Two words: "Subpoena power"
The Republicans are desperate to avoid being held accountable for their crimes--including the "high crime" where Bush violated his oath of office to faithfully execute the laws with his program of warrantless surveillance--and, being Republicans, that means they'll commit more crimes. Der Architekt himself, Herr Rove:
Democrats need a net gain of six seats to win control of the Senate, and 15 for the House. With the overall outcome potentially coming down to one or two races, nearly every district and state seems to be getting some attention from Mr. Rove. He enlisted the president, and called on his own, to persuade Representative Elton Gallegly of California, a 10-term veteran, to reconsider a decision to drop his planned re-election campaign because of health worries.
Mr. Gallegly's decision threatened to jeopardize a seat the White House could otherwise count as safe. Mr. Gallegly quoted Mr. Rove as saying, "You know how important this election is going to be to be to all of us."
And you know by "all of us," Rove doesn't mean all the American people.
Translation: "Hang together or hang separately."
Shorter translation: Omerta.
So, how ugly is it going to get? Here are my suggestions. Readers, please add your own:
Building on "Jeff Gannon"'s insight that "2006 will make 2004 look like a picnic", here are a few scenarios I've dreamed up:
1. More voting theft, especially in Ohio. Remember that the real technical flaw in electronic voting machine software--designed and certified exclusively by Republicans, let us remember--is not at the voting booth, but in the central servers where the votes are tabulated. It's not necessary to corrupt hundreds of poll-workers anymore; all it takes is one corrupt programmer in a corporate cube. Just as Republican voting theft "improved" in 2004 over 2000, it will "improve" again in 2006.
2. War in Iran. Air strikes, presumably, and probably in October, so there isn't time for blowback against our troops in Iraq (or, for that matter, one of
the many all the blue cities Bush has left open to attack. Rally round, people, rally round!
3. The Times will break the "Jeff Gannon" story a week after the election. After all, we wouldn't want a mere newspaper story to affect the course of an election, now would we?
4. Bush will take the high road and call for "civility". Meanwhile,
5. Full-spectrum ratfucking of Democratic candidates--especially the ones who have actually served in the military, since Rove always attacks strength. Rove will handle swiftboarting strategy, but Tony Snow--he who hooked up Linda Trippe with Lucianne Goldberg--will be the key tactical player; that's why they hired him. And any Democratic consultant who doesn't insist on using secure email communications should be fired. (Does anyone really believe that Bush wouldn't monitor his opponent's email under his illegal warrantless surveillance program? After all, they're traitors!)
And getting more and more lurid:
6. Badged and uniformed Christianist "honor guards" at Bush rallies will protect the "President" from "angry", "hate-filled"
hecklers protestors traitors. Oddly, this protection will sometimes fail, leading to more and more heavily televised Rumsfeld/McGovern-style confrontations. As a result:
7. The SCLM will start of portray Bush as a scrappy underdog, fighting for his principles against a hail of criticism. Rove will reinforce this with "nice guy" bike rides, fishing trips, et cetera.
And if all else fails, there's the ultimate weapon:
8. The failed assassination attempt, again by an "angry," "hate-filled" protestor, who somehow slipped through Bush's security screen and is, unfortunately, shot before she can be interrogated.
Gosh, I know that last one is a bit extreme. But can you give me an example of something these guys haven't been willing to do?
I'd look for the assassination attempt in early November. After the Iranian air strikes don't give Bush the bump Rove expects.
Not that I'm paranoid.
Readers, can you suggest additional scenarios?