I Smell a Rat


I smell a rat in the indictment and trial of Ted Stevens, the senator from Alaska. Sarah Palin had fought with him for control of the Alaska Republican Party, and by refusing to endorse him for reelection, she looks like an anti-corruption fighter, the maverick who takes on the powerful in the interests of the common people.

But all of a sudden, the judge in the case has thrown out critical evidence because of prosecutorial misconduct involving the use of evidence it knew was false. There is no way to know what the outcome of the trial will be, but it is starting to look more and more like a political hatchet job to the benefit of Palin. This would not be the first time the Justice Department placed politics above its true responsibilities. In the corrupt world of American politics, Stevens is a sacrificial lamb, a senate seat lost to the GOP so the national ticket will prevail. It looks more and more as though Palin was not a sudden choice, but part of a calculated scheme to give the K Street gang an inside track to a recovery of its interests.

But what happens if Stevens is acquitted? He will start sharpening his knives to stick into Palin before the election, if he isn’t doing so now. All of a sudden, seven people who had refused to testify against Palin in the state investigation into her possible abuse of power by firing the Public Safety Commissioner because he wouldn’t fire her ex-brother-in-law, a state trooper involved in a nasty custody fight with her sister, have changed their position and are testifying. A whole bunch of people in Alaska has to act fast before she can use her power as vice president to do them in.

The Commission investigating her will have enough testimony, even without her and the First Dude’s cooperation to write a damning report before the election. It should come as no surprise if the legislature adopts a motion to begin impeachment proceedings against her in time to embarrass the McCain campaign. Since this will involve Republicans as well as Democrats, the charge that the proceedings are biased politically cannot stand.

The hubris of all of this is amazing. These are people who think power is something to be employed to ride rough shot over the legitimacy of both government and legal process. Palin’s minions are now packing the results of a PBS poll on whether or not she is qualified to be vice president, voting early and often. If you fool enough of the people enough of the time, you get to take and keep power.

But this is close to backfiring because a trial is like a war and just as there is a cloud of war, there is a cloud of criminal process. You never know what’s going to happen. One day, O.J. Simpson gets away with murder, the next day, he is on his way to the can because of kidnapping. Whoever made the decision to go after Stevens may well have made a strategic mistake of monumental proportions, with a blowback that could derail not just McCain and Palin, but her entire future political career.

Those who are not taken in by her phony populism will not shed a tear. But even if she goes down, her legacy is likely to continue as the new force of the National Populists, the Nat Pops, gains momentum as the economy collapses. There is a feeling in the land that the powerful forces that run this country have been pulling a fast one for years. The politician who is likely to pick up the pieces after the debacle is Mike Huckabee, rejected by McCain’s inner circle as "too populist." So instead, they went with Palin to capitalize on female discontent after Hillary Clintons’ defeat.

The Republicans under Atwater and Rove were superior tacticians who knew how to use fear and hate to win elections. After Bush used this tactic against him, McCain figured that in his last chance at the presidency, he would adopt those tactics himself. The problem is for McCain that he looks terribly uncomfortable doing it. He drags Sarah Palin around like a prop and unleashes her as his attack dog, the way Nixon used Agnew. The polls suggest that this is not working and this may be because Obama has David Axelrod, the toughest operator on the scene right now. It is really laughable how the Republicans denounce him for his ruthless tactics. They thought Obama would fold like John Kerry, that the Democrats were soft. It turned out that they were wrong.

This spectacle means that the chances of cooperation between Democrats and Republicans in Washington after the election are just about nil. With the market continuing to plummet, there is no telling where this will end. Who would have thought that some home repairs done to Ted Stevens would be of such consequence? Never let it be said that our leaders have put the nation first. The collapse of bourgeois democracy in the age of aggressive war has brought about a crisis with which Lenin would have been all too familiar. In his "State and Revolution" he predicted all of this. His only intellectual superiors were Hayek, Mises and Rothbard, and they are forbidden thinkers in the American academy. Who ever said ideas don’t matter?

Richard Cummings [send him mail] taught international law at the Haile Selassie I University and before that, was Attorney-Advisor with the Office of General Counsel of the Near East South Asia region of U.S.A.I.D, where he was responsible for the legal work pertaining to the aid program in Israel, Jordan, Pakistan and Afghanistan. He is the author of a new novel, The Immortalists, as well as The Pied Piper — Allard K. Lowenstein and the Liberal Dream, and the comedy, Soccer Moms From Hell. He holds a Ph.D. in Social and Political Sciences from Cambridge University and is a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers. He is writing a new book, The Road To Baghdad — The Money Trail Behind The War In Iraq. He is a contribution editor for The American Conservative.

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