Indispensable Enemies

by: John Emerson

Sat Sep 26, 2009 at 11:30


(Another in John's series on the dark side of party politics. - promoted by Paul Rosenberg)

Indispensable Enemies, Walter Karp, Franklin Square Press, 1993 / 1973

Indispensable Enemies is a wild ride, and very few will want to stay on all the way to the end. Karp has no respect for either of the major parties, and his low opinion extends to such Democratic heroes as Woodrow Wilson, FDR, JFK, LBJ, and even McGovern. He was politically unaffiliated, but identified with the Progressive and Populist traditions, and  nowadays he seems to be admired mostly by paleocons and right-libertarians. But his insights into the two-party system can help dissidents of any stripe understand what's wrong with our political process, and more specifically, what's wrong with the Democratic Party.

The basic idea of the book is that when you're trying to understand American politics, you don't want to start with the candidates and elected officials, or with the voters and public opinion, or even with the lobbyists or with the media, but with the political parties. Karp overstates his case considerably, but there are few who could read his book without learning something from it.

The parties and the pros work for themselves first, last and always, and a party's ruling group would always rather maintain control of a losing party than win and lose control. Parties do not depend on elected officials for funding. Quite the opposite: elected officials who don't have their own organizations and who can't self-finance are pretty much dependent on the party. (This is especially true of low-seniority members of the House, who are little more than but peons.)  The party gets its funding from donors, and donors give money as often to prevent action asthey do to get action: sometimes all they want is nothing.

By and large party leaders do not want reform, progress, or change, since anything new makes  their job harder and threatens to bring in new and competing leaders. The two party oligarchies support one another against the dissident forces in either party, and often their disputes are choreographed dog-and-pony shows leading, like pro wrestling, to foreordained conclusions -- as we have seen with free trade, tax reduction, and deregulation, often the two parties are in agreement on the issues.

Some examples of what party leaders will do in order to keep control:

A. Sabotage a popular candidate of their own party, either because he is in some way dissident on the issues, or just because he seems likely to try to take over the party organization.

B. Concede small or large areas to the "opposition" party, ensuring a standoff whereby the leaders of the two parties are able to broker deals at the expense of their own supporters. After the Civil War the Republicans conceded the whole South to the Democrats by accepting the disenfranchisement of black Americans. In many states, the party machines divide the state on an urban-rural basis. Once the nation or the state is stabilized that way and a standoff achieved, the leaders of the two parties can happily do business.

C. Split their own party so that one faction can be played off against the other. For decades, even during periods when liberal Democrats and moderate Republicans had the votes to end segregation, the Democratic leadership (by honoring seniority rules, the filibuster, etc.) allowed the Southern Democrats to block progress. The sacred rules of Congressional procedure are nothing but the devices by which the party leaders manipulate and control Congress. None of them have the sanction of law, and many of them aren't even very old.  The plain fact is that before LBJ the party leadership, including the northerners, never wanted to end segregation and were perfectly happy to let the South run the show.

D. Build campaigns around wedge issues, peripheral to the real business of government, which set a bloc of voters in one party against a bloc in the other party. Wedge issues aren't a Rove invention: for decades after the Civil War, the most visible issues were prohibition, foreign-language schools, and anti-Yankee or anti-Reb sentiment. Wedge issues cost little or nothing, and if the level of animosity can be kept high enough they're the gift that keeps on giving.

For example, the Republicans have been flogging abortion for three decades now without delivering much of anything. They do not really want to win, because if they do, they'll not only anger their own moderate voters, but will also lose their leverage with anti-abortion voters.  Peripheral issues of this kind are decoys allowing allow the two parties to quietly achieve goals that they really care about.

E. Neglect or sabotage outreach. The party pros do not want enthusiastic new supporters if the new supporters seem likely to make new, inconvenient demands. What they want is predictable, tried-and-true party regulars making specific, limited demands. Voter enthusiasm is not a good thing, but rather a problem to be solved: often the party must figure out how to fail in a non-obvious way, without angering its voters.

The two parties, and the liberal and conservative wings of each party, often secretly cooperate with one another by killing inconvenient measures that their adversaries need to seem to support, but do not want to see passed. When you see support for a popular bill mysteriously evaporating, or when you see factional disputes within the dominant party or faction delivering victory to the weaker one, this is often what has happened.

F. Bipartisanship. Need I say more? The bosses  deal, and Broder rejoices.

Karp makes one point that I can't develop here, but which is dear to my heart. He asks the reader to assume that political players are agents and know what they're doing, so that if the players' actions don't make sense in terms of their professed goals, we should conclude that their actual goals are different. This goes against fifty years of lumpen-wonk truisms about how politics works. Wonk Democrats seem to be fanatically committed to the idea that blind forces decide everything and that no one ever really knows what they are doing or why, and they automatically accuse anyone who believes that politicians do things for reasons of being a paranoid conspiracy theorist.

This is very strange, because the same wonks who so strongly claim to believe in blind forces also believe that the wise Democrats they support are doing magical things behind the scenes, and that we should just stand behind them without asking what it is that they're doing.  It's almost as if the wonks are putting up a smokescreen of conspiracy-theory accusations specifically for the purpose of diverting our attention from their own backroom politics.

Karp makes a vivid case, and every reader has to decide how much of it he accepts. It's partly outdated: his book was published in 1973, and since then our politics has been transformed by think tanks, talk radio and TV, the conservative colonization of  the serious media, PACS, and so on. I'm not sure that the Gingrich-Delay-Rove Republicans fit into the pattern described by Karp, and the fact that today's Democrats do seem to fit the pattern might be evidence that they're living in the past and still haven't figured out what hit them.

I strongly recommend that everyone read this book. This post gives you only a very sketchy idea of what Karp has to say, and in the book itself he provides a wealth of concrete examples of the kinds of things that I have only been able to summarize.

CITATIONS BELOW

John Emerson :: Indispensable Enemies
Bourbon Democracy Of the Middle West:
http://www.openleft.com/diary/...

24
The simple truth is, the party organization will dump an election whenever its control over the party would be weakened by the victory of its own party's candidate.... Fear of the party's own elected officials is often a determining feature of party politics regardless of who holds the office.... Party organizations cannot afford to take chances. They will even try to defeat a party hack if his victory would prove inconvenient.

43
In many states the contest between the majority party's regulars and its uncontrolled elements is the only real electoral competition that state parties, despite themselves, provide.... minority parties help the ruling party regulars in many ways, first and foremost simply by being a fake opposition.... Anything that stirs up the electorate, anything that rouses their interest in politics, is harmful to party organizations and, most directly, to a state's ruling party.

55
Given every opportunity to crush an influential Bourbon [William Colmer, a conservative Southern Democrat who had deserted the Democrats in two different Presidential elections], the non-Bourbon Democratic majority elevated him to the highest of Congressional stations [Chairman of the Rules Committee).

59
The Northern wing could then split its vote four ways and hand Boggs the victory. This sort of manoeuver is usually attributed to the inherent disunity of Northern liberals, but there's nothing inherent about it. When reporters asked Udall what caused his defeat, his answer was simple: "the big-city boys". As Jim Folson, the anti-Bourbon former governor of Alabama, once put it, "The Yankees and the Southerners give each other hell up in Congress, and then they get together in the back room and say, well, we put it over on the folks again. It's been going on for a hundred years."

72
Then came the depression, and Republican voters started casting their votes for Democratic legislative candidates, whoever they might happen to be. By 1934, the Democrats in ten Republican strongholds held 42 percent of the legislative seats, a historic, if unwanted resurgence. Little boodle parties suddenly found themselves saddled with flocks of freshmen legislators and all sorts of unwanted ambitions that threatened the regulars' control.

103
The Bourbons could not have enacted these measures [the disenfranchisement of black Southerners after 1896], would not have dared to enact these measures, had the Bourbons even expected the Republican Party to protest. Republican bosses and Republican Presidents did not protest. They saw their Republican voters decimated by disenfranchisement, they saw their own winning party in NC ruined by disenfranchisement, yet they let this constitutional degradation of American citizens pass unopposed."

109
So there it is: two national apogees of reform and two unexplained blunders that brought reform to a halt. What no one, to my knowledge, has suggested is that.these blunders were not blunders at all, that each was the deliberately chosen means for achieving the very end it achieved: bringing reform to a halt.

115
Kennedy was carrying out a basic political strategy for killing pledged reforms - the creation of what political observer Martin Gelfand has termed the "indispensable enemy", the opposition required to prevent you from doing what you must appear to want done.

His administration declared that it could not pass programs through the Senate without Republican votes and - what was palpably untrue - could win them only if Senator Everett Dirksen gave his approval to Kennedy legislation. Accordingly, Kennedy made elaborate public efforts to win over Senator Dirksen and an "extraordinary rapport" was established between the two men.

118
On the other hand, those who make blanket condemnations of "conspiracy theories" base their own view on a farfetched theory indeed, namely that whatever men in high office actually do, they are essentially men of goodwill.

225
Whenever the results of deeds are divorced from the deeds themselves, they lose their political character and appear to be the results of happenstance, of larger social forces and historical trends, or even of the providence of God. Although they are the consequences of political action, they will appear beyond reach of political action, since what men do not appear to have done, they appear incapable of undoing. To those who wield irresponsible political power, the advantage of hiding deeds is obvious and profound. By divorcing deeds from their results, they can produce results which serve their own interests yet bear no responsibility for them, for what appears to just happen, or what appears to issue from social and historical processes, is the specific responsibility of no man.

244
As Alexis de Tocqueville long ago observed, a despot does not care that his subjects dislike him as long as they dislike each other, for then they cannot act together and so remain impotent.


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you (4.00 / 2)
sold me, i want to read it

whatever you think people owe you, that is what you owe people

I Agree: (4.00 / 4)
It's partly outdated: his book was published in 1973, and since then our politics has been transformed by think tanks, talk radio and TV, the conservative colonization of  the serious media, PACS, and so on. I'm not sure that the Gingrich-Delay-Rove Republicans fit into the pattern described by Karp, and the fact that today's Democrats do seem to fit the pattern might be evidence that they're living in the past and still haven't figured out what hit them.

More generally, I think there's greater historical variance than Karp allows for, and more complex explanations at times.  But there's also a good deal of organizational and contextual continuity as well. Lots of old tricks still work very well.  Americas combination of geographic dispersion and ethnic diversity make this sort of game-playing much earier to pull off than might otherwise be the case.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


Further Ruminations (4.00 / 2)
I've made the point before that the last party system was anomalous in several ways.  One of them seems to be the degree to which power was exercised outside the framework of Presidential/congressional alliances, which tended to be split between parties.

Of course such a split doesn't mean that much from Karp's perspective.  But others tend to see parties as representing real material interests--primarily economic elites with a strong regional grounding. While it's fairly commonplace for local parties to work together to further their local elites' agenda, on the national level, the fortunes of those elites will be more tightly bound to one party rather than another.  And thus, for matters that require national legislation, parties really do have long-range agendas that powerful players have a role in shaping.

IMHO what happened at the end of the New Deal Party era has never been adequately analyzed--at least to my knowledge. But it involved a multi-level, multi-factor fragmentation that's been grossly oversimplified by reducing it to race, gender and the culture wars.  For example, the Democrats presided over two geographic resource shifts that undermined their own power--the industrial dispersion discussed in The Rise of the Gunbelt, and the mass suburbanization that decimated their urban base.  There was also a shift in finance that I'll be talking about later this weekend.  Overall, their massive shifts underway that the coalition was not on top of, but that were profoundly re-ordering the world.

Part of that reordering was deeply threatening to traditional power--patriarchal, white supremacist power, local elite power.  And so, at the same time that Democratic Party was fragmenting and losing control, there was this backlash developing that expressed itself in movement-building first.  This is what has transformed the GOP, and worked to exercise political power outside the normal presidential/congressional channels to a degree that's unusual in American politics.

The Dems are still functioning like traditional parties tend to do, but the Reps have been transformed by this long process of movement-building.  Of course it's hurting them now, but that structure still has an incredible stranglehold on our political system.  And the Democratic Party is simply not structured--particularly in terms of incentives--to act very coherently against the GOP, even where it would make damn good sense for them to do so in terms of consolidating their own power--a goal which I think that Karp downplays.  (I won't be too hard on him, since most simply take it for granted, and I think it's good to have a perspective that doesn't assume that.)

I'm going to chew on this some more and maybe write something about it later this weekend or next.  

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
Part of the shift in finance came from the ... (0.00 / 0)
... swing of the interests of domestic oil producers in maintaining strong economic activity with the arrival of US Peak Oil and the abandonment of the domestic oil quotas.

[ Parent ]
Agreed, but . . . (4.00 / 1)
I am wondering what someone like yourself who makes such astute analyses and brings so much clarity to the table thinks progressives ought to do about the Democratic Party.

Perhaps I have missed your recommendations in earlier posts. If so, could you give me a thumb nail sketch of what you are proposing?

Also, do you agree or disagree with the research that has identified the emergence of a progressive majority of voters?

The following five organizations have conducted such research and concluded that such a majority is emerging: Campaign for America's Future, the Center for American Progress, Change to Win and the New Politics Institute.

If you disagree, how do you propose that progressives should relate to the Democratic Party in terms of getting progressive candidates elected, given that you believe they represent a minority of the electorate?

If you agree, same question, how do you propose that the emerging progressive majority of voters, progressive activists and progressive candidates relate to the Democratic Party?

What is the best strategy for them to get progressive candidates elected, especially since analysts like David Sirota are finding evidence that Obama is continuing to use his political clout to prevent insurgent progressive candidates from winning primaries, and possibly combine it with the Democratic Party's organizational apparatus and corporate fund-raising capabilities to try to prevent or delay the emerging progressive majority's takeover of government.

BTW, I have almost completed the first draft of the "Progressive Voter's Guide to Building Winning Voting Blocs and Political Parties".

It explains how progressive activists and voters can use the Interactive Voter Choice System to work inside or outside the two major political parties to get progressive candidates elected.

If any Open Left readers are willing to read the draft and give me input and feedback, I would be very appreciative. Just shoot me an email. I will post the draft online on one of my websites.

Nancy Bordier is the author of Re-Inventing Democracy: How U.S. Voters Can Get Control of Government and Restore Popular Sovereignty in America. The book can be read free online by clicking here.

A prototype website illustrating how the Interactive Voter Choice System works can be accessed at Citizens Winning Hands.


What progressives should do (4.00 / 4)
First of all, progressives should withhold support from state and local Democratic parties and channel their time and energy though progress groups and direct everythign specifically to progressive candidates.

Second, there should be more progressives, and they should work together. One weakness of progressive politics is that there are a lot of vaguely progressive people, but that they aren't politically active and often have only vague ideas about what they want. So outreach, organization, and education are the main thing.

Third, progressives should run in elections which they think they can win. By and large 5%-25% "moral victories" don't lead to anything bigger. People should start from the bottom up (school board, legislature). If you can't elect a chool board member, you can't elect a legislator, if you can't elect a legislator, you can't elect a Senator, and if you can't elect a Senator, you can't elect a President.

I think that progressives mostly work through the primary system and the Democratic Party, though in some places state third parties might work. at this point a national third party would accomplish nothing whatsoever and would just be an enormous energy drain. When you work through the primary system, you're working against the party bureaucracy and bosses, and you'll have to fund yourself independently and recruit volunteers independently. Even if a progressive wins the Democratic nomination, he shouldn't expect any support from the party.  


[ Parent ]
Thanks, but what is your answer (0.00 / 0)
to the question I asked about the research demonstrating the emergence of a progressive majority of voters?


[ Parent ]
What's your question? (4.00 / 2)
OK, a progressive majority might be emerging, but that kind of prediction is very fragile and can be overturned by events. Chester Bowles' "The Coming Political Breakthrough"(1959) made a lot of sense at the time, but everything exploded in 1968.

Progressives should do whatever they can to recruit people into the progressive cause and organize them into effective political campaigns. That's not going to change just because demographics are going in a favorable direction. None of those people are automatic progressives.


[ Parent ]
Progressive candidates from which political party? (0.00 / 0)
First of all, progressives should withhold support from state and local Democratic parties and channel their time and energy though progress groups and direct everythign [sic] specifically to progressive candidates.

There sure as hell aren't enough within the Democratic Party to support.



[ Parent ]
If you sit on your fat ass and wait for one, you'll never see a progressive candidate for anything (4.00 / 3)
I'm proposing that we use the primary system to nominate progressives, starting in the lower levels and working up.

The real problem with all these plans is that there aren't enough active, committed progressives. The third party fantasy is that if a progressive is on the ballot, voters will flock to him or her. But it doesn't work that way. Just getting a name on the ballot is worth 1-3% of the vote. Building a big movement comes first.  


[ Parent ]
With all due respect (4.00 / 1)
is the tone of this response to Michael as becoming as it should be to someone of your erudition, experience and dedication to the progressive cause?

I think your contribution to Open Left is enormous and there are many issues that you have raised that I would like to discuss in comments.

But at times I am a bit intimidated by responses like the above.

Am I being oversensitive?


[ Parent ]
You're not being over-sensitive. (4.00 / 1)
There is extreme hostility among Democratic Partisans against even the hint of third parties as a means of building political movements.  As Mr. Emerson points out, third parties threaten the status quo because they have the potential to shift power from the higher-ups to the grassroots activists.  No, third parties won't rise to prominence in today's political climate, but just as in 1912, 1932, and 1992, they can force one or both of the major ones to adopt certain positions important to certain blocs of voters - and that has the effect of causing precisely the sort of power shift feared by the establishment.



[ Parent ]
I take it you mean, if we sit on our fat asses, ... (4.00 / 1)
... we'll never see a progressive candidate for anything.

At least, that would be a more politic way of putting it.

There's no angle in discouraging or waste time arguing with those who are willing to start putting in the hard yards to build (a/some) third party (parties). Indeed, especially in open primary states, they may be viewed as a potential bloc of voters to woo to swing a particular contest.

If the third party takes advantage of that to focus their own efforts in a different contest in a neighboring ward / state district / district against a more establishment Democratic candidate, well, that's only natural.


[ Parent ]
Ask yourself why there don't seem to be "enough active, committed progressives." (4.00 / 1)
The answer is in the image contained within my signature.  Progressives are used, abused, marginalized, and ignored by Democrats, especially during elections.  Sooner or later, people get fed up and either leave the party or give up on politics altogether.

What fantasy do you speak of?  If you look at the real history of third parties, they have drawn enough voters from the major ones to force ideological shifts.  It's never been about trying to overthrow the two-party system, rather, it has been about reshaping it.  How do you propose to build any movement in politics without a foundation on which to build it?  As the Working Families Party in New York and the Progressive Party in Vermont and Washington attest, it is quite possible to use third parties to help build the movement.  You're taking too much of Mr. Rosenberg's pessimistic dismissal (which, let's be honest, isn't based on facts so much as horrendous spin thereof).



[ Parent ]
Thank you, John (4.00 / 1)
This kind of clarity is both rare and indispensable. In my opinion, your diaries -- and your comments -- are near the top of the list of features which make OpenLeft such an oasis in our vast wasteland.

I can't tell how glad I am that you, and others like you, are around these days.


Move Over, Machiavelli (0.00 / 0)
There's a new man in town. And one with a lot of observations that I and the rest of us have had after watching the Dems over the past 20 years.

I would encourage liberal cross-posting on other blogs; I think this needs to get as much daylight as possible.

Look out now! The grassroots is growing up, LOL.


Democratic priorities (4.00 / 1)
This reminded me of an interesting post by Brian Beutler over at TPMDC, about why Democratic leaders cling to minority rule:

[...] Democratic leaders, who see the reconciliation process as a tool last resort, and a dangerous one at that [...] [which] would steer U.S. politics on to a course so fraught and unpredictable that the consequences could outstrip the substantive gains they'd make by passing a comprehensive health care bill.

[...]

Why is there such hesitancy in the Senate to go all the way in reconciliation? Because if the majority party begins passing whatever it wants in reconciliation bills, it would significantly undermine the power of Senate elders.


(Emphasis added.)

Fraught! Unpredictable! Heavens!  

not everything worth doing is profitable. not everything profitable is worth doing.


Recently I've concluded..... (4.00 / 2)
that the effect of all the House and Senate rules is completely negative. It makes influence-peddling easy and popular legislation impossible, and it enables a handful of high-ranking Congressmen to control the process behind the scenes.

Democrats support these rules as much as Republicans, partly because they're equally corrupt and palying the same game, and partly because they're equally afraid of and hostile to the least trace of direct democracy.

The Constitution put many impediments in the way of direct democracy. They're enough; we don't need the additional impediments provided by the party system and the congressional rules of procedure.



[ Parent ]
I Don't Think The Dems Are As Bad As The Reps (4.00 / 1)
It's just that the difference is not enough to make a difference.

Not now, at least.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
Not all of them (4.00 / 1)
I've never done a survey and really wouldn't be able to, but there must be 50-100 pretty good representatives and 5-10 pretty good Senators.

And there are individual issues that the Democrats collectively are good on. But not enough of them.

Of course, as I've hinted here and there and plan to write about maybe next week, the real problem is that progressives are only beginning to do the things they need to do if we want to be a serious factor in the Democratic party.

If we succeed in kicking Rahm's ass, then he might start liking us. (Might. No promises.) He's probably not a bad guy as a matter of firm principle, he just doesn't respect us much because we don't bring enough to the game.  


[ Parent ]
A Bit (0.00 / 0)
is defined as a "difference that makes a difference."

I was just wonking out a bit.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
A bully doesn't respect anyone who doesn't kick him in the huevos... (4.00 / 3)
Terrific post, by the way. This is a theme which needs to be driven home, so to speak.

If the CPC all collectively declined to take calls from him and his office and bounced his emails back, including staffers, it might change the dynamic a bit. If a hundred Dems did that, he would not last too much longer in his job.

Just boycott the MoFo and tell the WH, "Look, you're only going to work against us in the next election cycle anyway and all you ever do is threaten us, so there's nothing in it for us to be nice to you. Don't call us, we'll call you. Have a nice day."

There is power in the word "NO." Sure, it's unrealistic, but one would hope they might get tired of being abused. Me, I don't think I would last one week before bouncing his friggin' emails back and being permanently "busy" (including staff) when his office calls. Just call him Spam Emanuel on the cocktail circuit.

Power is eroded when people won't even talk to you.

"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly." -Woody Allen, My Speech to the Graduates


[ Parent ]
Quite Right (4.00 / 1)
They've made it quite clear 6that all they understand is sticks.

So act accordingly.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
So what solution do you propose? (0.00 / 0)
Trying to build a progressive movement without a foundation is a recipe for failure.  Every time a third party has gotten enough votes to make a significant impact upon electoral outcomes, the major political institutions have had to alter their platforms so as to woo the disaffected voting bloc.  History proves this, as you well know.  So what do you propose to do about the current situation?  Keeping progressives divided up into tiny pockets, never being able to affect anything beyond the local level, won't work.



[ Parent ]
About conspiracy theories and 9-11 (2.00 / 2)
I don't think it was a conspiracy. I do think that the glimmer of an idea occurred to someone(s) from hearing that Bin Laden was going to do something within our borders. I think the refusal to hear any more about danger from Clark was deliberate. Anything like that could only strengthen their political position and help Bush who had spent a lot of time in his early presidency chainsawing in Texas.

I do remember seeing him on CNN at an airport with lots of noise in the background. He was drowned out and really had nothing to say but was saying it anyway. It was sad and the last time I felt embarrassed and sad for him.

At that time I think he was headed for one term. But 9-11 changed all that and gave him a raison d'etre that fit.

One thing wrong with stealing is that after it is done a number of times, it changes the perception of the stealer. From then on it is always obvious to the stealer that now, here, or there I could steal x,y, or z. The environment can be seen as favorable for stealing or not.

Reading Mailer's Oswald it became obvious to me that he was in the Texas Book Depository because a Quaker woman had befriended his wife Marina. She got him the job. Right away it became the route for JFK's motorcade. The other people up there were talking about his going by right down below us, boys! And Oswald, who had tried to shoot General Walker and missed by a fluke, and gotten clean away, must have had the idea swim up like a fish (Sylvia Plath's metaphor for the idea of suicide in a suggestive environment such as a ski slope and big trees on the downhill) that he would have a good shot at JFK. And a chance to change history or be someone or whatever. JFK would be there, he would be there, and the universe seemed to have put the scene there for it to happen.

This is not to say he wasn't whispered to or informally influenced by secretive others. But it was sort of like a movie opportunity. So he took it. That's not to say there weren't others on the grassy knoll and the two probably didn't know about each other, if there were two, which I don't want to get into.

So the info about these terrorists was never coordinated but someone, perhaps Cheney, was not missing them but decided to let fate take its way. That if an attack was successful, it could only help them. If it didn't, then so be it. So they had no reason to focus on it and investigate it and stop it. They would not let themselves be held accountable, and would use it for all it was worth.


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