, systemic criminality -- remain completely unaddressed and unacknowledged.

That aside, the political dysfunction of the Democratic Party, and any role they will play in the continuing collapse of the American Empire during Bush-Cheney�s lame duck presidency (whether it is the quagmire of endless war, or a teetering economy) will provide Republicans with fodder for future dirty tricks, as they prepare their future criminal figures, such as the bloodthirsty and devious John McCain, for 2008. That is, if they even get that far.

Meanwhile in the Republican cesspool

The Bush administration�s next attempt at bolstering its power base with insiders, following the insertion of former CIA Director and Iran-Contra participant Robert Gates as defense secretary, was to pick Senator Mel Martinez (R-FLA) to lead the Republican National Committee (RNC). One of the Bush crime family�s many Florida anti-Castro Cuban political operatives elevated to high positions, Martinez is behind the pillage of HUD -- a perfect Bush-Rove plant.

Angry Republicans, upset over Martinez (�not right-wing enough�), have countered by reaching into the cesspool by giving the Senate Minority Whip post to the deeply criminal Senator Trent Lott. Ousted in 2002 as Senate Majority Leader, Lott is still bitter at Bush-Rove for throwing him under the bus. Rove reportedly wanted Martinez to take this post as well.

This dissension among rats is a sure sign that the Republican�s �big tent� has, at least for now, collapsed, along with the popularity of George W. Bush.

What comes next may be worse, if George H.W. �Poppy� Bush, James Baker and other crafty figures from the past re-emerge, and successfully reshape Washington into something resembling its dangerous past Iran-Contra era incarnation: a cooperative, bipartisan criminal consensus.

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