by Joyce Marcel
American Reporter Correspondent
August 9, 2007
AFTER THE COUP
DUMMERSTON, Vt. -- If you've already stolen two presidential elections, how hard could it be to steal a country?
This has been my concern for quite a while now: how do we actually get power-mad Vice President Dick Cheney and President George W. Bush to move out of the White House?
In their six or so years in office, the two of them, with help from the shadowy Karl Rove, the President's chief of staff, have put enough "signing statements" and unnoticed pieces of legislation on the books to allow - with legal justification - the Executive Branch to take over the government at will. Their will, of course. Certainly not ours.
They've suspended habeus corpus here. They attack other countries at will. They're spying on us, and a spineless, Democratically-controlled Congress just gave them permission to do it longer. There are good reasons why they have total contempt for Congress. They own the Supreme Court lock, stock and barrel. They blow their noses with the U.S. Constitution. Mr. Cheney has already declared that his office is a fourth branch of government.
Even diehard Republicans - true conservatives as well as evangelical Christians - are uneasy.
Messrs. Bush and Cheney don't care. They are unperturbed over their sinking popularity ratings. President Bush is nonchalant about his "legacy." The last time I heard him discuss it, he was saying that historians haven't yet agreed on George Washington's term in office, so he has a couple of centuries to go before anything definitive is written about him.
It's not farfetched to think of them staging a coup. How will they do it? Will they declare martial law? Stage some version of a military coup? Stage another 9/11 - their personal version of the Reichstag fire?
And more importantly, how would we wrest the country back? It would take armed revolution, with millions of us flooding the streets of Washington and demanding a return to democracy, There would be blood in those streets, I'm afraid.
The last time America needed a revolution, we had real leaders to call on. Who today would lead the charge? Some unknown-as-yet hero, or someone who had the most to lose?
The people who have the most to lose in a coup are the ones who think that they are so "presidential" that they should be the next in line to occupy the Oval Office. They are the ones with the egos so big that they wouldn't mind a dictatorship, but only if they were the dictator.
Where would our candidates be in a revolutionary scenario? What would Hillary Clinton, Rudy Giuliani, John Edwards, Barak Obama, Joe Biden, John McCain, Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson - and let's throw Newt Gingrich and Arnold Schwarzenegger into the mix - do if Mr. Cheney and Mr. Bush staged a coup?
I can't imagine Hillary Clinton picking up a gun and manning - do we have to say "personing" now? - the front lines. Can you? I can see her consulting her advisors, urging caution and earnestly talking us to death, but I can't see her fighting.
John Edwards? He's a charmer on top and a ruthless litigator underneath. He has the skills of a shark in the courtroom and Congress, but I doubt if he has the guts to pick up a gun and lead a charge.
Obama? He's a just a wet-behind-the-ears baby who made the mistake of believing in his publicity. I'm a liberal myself, most days, but this would be a time for radical action, and I'm afraid Obama is just too soft.
Joe Biden? A great man, I think, but ready for action? Maybe he would be great behind the scenes somewhere, but not in front.
This brings us to those macho-macho Republicans. Who has the biggest cojones? McCain has debased himself worshipping at the altar of Bush and Cheney in his lust for power. Mitt Romney's only conviction is that he deserves to be president. He's a manager, and as we saw in Massachusetts, not a very good or committed one. He'd be the first to run. Schwartzenegger? He's a movie star, for God's sake. This is real life. Fred Thompson? Also an actor, also a poseur. Gingrich? Give me a break.
The only one who is feral enough, mean enough, bloodthirsty and unafraid enough is Rudy Giuliani.
But George Washington he's not. Giuliani is immoral and hypocritical; we saw that in New York before 9/11. On the day the buildings fell, he was the only politician who, for a while, actually did the right thing. But don't we have the right to expect all our leaders to do the right thing?
Which means that America is today without leadership and without hope. My beloved country is as close to being doomed as I've seen it in my lifetime. Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney in permanent power, or one of these turkeys taking over?
I'm holding my breath on this one.
A collection of Joyce Marcel's columns, "A Thousand Words or Less," is available through joycemarcel.com. And write her at email@example.com.