"Shallow Throat": Wounded, Cornered Animals Are Dangerous
By Bernard Weiner, The Crisis Papers
After Mark Felt unmasked himself as "Deep Throat," I immediately tried to
contact our contemporary GOP mole, "Shallow Throat," inside the Bush
Administration, the one who had fed us numerous tips many times before.* But I received no
response from the former White House official, currently at another
A few nights ago, we finally met again, in a Bethesda pub. Shallow Throat was
wearing a new wig -- and, even in this dimly-lit location, wraparound shades
-- and seemed more nervous than usual.
"Sorry I couldn't get back to you more quickly, Bernie," said ST, "but I had
to wait until the Deep Throat frenzy cooled a bit at work. You saw how
rightwing pundits attacked Felt as a 'traitor' and said he'd been 'disloyal' to the
President. I figured I'd better keep my head down in this paranoid, vicious
Bush administration -- one that makes Nixon's felonies seem like Boy Scout
"So why are you here now?" I asked. "Clearly, something must be on your mind."
"I'm willing to take the chance because I want your liberal Democrat and
moderate Republican friends to know that though the Bush higher-ups are running
around like crazed rats in a cage right now, they are prepared to pull out all
the stops. You guys better get ready."
"How about speaking plain English?" I said. "Just tell me what's going on,
without all the ambiguous phraseology."
BEWARE OF WOUNDED, CORNERED BEASTS
Shallow Throat took a big breath. "The real world is crashing in on them and
the only way they know how to respond is threatening and bullying again, and
unleashing big events to divert the public's and media's focus.
"They know their old way isn't working anymore -- the recent polls have been
absolutely horrific for them, and they're going to get worse -- but they don't
know what to do to turn their fortunes around. They are psychologically and
ideologically incapable of admitting that they might have made strategic
errors, and Bush believes himself God's representative on earth, so not much room
for self-doubt and change there. In short, they've painted themselves into their
own self-destructive corner.
"In short, the Bushies are vulnerable -- that's what I'm trying to tell you!
Go get 'em! But beware: cornered, wounded animals are extremely dangerous."
"Where do we 'get' them? How?" I shot back.
"Go for their weaknesses, obviously, but also take a lesson from Karl Rove:
Go for their strengths as well. I'll get to how in a minute, but let's look at
their weaknesses first.
"Where are they falling most quickly in the polls? Social Security. The Iraq
disaster. The lies that led us into that war, which the Downing Street memos
verify. Their overreaching in the Terry Schiavo-family situation, and the whole
political thrust of the fundamentalists. The sluggish economy and poor
jobs-growth. Oil prices. The outrageous cost of health care. And so on.
"Their perceived strengths: 'The War on Terror.' National security. 'Moral
values.' Their fundamentalist base. Bush's 'you-know-where-I-stand' attitude of
manly strength. Their control of Congress. And so on."
"OK," I replied, "we all know that. What should we do?"
REMEMBER TO CONNECT THE DOTS
Shallow Throat took a long slug of Dos XX. "For starters, don't forget always
to connect the two lists. Demonstrate how, for example, in Iraq and the
Islamic world in general, Bush's war/torture policies make Americans less safe
rather than more safe, more a target for attack by terrorists. Certainly they make
our soldiers less safe in Iraq and maybe Syria or Iran next. Iraq is, and
Syria and Iran would be, a war for no good reason except to help neo-con
ideologues, most of whom studiously avoided having to go fight in any U.S. battle,
experiment with their ivory-tower theories of changing the Middle East by bayonet
"Another example: Given the fluctuations of the economy, and the ups and
downs of the Stock Market, most people want the certainty offered by Social
Security; Bush is still peddling his plans that would, over time, decimate and then
eviscerate Social Security. Don't back off; keep highlighting his reckless
approach, and tie that in to what his 'you-know-where-I-stand' mantra really mea
ns these days: that he's stubborn as a mule and will do even more damage to the
middle-class and American society in general unless he is forced to change
"Earlier, you mentioned the Downing Street Memos," I said. "Should we
liberals and our moderate conservative friends focus on getting the DSM facts out
"You guys are missing the point," said Shallow Throat. "Rove has conditioned
the public to accept anything the Administration does, even if it violates the
Constitution and international law, as long as it seems to be protecting
America from another terrorist attack. Invading and occupying Iraq? Torture of
Muslims in our name? A majority of Americans seem willing to accept all that for
their supposed safety.
FOLLOW THE COVERUP
"Follow the coverup. Time and time again, the Administration has broken laws
and good-faith with the American people and gone outside the Constitution in
concealing both aspects of the war and the torture protocols. That's where they
are vulnerable. Locate evidence of those illegalities, in the DSM and
domestic sources, and how they've been covered up; reveal and repeat those to the
American people. They didn't want to hear much of this evidence three years ago,
but they're ripe for it now.
"For example, at least six months before Bush received authorization from
Congress to make war on Iraq, he was already making war on Iraq; further, the
U.S. never received a final vote from the U.N. Security Council to authorize war.
There were some reports at the time that major bombing of Iraq was going on
before Congress gave Bush authority to wage war, but now the British memos
verify that very fact in top-secret government documents, and that the British
knew such bombing was illegal. Use those facts, and others revealed in the U.K.
memos. And so on.
"In other words, you can use the DSM to help document the illegalities and as
proof that what you've been saying about the lies and deceptions is true; but
remember to follow the coverup, and to connect anything discovered to how
such illegalities, and lack of realistic thinking, endanger our national
security, and our trust in our government.
"For example, yet another GOP heavy, Senator Chuck Hagel, like U.S. military
officers in Iraq, is incensed by Cheney's rosy-eyed assertions that the
insurgents there are in their 'last throes.' Hagel said: 'Things aren't getting
better; they're getting worse. The White House is completely disconnected from
reality. It's like they're just making it up as they go along. The reality is
that we're losing in Iraq'."
"And you think," I said, "that the same approach -- concentrating on the
illegalities and policies disconnected from reality -- can be used with regard to
the Administration's policy of torture and violations of the Constitution? And
that the American people will be upset by all these misbehaviors to the point
of -- what? Impeachment?"
"Look at the poll numbers, my friend," ST replied. "The American public is
fast giving up on the Iraq War, and want their young soldiers back home. As for
what Bush&Co. are doing to the Constitution, look at the successful House
action taking a swipe at one section of the Patriot Act. Bush&crew wanted the
whole act passed, as is, and the GOP-led House refused to go along; the civil
rights Right/Left coalition held. In short, even Congress is beginning to sense
the Administration's vulnerability in this second term, and has challenged Bush
on everything from the Patriot Act to stem-cell research to a veto threat on a
"And they might even act on Bush's blatant grab for even more power. Most
Americans, for example, do not realize that Bush has been given the legal
instruments to rule as a dictator outside the Constitution, and in some instances is
doing so. The legal boys in the Administration have asserted that the
President, when acting as 'commander-in-chief' in 'wartime,' can take whatever action
he deems necessary, at home or abroad. If the President orders it, it's ipso
facto legal. Nixon tried that during Watergate, and the Supreme Court shot him
down big-time. A year ago, the Supreme Court, in clear language, told Bush
that while a President has great leeway during 'wartime,' he cannot go beyond
certain Constitutional boundaries, but Bush just continues to ignore their
ruling, and finds new ways to do what he wants to do. Hammer away on that issue!
"Similarly, the Administration told Congress the other day that those
suspected of being terrorists can be held, without charge, 'in perpetuity' at prisons
not covered by any Constitutional, or Geneva Convention, protections. How
would we feel if a foreign government held Americans 'in perpetuity' without ever
charging them with any crime?
GETTING TO THE TIPPING POINT
"Under Bush, America is turning into a police-state, including U.S. citizens
being disappeared into military prisons, without contact with a lawyer to help
them. This includes suspected terrorists moved in and out of U.S. prisons as
'ghosts,' never registered, preventing the International Red Cross from making
sure they aren't being maltreated. How would we feel if foreign governments
treated American prisoners this way? Or if young American men and women were
'rendered' to countries where they would be tortured in the extreme, which the
Bush Administration currently does to foreign prisoners it holds?
"Add all those, and more, together and, at some tipping point, impeachment
may suddenly have enough critical-mass momentum behind it -- perhaps when
corporate execs and worried GOP legislators decide that the guy they've supported
all these years has to be cut loose in order for GOP conservatives to continue
to win elections, hold power, and make money.
"But," I said, "how to build that critical mass, increase that momentum?"
"Imitate Rove: He never stops being on the offensive. Have your big hitters
strike back at Bush&Co. recklessness and incompetence every time they say or do
something foolish or dangerous. Keep pointing out with proof how they're
destroying our freedoms domestically, and that their military adventures abroad
are endangering our vital national interests, and how the two are connected.
"Show how their fealty to America's homegrown Taliban extremists of the
fundamentalist right is leading to a theocratic mentality at the top -- the Schiavo
case, with the Bushies sticking their noses into a highly personal family
tragedy, shows how far they're willing to go to legislate 'moral behavior' for
everyone. Show how their unholy alliances with large corporations, especially
the pharmaceuticals and HMOs, are strangling health care for the middle-class
and poor, and jacking up costs way beyond anything reasonable. Demonstrate how,
even though their forces already control most of the TV/radio mass-media, they
want PBS/NPR also in their fold -- and how dangerous it is to permit one
party to control the organs of mass-communication. 'Power tends to corrupt and
absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely' and all that.
NOTHING CHANGES UNLESS VOTES ARE HONEST
"Finally, and then I've got to run: Fair-minded citizens must come to
understand that unless the voting system in this country is taken out of the hands of
the GOP corporate giants who control the software that counts the votes,
we'll be living in a rigid one-party state for a long, long time. The only way to
save our democratic republic is to use paper ballots, hand-counted; many
modern countries do it, France and Canada among them, and there's no good reason,
other than corruption and power-hunger, not to do it here. You could build up
all the winning impeachment momentum you want in the run-up to the 2006 midterm
election, but unless the votes are counted accurately -- and are
transparently accepted as honest -- you might as well stay home.
"So keep pushing back, keep putting their feet to the fire, keep the
intensity building. The pressure-cooker steam is building in Bushville, and we can
anticipate it will blow sometime in the near future. The only danger is that it
will blow all over everyone -- in the U.S., in Iraq, in Syria, in Iran,
wherever -- and take us all down with them. That's the challenge. Go get 'em!"
And with that, Shallow Throat slid out of the booth, and headed out into the
night, at a brisk pace. I took my tape-recorder and headed back to my office,
to type up these notes. I found myself smiling while doing so. #
Bernard Weiner, formerly a writer-editor with the San Francisco Chronicle,
has recorded a good many imagined conversations with Shallow Throat*�(
www.crisispapers.org/weinerpubs.htm ). A Ph.D. in government & international relations,
he has taught at numerous universities, and currently co-edits The Crisis
Papers ( www.crisispapers.org ).
Originally published at The Crisis Papers and Democratic Underground 6/21/05.
Copyright 2005, by Bernard Weiner.