" ... about a second Bush term? We survived the first one."
The question is "how bad can it get", and the answer I come up with is "pretty damn bad":
- Since Bush thinks the economy is just fine, it will continue to tank. More big corporations will move offshore, along with more white- collar work. Ya want fries with that?
- We'll have a military draft by May. Since BushCo is as butt- ignorant about the military as they are about everything else, they'll assume that they can run recruits through six weeks of basic and turn them loose in Iraq. Hey, it worked in Vietnam! For a rather strange value of "worked"
- Before the disaster created by filling Iraq with draftees becomes so obvious that even the neocons can't ignore it, they'll attack somebody else. Main bet is Iran, with a side bet on Syria.
- They'll continue screwing the pooch with North Korea. Israel will continue to be a disaster area.
- More tax breaks to campaign contributors, of course, paid for by jacking up the deficit. How long will East Asia be willing to lend us money for cheap? Also clearcut forests, mineral leases on National Parks, and pollution, pollution, pollution.
- Bin Laden is operating essentially unchecked. Expect him to clock in again. Won't be hijacked airliners this time. What'll it be? I don't know and I'll bet BushCo don't either.
- Expect a "moral" crackdown. The "outrage" over Janet Jackson's nipple was nuthin'. Expect more crackdowns on naked statues and celebrity bong sellers.
- So far, the rest of the world has been understanding about our little leadership problems. After all, most countries have experience with leaders they'd really rather forget about. But if we re- elect this clown, I'm guessing that some of the hatred and contempt directed toward Bush will start to be directed toward individual Americans. Don't plan on a European vacation.
- That European vacation is going to get expensive. The dollar is in the toilet compared to the euro, and it's going to go a lot further.
- Education is gonna take it in the neck. Eliminating public education is a cornerstone of a lot of right- wing philosophy. Expect more underfunded mandates like "No Child Left Behind", more cuts in university funding, and attacks on tenure.
- More efforts to "privatize" Social Security. This one may not go anywhere; nobody wants their SS money in Enron stock.
- Throughout Bush's term, the Republicans have been running out as many high- level career civil servants as the can and replacing them with Party loyalists. Remember why we have "civil service" in the first place? We needed a civil service that would actually do their jobs. The political hacks aren't very good at that.
- Gas prices will continue to go up. When Bush was first elected, a lot of folks said "Well, yeah, he's a doofus, but at least, with two oilmen in the White House, gas prices will go down." Oops.
Now, you can make the case that these aren't really all that bad — after all, they can be reversed when the country comes to its senses. But if the country doesn't come to its senses on 2 November, it may not have the chance for a long time:
- Imagine the Supreme Court with Justices Rehnquist, Stevens, O'Connor, and Bader Ginsburg replaced with Scalia/Thomas clones. Essentially, a total rubber stamp. The appointment of wingnuts to lesser courts will continue, of course. Will the Senate roll over and play dead? Probably. Democrats still seem to have this idea of bipartisanship. The Republicans don't.
- Expect more gerrymandering from Republican- controlled state legislatures.
- Expect the mainstream news to become even more of an outlet for Administration press releases. The Press has shown some signs of waking up, and if there's one thing this administration is good at, it's revenge. Expect crackdowns on the corporate parents of ABC, NBC, and CNN.
- So far in this campaign, the Republicans have been able to get away with all sorts of nasty things — throwing away Democratic voter registrations, sending out absentee ballots with Kerry's name left off, mounting massive challenges to voters in black districts, assorted disinformation/intimidation tactics.
- And then there's the computerized voting machines. Unauditable, unrecountable, unverifiable. "Trust us!" they say. "The computer can't be wrong!" All these machines are made by companies controlled by right- wing Republicans, except one that has ties to the Russian Mafia, which is not an improvement. Already one has shown up "preloaded" with 16,000 votes for Bush (Florida, of course).
Oh, and while you're at it, take a good long look at Dennis Hastert, Speaker of the House. Why? Well, he's second in line for the Presidency if something happens to Bush. Why should we worry? Well, VP Cheney has a famously bad ticker, and Bush has been showing some rather unfortunate physical signs. There's a measurable chance that neither of them will survive for four years.