In an op-ed at Murdoch's London Times, associate editor Anatole Kalestsky writes that America must give the Republicans "a good kicking" to reassert
August 27, 2008

Lotsahugs In an op-ed at Murdoch's London Times, associate editor Anatole Kalestsky writes that America must give the Republicans "a good kicking" to reassert the most important facet of democracy - not just to elect good governance but to get rid of bad governance. It's an op-ed that is highly critical of the Democratic party's choice - Murdoch's UK papers preferred Clinton - and of Dem tactics to date. But it really gets the message across on McCain and the GOP.

Whether or not Mr McCain would continue the policies of President Bush (and much of the evidence suggests that his would be a Bush presidency on steroids), he would keep in power the coalition of interests that the Republican Party represents: the energy and military-industrial lobbies, the religious conservatives, the anti-environment interests and the neoconservative think-tanks. These groups - which have gained enormous influence, both financially and intellectually, under President Bush - are as responsible for the blunders of the Bush Administration as Mr Bush himself, arguably more so, given the President's notorious lack of interest in the details of any of his own policies.

If a Republican is again elected president, these same centres of power will continue to dominate Washington. However many wars they encouraged, however high the price of oil rose, however many tax dollars were redistributed in their favour, the neoconservatives and Pentagon contractors and religious fundamentalists and oil and Wall Street lobbies would conclude that there would be no political price to pay for failure. They would be justified in concluding that there is no longer any democratic check on their ambitions.

It is only by ejecting the Republicans from the White House that American voters can send the message that they are still in charge of their country and that gross government incompetence will not go unpunished. Accountability - not personality or rhetoric or colour or age or gender - should be the overriding issue in this election.

That's exactly right - and it's great to see Bill Clinton, Biden and Kerry all do so very effectively rather than trying to keep the brand pristine. (Even the Right is admitting they did good - albeit with weasel words.) I'm a bit of an outside observer on US elections, being a "furriner' and all, and it has disappointed me until now that the Dem campaign after the primaries had seemed rather flat. That's changed, and while the Dems are still sticking to the moral high ground by not descending to the kind of lies and smears of McCain's campaign, they're now obviously in no mood to let the Republicans have the field to themselves. As my pal Kyle Moore writes, if the Dems had pulled out these kinds of performances four years ago the Dems would be working on Kerry's re-election. More of this, please.

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