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Published: Friday, 11/3/2006

Election is a referendum on Bush presidency

NOV. 7 can't come soon enough. The craziness that passes as public policy and political leadership cries out for sane intervention. That urgent act of intervening can only come from registered voters determined to let the world know they're mad as hell and aren't going to take it any more. Nothing short of an armed blockade around a polling place should stop anyone from casting a ballot to save the republic.

If you think that's too dramatic, you haven't been following the news lately. From the no-brainers in Washington to the crooks in Columbus, the inane permeates political discourse and development. And people have soured on the political spin, which has spun from mildly effective to outright insulting lately. Even those with no political bent or interests see through the stale sales pitch that the status quo is working. Evidence to the contrary from economics to education is overwhelming.

But clearly the biggest disaster wrought by the "stay-the-course" administration in the White House and upheld by the obliging Republican leadership on Capitol Hill has been the Bush War.

Finally, a majority of American have awakened to the awful predicament the administration and its congressional rubber stamps have inflicted on the country with the military invasion and occupation of Iraq. But George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Condi Rice, and the others who perpetrated the lies that launched a war aren't the ones losing sleep.

They'll be long gone when the Bush War continues years hence. The President has already acknowledged as much, saying it will be up to his successor to deal with the catastrophe he caused. Yet by the time the nation is relieved of the Bush presidency in two years how high will American troop casualties in Iraq have grown? In the almost four-year-old war the number of dead soldiers is climbing toward 3,000, with the toll rising rapidly.

So far the Bush War has also produced more than 20,000 military wounded and buried tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians whose homeland was utterly torn asunder to effect regime change. Colin Powell, the overridden military voice of caution, supposedly said "you break it, you bought it" as the Bush War was being planned without a postscript. Now America is stuck with a broken Iraq, littered with insurgent uprisings, sectarian killings, and frequent militia attacks. Iraqi morgues are filled to capacity with daily victims.

What's more, the Iraqi prime minister has elected to secure his own tenuous political position by lashing out at Washington's clumsy nation-building efforts and is deliberately undermining American military operations to secure sectarian provinces in his country.

Meanwhile the Pentagon grapples with requests from field commanders for more U.S. troops in Iraq to combat the spreading violence that threatens to destroy all hope of stabilization. Surely, for a majority of Americans who fully recognize the nightmare that is Iraq, Nov. 7 can't come soon enough.

Contrary to what President Bush professes, the upcoming elections are indeed a referendum on his embattled presidency. Those who essentially gave his administration a free hand to steer the country so far off course stand to lose big in the midterms.

Republicans who've been stalwart supporters of the administration cannot pretend otherwise as they fight to retain power, although many have tried. In desperate, eleventh-\\ hour attempts to save their jobs, some GOP candidates have begun flinging even the flimsiest of mud at opponents in hopes that anything will stick.

Republican congressional campaigns have been caught quoting racy novels written by rivals, or suggesting a black Democrat running for a U.S. Senate seat has a penchant for white Playboy bunnies. Even Ohio's Ken Blackwell has stooped to insinuating that the married, ordained minister soundly out-polling him in the race for governor has a record of protecting pedophiles.

And, as if to deliberately discourage voters from even going to the polls in the battleground state, Republican leaders have embraced a highly controversial and thoroughly confusing voter ID law to ostensibly correct the non-existent problem of voter fraud in Ohio.

But what the party of the status quo fails to grasp is that voters heading into next week's election have had it with political deceit, government corruption, and inane policy-making.

Not going to take it anymore.

Not going to give backpedaling candidates the benefit of the doubt any more.

Not going to forget that when the U.S. death toll in Iraq hit 103 in October, the fourth-highest number since the war began in March, 2003, the President was trying to fire up his party by decrying gay marriage and activist judges.

Stop the craziness. Intervene Nov. 7.



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