By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
WASHINGTON, D.C.There were lines stretching around the block here half an hour before the polls opened at seven a.m. By nine the streets were filled with people sporting "I voted" signs. Washington will probably go overwhelmingly to Kerry, although it's more than possible that both Kerry and Bush could lose to, believe it or not, Ralph Nader, who ran strong here in 2000.
For most people in Washington the election means another changing of chairs in the Permanent Government. But with a difference: Many civil servants say life has never been so bad, and are shopping their resumes with private business. The heavy-handed political slant of Bush's people makes their work as bureaucrats just too difficult to bear for another four years.
By breakfast, insiders here had dropped the election, and moved on to William Rehquist's apparently incurable and fast-growing thyroid cancer. The big question is, how long does he have to live? Will he quit the court? If so, when? If Bush wins, the conservatives can breath a sigh of relief. So long as Rehnquist lives, they'll have time to choose another conservative to replace him.
With Kerry, they face a nightmarish scenario. For years after Democrats beat Robert Bork out of a court seat, the right-wingers have dreamed of the time they could get a pure strain of Godly conservatives in a solid majority within the Supreme Court, along with an additional array of right-wingers on the federal bench. If Bush loses, they'll be back bitching and moaning about socialists and atheists running the court.
Bush slime never sleeps. With hours to go before the polls opened, Dick Cheney, fresh from a campaigning blitz in Hawaii, called John Kerry a pig. "He's trying every which way to cover up his record of weakness on national defense. But he can't do it. It won't work," Cheney said. "As we like to say in Wyoming, you can put all the lipstick you want on that pig, but at the end of the day, it's still a pig."
Then there was the hapless L. Paul "Jerry" Bremer, our recently retired proconsul to Iraq, kissing Bush's ass on the Today Show. He just had to put his two cents in about the tons of high explosives apparently slipping through the hands of the American military right after the invasion. Yesterday on the Today Show, Matt Lauer played a videotape that put the explosives at the Al Qaqaa site on April 18, 2003. "Does it prove, in your opinion, that these munitions disappeared after U.S. forces should have been guarding them?" Lauer asked.
"No," said Bremer. "I think the most important thing to keep in mind here is we just don't know what the facts are."
So what are the facts?
"Well, let's start with the facts on the ground. Unlike most of the people talking about this story, I actually was in Iraq at the time. And I can tell you there was basically no traffic moving on any of the streets except American military traffic. Moving 380 tons of explosives would have taken dozens, maybe scores of trucks. That kind of activity we would have noticed . . . And apparently there are no reports of [anyone] having seen that kind of activity."
But the Washington Post reports this morning that Bremer arrived in Iraq on May 12, 2003, almost a month after the explosives are shown in the video. Maybe he was dreaming.