Saturday, February 12, 2005

Three exemplars of democratic values


Schwarzenegger tells a Republican group that Democratic members of the state legislature are “addicts” who “cannot stop spending money.” But the LAT buries the lead by focusing on that quote. The key line is actually his most explicit statement yet of the f├╝hrerprinzip: “Now,” he said, “we have a governor who represents the people’s interests instead of special interests.” D’s didn’t “get the message” of the recall of Gray Davis in 2003: “If they had been on the ballot, they all would have been recalled.” So Ahhnuld considers himself the only genuine representative of the people (notwithstanding the 2004 elections).

After all the talk about spreading freedom, Bush has had to send Henry Kissinger to Moscow to reassure Putin that he doesn’t mean a word of it. Because if you want to send a message about how important ideals and democracy are to you, the messenger you choose would just have to be Henry Fucking Kissinger.

Speaking of bad representatives of democratic values, Dexter Filkins’s NYT story about Achmad Chalabi’s attempt to wheel ’n deal his way into the office of prime minister takes seriously the line that Chalabi is out of favor with the Americans. Actually, it’s hard to tell; the position of the Bushies on Iraq’s future has become curiously opaque over the last few months. Did his Pentagon backers really back away from him? If so, Filkins gives a singularly unlike reason for it: “Mr. Chalabi’s footing in the Bush administration steadily eroded as it became clear that much of the intelligence he had turned over to the American government, which was used to justify an invasion, turned out to have been exaggerated or false.” Sure, everyone else who produced false intelligence is promoted, but Chalabi is dropped for doing the same, and if you buy that, I’ve got some Nigerien yellowcake to sell you.

So Iraqi “democracy,” which was fresh and young and hopeful two weeks ago has, before the votes are even counted, become so decrepit, debased and cynical that Chalabi, a man with no discernible principles except self-interest, could be a major player in the backroom intrigues which will establish an Iraqi administration, with no particular reference to how Iraqis actually voted. Maybe they could be persuaded to take Arnold Schwarzenegger instead, cuz I hear he supports the people’s interests rather than the special interests. Maybe they could take Kissinger as well.

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