The Torricelli Precedent

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must grudgingly concede that even those liberal, pinko wimps over
at Paul Weyrich’s Free Congress Foundation occasionally propose
interesting notions, such
as in the latest column by William S. Lind

raises a fascinating, though extremely speculative point, namely
that if the current trajectory in Iraq continues in linear fashion,
political certainties may suddenly become considerably less certain.

the time of the major party conventions this summer, the current
presumptive Presidential candidate, today strong in the polls, having
many tens of millions in the bank and the locked-down endorsement
of pretty
much every party member in the country may find it necessary to
step aside, just as in the case of Lyndon Johnson in 1968.

if “Iraq” becomes a true curse word to the voters over the next
few months, then Iraq-hawk John F. Kerry may simply be unelectable
as President.

might the Democratic Party elders replace him with? That would be
a deep and complex question, but one slight hint could be that under
that scenario the American voters – not to mention Democratic
Party activists and delegates – might be in the mood for a
very loud and very angry “scream.”

Republicans would face a different and rather more challenging quandry.
Under White House pressure, pretty much every prominent elected
Republican in America had already endorsed what might become known
as the “Iraq Disaster,” forcing the G.O.P. to dip far, far deeper
into its political talent-pool in order to locate someone untainted
– perhaps some obscure State Senator or City Councilman from
or Alaska – to lead the national ticket.

Republican problem is that Bush’s early success in raising hundreds
of millions of dollars in funding has allowed the party to already
pre-spend much of that money on Bush reelection materials, now stockpiled
in warehouses just waiting to be used. Organizing tens of thousands
of party volunteers to diligently cross-out the “George Bush” on
each and every bumper sticker and instead write in the name “Jeff
would be a considerable embarrassment.

an obvious and easy Republican solution presents itself. With the
“New George Bush” having failed in the political marketplace –
despite a massive advertising campaign – what could be easier
than to bring back the “Classic George Bush,” a man of unvarnished
patriotism and heroic military service, who along with his chief
advisors had not only been a strong opponent of the conquest and
occupation of Iraq this time but the previous time as well, having
so cogently spelled out the clear reasons with short and sure precision
in his 1996 book. No need to expensively reprint buttons or direct
mail pieces: “Re-Elect George Bush” is a one-size-fits-all slogan
that really works.

more Republican dollars could be saved if Dan Quayle were drafted
from retirement and added to the ticket, allowing any leftover materials
from the 1992 race to be completely reused. And these days, the
prospect of laying the groundwork for a potential Quayle Presidency
would surely thrill Republican intellectuals, currently thirsting
for brilliant thoughtfulness in the Oval Office.

by some accounts a significant fraction of America’s generally apolitical
voters had never even realized that there were actually two different
George Bushes in the first place, so would be none the wiser at
the quiet late substitution.

16, 2004

Unz [send him mail] is
a Silicon Valley software developer and head of English
for the Children


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