Mechanical

Timing is Everything

When Michael Jackson first moved to Bahrain, the first thought which popped into my head was to check that perhaps we didn't have an extradition treaty with them. As it turns out, we don't. Of course, this could merely be a coincidence, but sometimes if the coincidences pile up too much, you have to start wondering how far they stretch credulity. In this case, I started researching US foreign and domestic policy and the upcoming elections.

Given the disastrous invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration is desperately trying to find a way to sway votes without appearing to have changed their mind. After Bush admitted a "possible parallel" between Iraq and Vietnam, the administration is even hinting at troop cuts in Iraq as a way of "punishing Baghdad if it fails to meet deadlines to stop the violence" in a transparent bid to win domestic support. But what else are they doing?

One of the first items I found was the Bush administration apparently focusing on Ohio, a hotly contested state. There, the administration decided to give twenty million dollars in bonuses to some of the best paid teachers in that state ... two weeks before the upcoming election.

In an unprecedented move, the IRS Commissioner decided to avoid collecting back taxes from Hurricane Katrina victims. Well, until after the upcoming elections. He even admitted it. From the article:

“We are very sensitive to political perceptions,” Mr. Everson said Wednesday, adding that he regularly discussed with his senior staff members when to take actions and make announcements in light of whether they would annoy a powerful member of Congress or get lost in the flow of news.

And, of course, I'm sure you now know that the Saddam Hussein verdict has been postponed until two days before the US election. Now that might look like a coincidence, but the US has a huge amount of influence in this process and, as noted in the linked Washington Post article (second page):

[The United States] refurbished courthouses, trained Iraqi judges and provided most of the security for the courts. Americans drafted many of the statutes under which Hussein and his associates are being tried.

We've trained those judges, protect them, and even provide their rulebook. No one doubts that Hussein will be convicted. This is a huge coup for the administration. If this goes off as planned and Hussein is convicted right before the election, expect a huge press offensive from the White House (already being planned with speeches already being written) and a jump in the polls for Republican candidates.

In the midst of all of this, people seem to just be taking it in. Many people, rather than wondering what is going on, seem to be waiting for the news organizations to explain it to the American people rather than to think it through for themselves. Any one of those many incidents could be a coincidence, but all of them? I doubt it. Somehow the idea of the government working for the best interests of the American people seems to be a quaint idea, disconnected from any political reality.

If you know of any other curious "timing" related actions regarding the upcoming election (regardless of who is responsible), please post them below.

Update: the Democrats are going to have significant gains in these elections but frankly, it's not because of anything the Democrats have done. While I'm not a fan of Dick Armey, he does strike me as being honest in his convictions. He recently wrote in the Washington Post:

If Democrats take control of Congress on Nov. 7, they will form an accidental majority. They are not succeeding because of their principles or policy proposals, but simply because they have kept their heads down. Republicans, fearful of taking on big tasks and challenges, may be defeated next month by a party that offers nothing on the key issues of our day.

When Republicans regained control of Congress with their Contract with America, they did so by laying down what the principles they believe and the course of action they would follow. I disagree with much of the contract, but it does have much to recommend it, if for nothing else then the fact that Republicans were willing to clearly define what their major priorities were and how they sought to achieve them. Today, those priorities are a distant memory but the Democrats offer little alternative other than "we're not Bush". If we can solve the problem in Iraq and somehow bolster the economy, the Democrats may gain some traction, but I doubt it. You can't win on a "we're not them" platform.

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I think you should check out Josh Marshall's "Talking Points Memo" site. Great political analysis, and up-to-date muckraking.

http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com

He also has a few other TPM-related sites... TPM Cafe (www.tpmcafe.com) which is geared towards user-participation. TPM Muckraker (www.tpmmuckraker.com) which is geared towards, well, muckraking against Repubs. And, Election Central at TPM Cafe (electioncentral.tpmcafe.com) which is where a bulk of TPM reporting on the election is taking place.

As for your question... the Foley investigative report will not be released until after the election.

It's interesting that, despite now living in England, you write "we" meaning "the states".

Not a critisim, mearly an observation.
In the long run, there's a very good chance that I will take British citizenship. However, that's a legal matter. I suspect I will always consider myself an American.

It's interesting that when I was first composing my response, I wrote "I will always love and care about the well-being of Americans." However, that doesn't go far enough. A more accurate statement would be "I will always love and care about the well-being of humanity."