“Shallow Throat”: Dems’ Cave-In Is Truly Scary

By Bernard Weiner, The Crisis Papers

“Shallow Throat” looked like a ghost — exhausted, pallid skin, and, when the wrap-around shades came off, I could see dark circles under the eyes.

The GOP mole high up in the Bush Administration had contacted me through our secret code. Given our numerous conversations over the past six years, where the inner secrets of Republican strategy were revealed, I hurried to set up a meeting. This one took place in a back room of a pharmacy in a location near Washington, D.C.

“You don’t look so hot,” I said.

“You should see the other guy,” said ST, using the old joke but with a grimace. “I feel like crap because the tenure of these extremists in the White House has just been guaranteed for the next year-and-a-half by your liberal Democrat buddies. They had CheneyBush backed into a corner, on the ropes, reeling, and the Dems walked away.”

“Whoa, wait a minute,” I interjected, “I’m just as appalled as you are by the craven surrender of the Democratic leadership on the war-funding bill, lobbying reform and the possibility of impeachment hearings. So don’t hang that charge around my neck. The progressive base of the party, which I support, has been very active in trying to get Pelosi and Reid and the others to do the right thing on these issues and in denouncing them when they don’t.”

Shallow Throat thundered a reply: “If you progressives want to get through to the Dem leaders, you’ll have to lead them! Right now, they have you by the shorts. They know that regardless of what they do, you liberals have nowhere else to go. You’re not going to support the GOP, you’re not going to commit suicide by trying to form a third party, so the Bushistas can just run over you, time and time again, convinced that you’ll eventually come back to the fold with your money and energy because the Republicans are even worse. Why shouldn’t they take you for granted? You make it so easy for them.”


ST scratched at the new wig and continued: “Your guys blew your one best chance to stop this war, or at least to begin to bring it to a close. I could understand the Dems’ timidity if the population were evenly divided on the issue of the war and on the need to get our young soldiers out of there ASAP — but, damn it, that’s not the case!

“Nearly 70% of the public agrees that Bush’s war strategy is mistaken and will lead to even more deaths and maiming of untold numbers of U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians. By nearly two-thirds, the public is in support of starting to withdraw our troops soon. In short, your ass was covered! Why on earth would you give in so easily after just one or two tries? You could have let Bush veto the war-funding bill for the second time and sent it back to him again and again, each time carving away a few more wavering Republicans. You could hammer Bush each time as not being willing to bend a bit to ‘support the troops’.

“Instead, out of fear of being criticized for ‘not supporting the troops’ and and for being insufficiently ‘patriotic,’ you gave away the store, and became, ipso facto, enablers of the Republicans and this slaughter. The blood of young American troops is now on your hands too. Now it’s not just Bush’s war, but also the Democrats’ war! How could your Dem buddies have been so stupid?”


Shallow Throat was breathing heavily after those white-hot denunciations. I passed over my water bottle and let the traditional conservative official take a long swig.

“I agree that they blew this one big time,” I said. “I think that the vacationing Senators and Representatives will feel the heat of the public’s anger this week when theyt are back home. I suspect they will come back to Washington with more starch in their spines to hold the Bush Administration’s feet to the fire in September.”

“As a lifelong Republican,” said Shallow Throat, “I guess I’m expected to take comfort in how badly the Democrats are bumbling with regard to the race for the White House in 2008. The GOP could lose the House and Senate again but hang onto the Presidency, and that’s supposed to make me feel good.

“But, as I’ve told you many times, Bernie, I am appalled and terrified by the brand of far-right extremists who have hijacked my party. Just looking at the crop of candidates running for the GOP nomination — not one of them electable who proudly represents those of us in the traditional-conservative middle — doesn’t give me hope that anybody decent will emerge that would change the self-destructive direction of the party. And it’s not clear whether the Democrats will come up with anyone significantly better.

“Let’s face it, plutocrats in hock to or agreeing with corporate/military-industrial mentalities are in control of most of the leadership of both parties. Granted, the Republican leaders are much more authoritarian and greedy and vicious, but the Democratic leaders, lacking a unifying moral and political theory of governance, aren’t all that much better. Almost all of them owe their souls to the company store, as it were.”


“What I find somewhat optimistic,” I countered, “is that the liberal/progressive citizen base of the party is filled with seething anger at the sell-out of their leaders on the war-funding bill; Cindy Sheehan, for one, has had enough and says she’s exiting the Democratic Party. These activists will direct their rage right where it needs to go — to Pelosi and Reid and Emanuel and the whole DLC crew. This Democratic boat will be turned from its present direction. Come September–”

“September is too damn late!” interrupted Shallow Throat. “The Dems have just given the war a long-term lease, at the very least until Bush and Cheney depart the White House in January of 2009. The Dems will just be nibbling around the edges of the policy they’ve authorized by their cowardly vote approving the war funding.”

“So what options are available?” I asked. “Just demonstrating and shouting our anger at these creeps doesn’t seem to get us anywhere. Where should we be going?”


“Look,” said Shallow Throat, “your side still has some leverage. You control the Congress and thus can use the investigative function, subpoena powers, putting witnesses under oath, etc.

“But, damm it, you have these one-day hearings, a lot of fulminating when the Administration witnesses skirt and evade the questions, and then you let them go. If you really want to learn what really happened, you’ll have to invite or subpoena them back again and again until you get full, honest answers, threaten them and maybe even cite them for contempt of Congress.

“If necessary, take them to court to get them to supply the documents and copies of e-mails you subpoenaed; establish an impeachment panel and start the early work on Gonzales, Cheney, Bush; inquire how Bush, with last week’s secret ‘National Security Presidential Directive,’ totally cut the Congress out of any say in how the government would be organized in case of an ’emergency’ — he appointed himself sole decider of all matters civil and legislative, including when to declare martial law, and nobody is permitted to override his dictatorial decisions.”

“Not sure any investigations along those lines will necessarily lead anywhere, practically speaking,” I said. “The Republicans have ways of gumming up the works.”


“So what?” Shallow Throat yelled. “At least give the public some truths to hang onto, and some hope that the Democrats are trying to do something rather than just rolling on their backs in total submission to the snarling tactics of Karl Rove, Dick Cheney and their friends. Besides, you need to keep those guys on the defensive every day of every week. Don’t let them get traction, momentum. Force them to play defense, scatter their energies, let them sweat for a change.

“And I suggest you get right on it, since the HardRight extremists running this Administration and the GOP in Congress have all sorts of bad news up their sleeves, including another major escalation of the Iraq War, aiding in an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities and military installations, and clamping down even more on Americans’ constitutional rights, including the possible declaration of martial law.”

“Now you’re really scaring me,” I said.


“Good! You’d better be frightened,” said Shallow Throat. “If the Republicans hold the White House in the 2008 election, we could have a kind of civil war inside the military right here in this country.

“When General Petraeus tells the Congress in September that the U.S. is making ‘clear progress’ with the surge but needs another ten thousand troops and six months more time to turn around the situation in Iraq, there will be a political insurrection inside the Pentagon, with mass resignations of the highest-ranking officers in the military, conservative men and women willing to take on the Bush Administration and those officers who choose to stay and obey these reckless, likely illegal Administration orders. These officers of conscience will not acquiesce to more self-destructive madness, more wrecking of an already stressed, stretched-too-thin military and National Guard; more shredding of the Con–”

I interrupted: “Are you suggesting the possibility of an armed confrontation between the two sides, or just a massive public airing of different points of view about U.S. military policy around the world? Is this what you meant by the possibility of martial law?”

“Hear what I’m saying. There are growing rumbles from both inside and outside the government: If the situation after September looks hopeless in preserving the Constitution and re-establishing a sane foreign/military policy, and if key nations decide to retaliate against America by calling-in the U.S. debt bonds they hold (thus ruining the United States economy), nothing will be off the table inside this country,” said Shallow Throat, and quickly left the room.

I sat there stunned, unable to move, petrified by fear. #

Bernard Weiner, a playwright/poet, has had numerous conversations with the Shallow Throat character over the past six years. Holder of a Ph.D. in government & international relations, he has taught at universities in California and Washington, worked for the San Francisco Chronicle as a writer/editor for two decades, and currently co-edits The Crisis Papers . To comment: crisispapers@comcast. net .

First published by The Crisis Papers and Democratic Underground 5/29/07.

Copyright 2007 by Bernard Weiner.

Published in: on 05/29/2007 at 5:33 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Please stop working under the stupid R vs. D paradigm. There are D’s that may or may not end the war and our idiotic foreign policy and our reckless monetary policy, but there is one R that is guaranteed to bring the troops home and begin to bring sanity to our money. That’s Ron Paul.

    So please stop bothering with the Dems. They aren’t your savior.

    It’s time to support Ron Paul and make him the next president.

  2. It won’t matter who gets in, Corporate America owns BOTH parties and make the policies with the proxy of a President and a government to legitimize them. It’s those policies which are destroying the US. Until that changes the train crash the US has heading towards is inevitable.

    People rally against “globalization” at meetings like the G8……they miss the point. If we had globalization their case would have been won. We have “Americanization” intentionally mislabeled as “globalisation”….to hide it’s real face.

    People WANT to see a shared community with a fair deal for all, not one all powerful nation (whoever that happens to be) dominate all in their greed to be even richer while other starve.

    Americanization is the prime directive of Corporate America.

    Isn’t spin wonderful? To address any problem, you have to first see the problem in all it’s elements.

    Until globalisation is redefined and given it’s real name by those who seek to change it, it will continue to be a fringe element, ignored by those in power….allowing those in power to drive the train with blindfolds on, blinkered by their own greed and self importance.

    Sorry, this response has shifted more about Americanisation, it was the party focus that prompted it.

    Personally I see China and India waiting in the wings to take the USs place as the major power….they must be pissing themselves with laughter. Their time as the major power is coming, and they don’t need to lift a finger…..just watch as the US self destructs.

    For those who can’t see a time where the US can slip I say this….

    All Empires crumble from within. The British Empire was thought ever lasting and invincible in 1900….less than a century later, 2 world wars and they (we…I am a Brit) can only make worldwide ripples by slipping into the slipstream of the major player.

    Look through history, and count the Empires of the past which are dominant now……they’ve ALL fallen. Every one of them….no matter how their heyday was under control.

    The US refuses to accept it is an Empire because they fought for freedom against one…..this does not change reality, nor their fate.

    I’ve rambled enough, so I’ll end it there. Nice blog BTW.

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