Friday, October 27, 2006

One for the Other Thumb

2006 World Series Champions!

Tigers - 2
Cards - 4 FINAL

St. Louis WINS 2006 World Series 4-1

The St. Louis Cardinals wrapped up their National League best 10th World Series title tonight with lights-out pitching, 2-out hitting and the federally-mandated throwing error by a Tiger pitcher.

The Real Story

How WRONG were all the experts? The word at the outset of this series was "Tigers in 3". The Cardinals were cast as a weak pitching team with a one-man offensive show, an injured group of core players and a shaky bullpen. They would wilt under the Tiger assault according to conventional "wisdom".

A funny thing happened on the way to the Tiger coronation.

As I mentioned before this series began, this series came down to a battle of nerves and the team with the nerve to stare into the face of World Series pressure without flinching would prevail. The deciding factor was the Cardinals' experience. In 2004 a far more loaded 105-win Cardinal team experienced the worst of World Series collapses vs Boston. They'd suffered through it, survived it and made it back to the show in 2006. They were the tougher team mentally because of it.

Dream Weaver

Jeff Weaver is born-again hard. This is not the same guy I saw pitch for the Dodgers against the Cardinals in the 2004 NLDS and literally melt down under the pressure. This Jeff Weaver could watch Chris Duncan make two potentially fatal Curly Joe plays in right field -- plays that would have broken the old Jeff Weaver -- shake it off, bear down and get out of the inning with the lead and eventually the win. That was pitching. That was will. Check out the line:

8 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 9 K

Carpenteresque. Great job by a much-maligned man on a mission to stick it to the team that bad-mouthed him for years. Congratulations to him.

Pressure cooker

A lot will be made of the Tigers many errors and lapses in the series. The 8 team errors, 5 by pitchers in each game, were unprecedented. But what must be remembered is that their errors were borne of the pressure the Cardinals put on them. Leadoff doubles, well-executed sacrifices, numerous situations with runners in scoring position, 2nd & 3rd, bases loaded with less than 2 outs, hard-hit balls and the stress of being shut down offensively combined to crack the Tigers' will and shake their confidence. There are no errant throws by pitchers without runners on base to press the issue. The Cards did all of this, mind you, with an uncharacteristically scant offensive contribution from the one-man gang, Albert Pujols. In this series, the Tigers thought they could win but the Cardinals knew they could. Experience and heart won out.

The Rundown

In Game #2 Anthony Reyes came out and showed that this Tiger line-up wasn't as scary as advertised. It could be pitched to. Reyes did just that stole home-field advantage from Detroit. Even in Game #2, the game the Cards lost, Weaver pitched well in defeat but was out-dueled by a red-hot Kenny Rogers, who'd apparently prepared for his start by hugging Tony Snow's tar baby.

Then came the lockdown. Chris Carpenter pitches brilliantly Game #3 and cruises to a 5-0 win to take command of the series. Jeff Suppan bends but doesn't break to keep the Cardinals close enough to take a come-from-behind win in Game #4, setting up Weaver's Game #5, series clinching masterpiece.

Go crazy, folks!

Game balls:

David Eckstien earned the series MVP award by turning up the heat in the last 3 games and stroking the big hits in prime time.

Yadier Molina for being "that guy", the "it" guy, coming from nowhere to perform as the Redbirds' most reliable hitter throughout the post-season. He takes his place among the great "it" guys of World Series history as noted in my previous post.

Adam Wainwright is a grown man. This kid wasn't even supposed to make the roster this year but he pitched his way into the bullpen and moved up the ladder all season long making great major league hitters look like head-slapping idiots repeatedly. The way he grew into the closer's role on an emergency basis was one of the most impressive transformations I've ever seen. What a starting rotation we'll have next year when this guy steps in with Reyes, Weaver, Carpenter and whichever veterans the Cardinals retain and/or acquire in the offseason. This experience will be invaluable.

Tony LaRussa actually earned the "genius" label this year. Towards the end of the year his every move came up roses.

The Bullpen emerged from the dead to pitch light's out ball for the entire postseason. Guys who looked shaky going to the playoffs showed up like seasoned veterans. In addition to Wainwright, Tyler Johnson, Josh Kinney, Randy Flores and Braden Looper came through with flying colors. Great job!

This one makes up for the 2004 October catastrophe. For me the 2004 season is finally over. After two consecutive season of being the best team in baseball only to be foiled by a wild card team the word was the Cards would fall short again. Their roughtly 290 wins over 3 season were to go to waste. But they got into the post-season with the worst record in the playoffs and won it all.

That's poetic.

It's just.

It's the 10th World Series title.

One for the other thumb.

Best Fan Sign: "Hit it to the pitcher!" LOL!


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Game 3 Underway

Chris Carpenter looks sharp early. Tiger fans overconfident. Good signs...


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Jeff Weaver Returns to Detroit

Tigers closer Todd Jones was kind enough to provide all the bulletin board material we could hope for:

"I am the wrong guy to ask about Jeff Weaver... I am not a big advocate of his, and I wasn't a big advocate of his when he was here... He was a good pitcher who never really panned out here. Maybe he found a home in St. Louis, but there's no love lost here [now] that he's gone."
Thanks, Todd.

Weaver for his part, when told of the comments during his press availability responded, "I've got nothing but good things to say about him."

Good answer. Play ball!

Game #2 will be soggy. Jeff Weaver is coming... NEXT!


Saturday, October 21, 2006

Reyes of Light

2006 World Series
Beertown vs Motown
The Drunk Driving Series
Game #1

Cards - 7
Tigers - 1 FINAL

Cardinals lead series 1-0

Wow, I stopped just short of calling the hell out of this one.

For those keeping score at home, THAT was the Anthony Reyes the Cardinals had tabbed as their top pitching prospect going into spring training. THAT was the Anthony Reyes who one-hit the White Sox and filled in so admirably early in the season. Strange delivery, goofy socks, flat-billed cap and nasty stuff. This experience is going to do wonders for this kid's confidence and helps set him up nicely to move into the rotation next season.

In other news, how long did anyone think Albert Pujols was going to go without driving in runs? Talk about a guy being due. Ditto Scott Rolen, helping the Cardinals bounce right back after Detroit took the early lead with that timely solo bomb in the 2nd. This was the St. Louis Cardinals of '04, '05 and the first half of '06. The imposters of August and September have vanished (thank goodness). Very exciting stuff.

Game #2 tomorrow: Jeff Weaver returns to Detroit...

Update 10/22/2006 6:11pm: I forgot to add, in my earlier post before this game I mentioned how I thought Game #1 could boil down to a contest of nerves. Well, in the first round the Tigers definitely looked like a nervous, rattled team. Maybe they'll shake it off in Game #2 but, either way, the difference in post-season experience showed in this game.


Beertown vs Motown: The Drunk Driving Series

Every year there is a lame-0 mayoral or gubernatorial wager that is staged between the competing cities in major sports championships like the World Series. Another annual ritual is the naming of the series with something catchy symbolizing both cities. For example, the Mets and Yankees had the "Subway Series", the Cardinals and Royals had the "I-70 Series" and so forth. For this year's World Series I humbly suggest the moniker, "The Drunk Driving Series". To inaugurate it, we can have the Mayor of St. Louis can put up a cold one and Detroit's mayor can wager a Chrysler Pacifica.

They can partake of the spoils and hit the road...

...a winding mountain road... the ones in the car commercials.

That sounds fair to me.

It's a rookie face-off tonight. Anthony Reyes of the Cardinals vs Justin Verlander of the Tigers. We all know what Verlander can do: 100+ MPH fastball, a change-up, good breaking curveball. Reyes doesn't come with that kind of heat but his change-up is nasty when it's on and he's shown himself to be a strikeout pitcher.

Reyes has been pitching the second half of this season with what is being called a "tired arm", but the good news for the Cardinals is that he's only pitched once this month. That outing in Game 4 of the NLCS was shaky. He struggled with his command. But he surrendered only two runs in just under 5 innings. It could be that the outing helped him shake the rust off after a long rest and he could be sharper today.

If that's the case and he shows up as the Anthony Reyes of the first half of the season he's capable of matching Verlander pitch-for-pitch. He pitched a one-hitter against a tough White Sox club in June but took the loss in tough luck, 1-0. If he turns in that kind of performance the game will come down to a battle of nerves between the two teams with the Cardinals holding the lion's share of postseason and World Series experience and a lot less of the pressure, being widely regarded as huge underdogs this time around.

I'm not predicting the upset in this game. Just don't be surprised if it happens.

Game #1 of the 2006 World Series is coming up... NEXT!


Sup'd Up!

National League Championship Series:

Cards - 3
Mets - 1 FINAL

Cardinals win NLCS 4-3

What can I say about Jeff Suppan? The man is money in the postseason. I can forget about how he gets tagged in April, May and June. Come July, the man is on the money. By postseason he's incredible. They've got to re-sign this guy. Find a way to keep him around. A guy who pitches like this in the big time situations is priceless. He's the anti-Marquis.

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Molina's lightning bolt against a drizzly Queens night stunned a crowd of 56,357 but didn't come in time to make a winning pitcher of series MVP Jeff Suppan for his seven-plus innings of two-hit ball. It didn't have to. Suppan already had established himself as an October rock by starting the Cardinals' third clinching victory in three years.

"I never thought I'd be in a situation like this," said Suppan, who has risen from an "innings eater" to a certified big-game pitcher in three years with this current team...


Suppan, a guy who reached the Cardinals via free agency three Decembers ago as a 62-75 pitcher, dueled for six innings with enigmatic lefthander Oliver Perez, a Pittsburgh Pirates castoff deemed too excitable and too much an injury risk to ever match his sizable potential.

The Mets reached him for a 1-0 lead with two outs in the first inning.

Beltran beat left fielder Preston Wilson's throw for a two-out double. Suppan then walked cleanup hitter Carlos Delgado for the first of three times before third baseman David Wright flared a single short of right fielder Juan Encarnacion.

The Cardinals' first chance came after Edmonds led off the second inning with a single. Advanced to third base by Molina's parachute single to left, Edmonds was in position to score when No. 8 hitter Ronnie Belliard perfectly executed a safety squeeze on a high fastball.

There the game froze as Suppan didn't allow another hit before being lifted in the eighth inning.

The Mets loaded the bases with one out in the sixth when Delgado walked, Rolen threw wildly into the first-base stands on Wright's ground ball and right fielder Shawn Green was walked intentionally.

Adopting a soft, softer, softest approach, Suppan struck out second baseman Jose Valentin as his velocity decelerated through the at-bat. Chavez, poised to join New York's line of October icons, instead ended the threat with a fly ball to center field.

Thursday's performance left Suppan with one run allowed in 15 innings this series. In five NLCS starts for the Cardinals, Suppan has allowed six earned runs in 32 innings for a 1.69 ERA.


And then there's the poetic justice. This frozen moment:

Now, I ask you, what's better than that? Carlos Beltran has been killing us in the postseason for years now. It's like he's Godzilla and Cardinal pitching is Japan. I hated seeing him come to the plate in that situation but now, given the way it worked out, I'd wouldn't have had it any other way. That was PERFECT!

PS - Adam Wainwright is a beast.

PPS - And, like Jeff Suppan, Cards catcher Yadier Molina is the "It Guy". He's that guy, the one who comes from out of nowhere to dominate the postseason. Other "It Guys" from past years include Mark Lemke of the Atlanta Braves of the early '90s, Jim Leyritz of the San Diego Padres & NY Yankees in the mid-90s, Mickey Hatcher of the Los Angeles Dodger in 1988 and Billy Hatcher of the Cincinnati Reds in 1990.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Good Carpenter, No Wood


Cards - 2
Mets - 4

The Cardinals mostly got what they needed from their ace, Chris Carpenter, but were let down by their bats. Two wasted opportunities early sandwiched around a solo-shot by Jose Reyes to lead off the bottom of the first were the first several bad omens for the Cards. Carpenter left the game having surrendered only two runs but the Cardinals had none on the board despite putting runners in scoring position with less than 2 outs twice in the early innings. Having found ways not to score in those situation they found themselves pressing to compensate the rest of the way.

This was, without a doubt, the game the Cards wanted to win rather than extend it to a do-or-die Game 7 on the road. However, if I had to face a Game 7 I'd like to face it with the matchup we have tonight.

It'll be a tough game and Jeff Suppan tends to be less effective on the road. Still, in light of his late-season and post-season history, the Cardinals have to feel better about relying on him in this situation than the Mets feel about Oliver Perez. Despite the hype and his Game 4 win, Perez was not impressive in his first outing at the new Busch. He gave up 5 runs in just over 5 innings but benefited from the batting practice session tossed by some members of the Cards bullpen that day. His job was reduced to holding the Cardinals short of 12 runs which isn't exactly a high-standard.

Of course, because I said that, the bum will probably end up throwing a no-hitter... But I hope not.

Game 7 for the all the National League marbles... NEXT!


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Dream Weaver

Mets - 2
Cards - 4
Cardinals lead series 3-2

Jeff Weaver delivers again, teaming up with the bullpen to pitch the Cardinals back into the lead. His performance late in the regular season through this postseason has been as outstanding as it is utterly unexpected. What a turnaround!

If the Cards earn at least a split in NY he'll be going back to Detroit to face his old team NEW & IMPROVED!

Meanwhile, Albert Pujols goes deep, Josh Kinney and Adam Wainwright are brilliant in relief and Beltran actually makes outs. Great day!

Chris Carpenter goes for the throat... NEXT!


Monday, October 16, 2006

Stormy Monday

Game 5 of the NLCS has been postponed by rain. Now both pitchers get an additional day of rest which I can only think helps the Mets. Glavine, who pitches poorly on 3-days rest now doesn't have to.

On the flipside, Carpenter gets an extra day of rest as well. But I don't think that will make as big a difference for him as it will for Glavine.

Either way, it wont matter much if guys come out of the Cardinals' bullpen and pitch batting practice they way they did last night.

It's a good series so far. The Cardinals may have missed a great opportunity last night but the Mets are still in for a fight. The series looks like a good bet to go 7 games regardless of the outcome tomorrowt. Glavine looks like a scary matchup but at the same time the Mets can't be counting on Carpenter pitching poorly twice in a row. It could all come down who the Mets Game 7 mystery starter will be and whether Jeff Weaver can keep up his outstanding post-season.


Sunday, October 15, 2006

Black Sunday

Mets - 12
Cards - 5 Final

A missed opportunity for the Cardinals. You can't lose at home to Oliver Perez with Tom Glavine coming up next.


Saturday, October 14, 2006

Sup's Up!

Cardinals' right-hander, Jeff Suppan pitches 8 shutout innings and belts a solo HR, Spiezio is clutch again and Josh Kinney mops up in the 9th.

NY Mets - 0
Cardinals - 5 FINAL
Cardinals lead NLCS 2-1

Vindication: All the analysis before the series began portrayed the Cards as a one-man team, focusing on stopping Pujols to stop the Cardinals. After three games, Pujols has ZERO RBIs and the Cardinals lead 2-1.


The Hunt for Red October

I'm taking a little time-out from all the heaviness to engage in a little baseball-induced frivolity.

So, we meet again!

Re-live all of So Taguchi's brilliant, game-winning at-bat vs Billy Wagner that kicked off the Cards' 3-run, 9th inning rally and sent the series back to Bussssssssch tied at 1-1.

Oh-my-Gawd! He is like, So Taguchi! Like TOTALLY!


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

A Brief Note to the Media About the MLB Playoffs

The four remaining teams in the Major League Baseball playoffs are as follows:

The St. Louis Cardinals

The New York Mets

The Detroit Tigers

The Oakland Athletics

For the 2nd year in a row, the NY Yankees have been eliminated in the first round. Can we get just a little less coverage of the team that's been eliminated and a little more coverage of the teams that actually might win the World Series?
  • They didn't fire the manager for winning 97 games (Imagine that!).
  • A-Rod is a good ball-player
  • They lost because the Tigers are good
Now, listen to me very carefully. I know this may come as a shock to you so maybe you should take a seat before you read on. Here it is:

Not everyone who watches baseball is in awe of the Yankees.

There. I said it.

Got it?


There's nothing to see here so please, pretty please with sugar on top...

Enough already!

And I couldn't care less about every time "T.O." farts either. As you were.


Monday, October 09, 2006

Olbermann's Commentary on Presidential Lying

Once again, I'm late with this one. Once again, better late than never.

Keith Olbermann lays it all out...

No further commentary necessary.


Friday, October 06, 2006

Dropping the F-Bomb, Part II

The Uses of "Islamo-Fascism"

“Yes, [fascism will come to America], but we will call it ‘anti-fascism’.”
- Huey Long

Fascism Alert!There are several incarnations of the above quote floating around the internet. Another version goes "If fascism ever comes to America, it will come wrapped in an American flag." But the general idea remains the same. Fascism, if it ever showed up in our society, would cloak itself in American garb and claim to represent "freedom on the march" or something like that.

This brings me, somewhat belatedly, to my earlier discussion of the strange use of the word fascism by the Bush administration. The term they've decided to throw around, "Islamo-fascism", has almost no meaning at all on its own merits. As we have seen, even taken within the context in which they use it, it fails the sniff test miserably.

So why would they use it? Before going into the details, let's first go back a bit to clarify some of the basics.

Fascism, as it is commonly understood and defined, is a secular phenomenon more closely associated with corporatism than religion. The term was coined by the Italian philosopher, Giovanni Gentile, ghost-writing "The Doctrine of Fascism" to describe the government and philosophy of Benito Mussolini. In a passage famously misattributed to Mussolini himself Gentile wrote:

"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power".

It's pretty clear that of all the flaws we can associate with radical Islam the desire to merge state and corporate power is not one of them. The thing many radical Muslims do want to merge with government power is religion, namely Islam, not business. This is what happened in the Iranian Islamic revolution in 1979. As a result that country is now ruled by a Supreme Council comprised of powerful Shiite clerics.

Now, it can be argued that this coupling of Islam and government is why "fascism" is has been modified with the prefix "Islamo" in this new-fangled terminology. No doubt, that was clearly the thinking behind it. But the problem is that there already exists a word for this kind of governance. That word is "theocracy", a term that is never, ever associated with any known fascist regimes. Does anyone ever confuse Nazi Germany, Mussolini's Italy or Franco's Spain with a religious theocracy? The answer is no.

Words still have meaning and the word fascism refers to a specific style of governance characterized by secular, militaristic, nationalistic, xenophobic, authoritarian and often racist rhetoric, ideology and policies. Radical Islam, to the contrary, refers to a set of beliefs that are religious rather than secular; pan-Arab and pan-Muslim rather than nationalistic; multi-racial rather than racist; and multi-ethnic rather than xenophobic. The distinction is stark even if we limit our analysis to Islamic militants. It becomes even sharper if you mix in the inclusiveness of more moderate and orthodox Islamic views.

So the invented word, "Islamo-fascism", is really nothing more than a blatant contradiction in terms. The number of "Islamo-fascists" in the world is exactly equal to the number of Catholic Atheists you'll find. It's an absurdity, utter foolishness with no real meaning whatsoever.

So, again, why do they use it? Here's a hint. It's not that they're stupid. This terminology serves a few very important purposes for the Bush administration specifically, the American right more generally and many of their supporters.

The Preemptive F-bomb

First and foremost, the use of this terminology helps get the Bush Administration out in front of the issue of fascism itself. This is especially advantageous for them because as each day passes the analogy between the US in 2006 and Germany of the early 1930s becomes ever stronger. Even to them this comparison is inescapable, so much so that they've made a fetish of keeping ownership of the WWII theme, as you will see.

So, to cover up this vulnerability they have chosen to engage in a little projection. In short, they are labeling someone else, anyone else, 'fascists' before the label can be affixed to their own foreheads. So it seems, Bush's doctrine of preemption extends to rhetoric as well. By the way, if anyone doubts the plausibility of projection as a motivation, look no further than the case of Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fl) who, prior to his recent outing, was one of the most outspoken crusaders against sexual predators targeting underaged youngsters on the internet.

This projection is enabled by a media establishment that, up to this point, has faithfully shunted aside any attempt to study the authroritarian or fascistic aspects of our current government, its policies or its rhetoric. Quite to the contrary it has proven itself quite eager to promote and amplify the government's pre-packaged messages with respect to each of these. Any discussion to the contrary has been shouted down and deemed far too "shrill" or "extreme" for "serious" people to discuss. As a result, Bush's supporters have been free to scoff at the analogy for years without fear of rebuke or challenge despite the obvious corollaries. It is as if an invisible seal has been placed over the entire concept preventing even a cursory examination of it in the mainstream.

Into this void steps the Bush administration with its squadron of flying monkeys in the right-wing media. Because of the strict embargo the media has placed on the use of the term -- and the appalling timidity of the liberal and Democratic party establishment -- the Bush gang has been allowed to preemptively assume the mantle of anti-fascism as their own and, in the process, divert attention away from their own dances with the fascist devil.

"We're not fascists! We're fighting fascists!" If only it were true.

WWII Motif

By framing their policies as part of some epic, existential battle against the scourge of global "Islamo-fascism" the Bush administration also hopes to create an alternative World War II analogy that casts them in a more favorable light. In their Orwellian version, the fascists are not corporatists here in the US. Instead they point to the various factions of radicalized Muslims in the middle-east and the hodge-podge of oppressive regimes in that region. The reasoning goes; if those are the fascists and the Bush administration is fighting them, then George W. Bush must be a modern-day Winston Churchill (of course, Churchill wasn't even Churchill, but that's neither here nor there; let's stay focused). It follows then that anyone who questions the legitimacy or necessity of Bush's military adventurism must be the modern-day incarnation of "weak-kneed Nazi-appeasers" like Neville Chamberlain or, even worse, Islamo-fascist sympathizers or even traitors.

Once the world has been so defined it takes only a small leap of logic to conclude that enemies of Bush are enemies of freedom. In this manichean framework you're either with us or against us and if you're against us, even if you are an American, you are the enemy and are eligible to be spirited away on a mystery tour of black sites and torture rooms. So, it's entirely reasonable that we now have laws in place to empower our high protector to do just that, you see.

Mission Creep

Throw the "Powell Doctrine" out of the window. It was never a part of the plan. Almost every facet of that set of principles presented by Colin Powell has been systematically ignored by the Bush administration. Check the scorecard. Powell's doctrine required that the following questions all be answered in the affirmative before military action should be taken. Let's see how Bush's actions in Iraq stack up against that standard:

  1. Is a vital national security interest threatened? As has been proven, no.

  2. Do we have a clear attainable objective? Clearly not.

  3. Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed? Nope.

  4. Have all other non-violent policy means been fully exhausted? Ha!

  5. Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement? See #3.

  6. Have the consequences of our action been fully considered? See #3.

  7. Is the action supported by the American people? At the time, I must admit, sadly, yes. But, of course, that support was based on blatant lies. If they had been told the truth at the outset, I believe Americans would have responded differently.

  8. Do we have genuine broad international support? Negatory!

So, clearly the Powell Doctrine does not influence this administration. From the very beginning it seems as though Powell was intended to function as nothing more than a show pony fronting for the cabal that really made policy. That's unfortunate because the key to that doctrine, though only implied here in item #2, is the avoidance of "mission creep", the notorious failing of the Vietnam War that Powell knew all too well. With mission creep, the scope and objectives of military operations are constantly shifting and expanding. The need to avoid falling prey to this syndrome is widely seen as one of the enduring lessons of the Vietnam experience.

However, as strange as it may seem, for the Bush administration mission creep actually seems to be the goal. We were initially told that war was being thrust upon us by an Iraqi regime that threatened us and the world with "the most lethal weapons ever devised". They told us that we had to go to war there in order to seize and destroy these "weapons of mass destruction" before Saddam Hussein rained death upon us all.

Then, once were were already involved we were told that WMD were not the issue at all. Instead it was democracy for the Iraqis, which necessitated a prolonged occupation of that country. From there it morphed into the democratization of the entire middle-east.

Now, finally it is now a full-blown struggle of global proportions. We find ourselves now unwittingly cast in a multi-generational, global conflict against the scourge of "Islamo-fascism" which threatens to take us into Lebanon to fight Hezbollah, Syria to fight Ba'athists, Iran to fight the Shia, not to mention Indonesia, Africa and strangely enough, Venezuela (Islamo-fascism knows no borders, you know; Hugo Chavez has been seen in the company of Muslims). All of this, we are told, was thrust upon our supposedly reluctant leaders by the vicissitudes of world events ("America didn't ask for this war", says Bush). It is only coincidentally convenient to the pursuit of the goals outlined 9 years ago by these folks). But now that we're in it, they say more war may be "inevitable".

Soft on Theocracy

Who would Jesus bomb?As I've alluded to above, the radical Islamic ideologies that drive Islamic terrorism and oppressive Islamic governments are best described as theocratic. However, defining the enemy around that terminology is problematic for President Bush and his evangelical base of supporters. The Christian Right movement has an inherent vulnerability on the issue of theocracy.

With their base of support eroding to a small group of hard-core "dead-enders", so to speak, neither the Bush administration nor the GOP can afford to alienate even the most radical factions of that group. If they were to frame their global war-making as an epic struggle against theocracy they risk not only a frontal counterattack from critics on the rank hypocrisy of it all , but it would be particularly awkward for those radical factions on the right who hold theocratic views themselves
(the theocratic tendencies of this government and its supporters is well-documented and something that they've even celebrated publicly, but I'll deal with that later).

For this reason, raging against the broad threat of theocracy can't be the centerpiece of the Bush team's pitch. It cuts too close to home and raises too many uncomfortable questions. Another term was needed in it's place, one that shields their most-favored theocrats from any potential political blowback. The word they chose for this purpose is "Islamo-fascism". In addition to serving all the purposes outlined above, this phrasing takes theocracy off the table and specifically excludes Christianity from it's scope, thereby placating the radical reconstructionists, dominionists and Christian Zionists who animate a significant portion of the evangelical right.

Fortunately for us in the reality-based community, this framing of the issue doesn't have to rule the day. Playing the fascism card, dropping the F-bomb, is a double-edged sword. It breaks the seal on the discussion of fascism and its characteristics in mainstream discourse and allows us to venture into previously forbidden but fertile ground.

Coming soon:
Dropping the F-Bomb, Part III: "The Seal Has Been Broken"

See also: Dropping the F-Bomb, Part I