On Native Ground
AM I AN ANGRY LEFTY? YES, AND I'VE GOT LOTS OF COMPANY
by Randolph T. Holhut
American Reporter Correspondent
DUMMERSTON, Vt. -- The new buzz phrase in the news media these days is "the Angry Left."
That's the all-purpose putdown that conservatives have started to use to describe folks who believe that President Bush is an unelected fraud, a moron and perhaps the worst president in our history.
Never mind that this phrase has originated from the same folks who screamed for the urgent delivery of the heads of the Clintons on any available platter for over a decade. Hypocrisy aside, this new round of name-calling is a good thing. It shows that our right-wing friends are taking notice of the growing opposition to the ruinous policies of President Bush. They're starting to realize that with each passing day it's looking more likely that Bush will be a one-term president.
Poll after poll indicates that a majority of Americans don't believe President Bush is doing a good job and that they would rather see someone else in the White House.
The most recent USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll pegs his approval rating at 50 percent, while a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll has him at 49 percent. That's down from the 71 percent rating he had in April and the 90 percent he had after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.
The top Democratic candidates for president - Howard Dean, Richard Gephardt, John Kerry, Joe Lieberman and Wesley Clark - are all now within striking distance of Bush, according to the aforementioned USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll.
The conservatives now have every reason to be worried that the man once known as "the popular wartime president" is not only no longer popular, but that the opposition to Bush is growing across the political spectrum.
Our faith in the democratic process has been shaken even since the theft of the 2000 presidential election by the Republican Party. This is not an issue of right or left - as some pundits would make it out to be - but right and wrong. The President lost the popular vote in the election by more than 500,000 votes and probably didn't win Florida but by the grace of judicial chicanery and political thuggery.
If the inability to neither forgive nor forget this outrageous act against democracy makes me an angry lefty, then mark me down on that list.
But it's more than that.
I am sick of the constant fear-mongering and the cynical use of 9/11 to justify everything from tax cuts for the rich to expanded police power. We're told that the economy is improving, yet personal bankruptcies are at an all-time high and more than three million jobs have disappeared in the last three years. About half of this nation's combat forces are tied up in Iraq and Afghanistan, two rat holes that soaking up about $4 billion of our money a month while education, health care and other pressing domestic needs are shortchanged.
If expressing these concerns make me an angry lefty, I've got plenty of company in America.
President Bush has lied persistently and repeatedly about all sorts of issues. But the lies about Iraq will ultimately prove to be his undoing. The conservatives can spin it anyway they like, but the facts are that the Bush administration lied to us about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein and led us into an illegal and immoral war based on those lies.
If pointing out this inconvenient truth makes one a member of the Angry Left, there are a lot of new converts to the cause.
That old cliche of the Left - "If you're not angry, you're not paying attention" - perfectly describes the moment we're in politically.
Americans of all political persuasions are starting to realize what a mendacious fraud President Bush is. They are starting to realize how much his lies have cost us in blood and treasure in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are starting to realize that for all of the bluster about "the war on terror," this nation isn't any safer than it was two years ago. They see the lousy economy and see how much money is being shoveled at the rich through tax breaks, corporate welfare and legislative trickery. They are starting to realize that four more years of this fraud and mendacity would be nothing less than a disaster for this nation.
Challenging those in power is never popular. We saw the ridicule that was heaped upon the few who dared to speak in opposition of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Who would've thought six months ago that the anti-war folks would be proven right on virtually every point and that the Bush administration's lies would unravel so quickly?
The corporate press is finally starting to discover that there are a lot of ticked off people in this country who would sooner vote for a steaming pile of manure than vote for George W. Bush in 2004.
If the Democratic Party is smart enough to fully exploit this anger and translate it into votes for whomever it nominates for president, the Republicans will be toast and our long national nightmare may finally be over come Jan. 20, 2005.
Randolph T. Holhut has been a journalist in New England for more than 20 years. He edited "The George Seldes Reader" (Barricade Books).