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Olbermann Weighs In on Elections

Posted on Nov 7, 2006
Keith Olbermann
Crooks and Liars

With another of his stirring essays, Keith Olbermann speaks to the stakes of Tuesday’s elections: “Saddam Hussein will get out of Iraq the same way 2,832 Americans have, and thousands more.  He’ll get out faster than we will.  And if nothing changes tomorrow, you, Sir, will be out of the White House long before the rest of us can say ... we are out of Iraq.”


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  • Transcript (from Crooks and Liars):

    And finally tonight, a Special Comment about tomorrow’s elections.

    We are, as every generation, inseparable from our own time.


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    Thus is our perspective, inevitably that of the explorer looking into the wrong end of the telescope.

    But even accounting for our myopia, it’s hard to imagine there have been many elections more important than this one, certainly not in non-presidential years.

    And so we look at the verdict in the trial of Saddam Hussein yesterday, and, with the very phrase “October, or November, Surprise” now a part of our vernacular, and the chest-thumping coming from so many of the Republican campaigners today, each of us must wonder about the convenience of the timing of his conviction and sentencing.

    But let us give history and coincidence the benefit of the doubt—let’s say it’s just “happened” that way—and for a moment not look into the wrong end of the telescope.

    Let’s perceive instead the bigger picture:

    Saddam Hussein, found guilty in an Iraqi court.

    Who can argue against that?

    He is officially what the world always knew he was: a war criminal.

    Mr. Bush, was this imprimatur worth the cost of 2,832 American lives, and thousands more American lives yet to be lost?

    Is the conviction of Saddam Hussein the reason you went to war in Iraq?

    Or did you go to war in Iraq because of the weapons of mass destruction that did not exist?

    Or did you go to war in Iraq because of the connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda that did not exist?

    Or did you go to war in Iraq to break the bonds of tyranny there—while installing the mechanisms of tyranny here?

    Or did you go to war in Iraq because you felt the need to wreak vengeance against somebody—anybody?

    Or did you go to war in Iraq to contain a rogue state which, months earlier, your own administration had declared had been fully contained by sanctions?

    Or did you go to war in Iraq ... to keep gas prices down?

    How startling it was, Sir, to hear you introduce oil to your stump speeches over the weekend.

    Not four years removed from the most dismissive, the most condescending, the most ridiculing denials of the very hint at, as Mr. Rumsfeld put it, this “nonsense ... “

    There you were, campaigning in Colorado, in Nebraska, in Florida, in Kansas—suddenly turning this “unpatriotic idea” ... into a platform plank.

    “You can imagine a world in which these extremists and radicals got control of energy resources,” you told us. “And then you can imagine them saying, ‘We’re going to pull a bunch of oil off the market to run your price of oil up unless you do the following.’ “

    Having frightened us, having bullied us, having lied to us, having ignored and rewritten the Constitution under our noses, having stayed the course, having denied you’ve stayed the course, having belittled us about “timelines” but instead extolled “benchmarks ... “

    You’ve now resorted, Sir, to this?

    We must stay in Iraq to save the two-dollar gallon of gas?

    Mr. President, there is no other conclusion we can draw as we go to the polls tomorrow.

    Sir ... you have been making this up as you went along.

    This country was founded to prevent anybody from making it up as they went along.

    Those vaunted Founding Fathers of ours have been so quoted-up that they appear as marble statues, like the chiseled guards of China, or the faces on Mount Rushmore.

    But in fact they were practical people, and the thing they obviously feared most was a government of men and not laws.

    They provided the checks and balances for a reason.

    No one man could run the government the way he saw fit—unless he, at the least, took into consideration what those he governed saw.

    A House of Representatives would be the people’s eyes.

    A Senate would be the corrective force on that House.

    An Executive would do the work ... and hold the Constitution to his chest like his child.

    A Supreme Court would oversee it all.

    Checks and balances.

    Where did that go, Mr. Bush?

    And what price did we pay because we have let it go?

    Saddam Hussein will get out of Iraq the same way 2,832 Americans have, and thousands more.

    He’ll get out faster than we will.

    And if nothing changes tomorrow, you, Sir, will be out of the White House long before the rest of us can say… we are out of Iraq.

    And whose fault is this?

    Not truly yours. You took advantage of those of us who were afraid, and those of us who believed unity and nation took precedence over all else.

    But we let you take that advantage.

    And so we let you go to war in Iraq. To ... oust Saddam. Or find nonexistent weapons. Or avenge 9/11. Or fight terrorists who only got there after we did. Or as cover to change the fabric of our Constitution. Or for lower prices at the Texaco. Or ... ?

    There are still a few hours left before the polls open, Sir.  There are many rationalizations still untried.

    And whatever your motives of the moment, we the people have, in true good faith and with the genuine patriotism of self-sacrifice (of which you have shown you know nothing) ... we have let you go on ...

    Making it up.

    As you went along.

    Unchecked ... and unbalanced.


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    By Chuck, November 8, 2006 at 11:51 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    We need leadership with a vision and a foundation under the house. We have to consider the people. Washington is SUPPOSED to be there to support us, the people, not vice-versa. The Bush Administration should have been stopped by Congress; we should have stopped him or suggested impeachment. Instead we stood by and watched as Iraq got worse and he kept saying stay the course. We are at fault too. We should have stopped him from going to war illegally.

    Report this

    By johnny, November 8, 2006 at 12:36 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)


    It looks like the architect tried to build a house without a foundation.

    Thanks for speaking out for us.


    Report this

    By Jackie T. Gabel, November 7, 2006 at 7:22 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Comment #37004 by Manny on 11/07 at 9:56 am
    ‘The nightmare that Mr. Bush and his gang have brought to America will take years to repair…What we have experienced with Mr. Bush is what it must have been like in the beginnings of Nazi Germany.”


    Reality check here:      Polish immigrants I know speak of their disappointment in the USA which was a beacon of hope during their struggle to rid their nation of Stalinism; how they now feel once again caught in a struggle with a secretive, Kafkaesque machinery of state oppression and manufactured reality; how they see the lethargy of American culture like a kettle of frogs simmering into unconscious demise and how the refitting of communist-era prisons to serve in the CIA’s global torture gulag is the ultimate betrayal—indeed the regime’s vision for the “New Europe”...perhaps for the New World Order.

    These madmen must be stopped. We must grasp in a singular effort the one weapon sharp enough to pierce the heart of this vampire regime: SUPPORT 911TRUTH!

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    By Bukko in Australia, November 7, 2006 at 1:52 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Another knockout commentary from KO! In years to come, people will be re-playing compilations of his truth-telling. Especially after right-wing death-dealers assassinate him. Why, the man is more dangerous to them than a clinc full of abortion doctors!

    Report this

    By TruthPlease, November 7, 2006 at 1:50 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Funny how Mr. Olbermann’s incisive and intelligent analysis is missing from MSNBC on election day - in my humble opinion, he deserves every professional accolade he can be awarded, including a Medal of Honor for extreme honesty in an otherwise muddy, seamy industry.  I voted - but fear the “Diebold Factor” will steal it away and fear even more the kind of people who let this whole thing happen in the first place - the “average citizen” who would rather watch “Dancing with the Stars” than take care of their own nation. Sad.

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    By barry, November 7, 2006 at 1:11 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Boo hoo, they’re taking away the constitution!  Bullshit!  Oberman is a joke and so are most of the faggy scared little comments on this website.  Bush is Hitler!  They’re taking our rights away!  Smoke another joint you little fags.  (I don’t mean homosexuals, there is nothing wrong with being gay).

    Report this

    By SkaBoss, November 7, 2006 at 12:48 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    I voted…..Republican, straight down the ticket.

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    By Eric L. Prentis, November 7, 2006 at 11:09 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    I support Keith Olbermann 100 percent.

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    By S. Bahl, November 7, 2006 at 10:50 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Manny, are you referring to the economic growth, national patriotism, environmental conservation, and the spreading of freedom globally? Because that’s what’s happening here, and I don’t think I recall reading anything about that in Nazi Germany.

    Report this

    By sharon ash, November 7, 2006 at 10:28 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Hate and division have been cleverly used on Americans. It was accomplished by the right wing accumulating enough media to have an influence.  They enlisted hatemonger talking heads for their media outlets, to promote hate and division.  Millions of Americans, unaware of the psychology being used on them, jumped into the waters of hate.  The waters of hate numb your senses.  Added to hate and division, was the fear factor.  The use of the fear factor by Bush and his bandits, is unparalleled in our history. Americans must thaw out their brains, and can start by turning off the TV.  Then we must find our courage, and move forward as a nation that demands much more of ourselves and of our leaders.  Say no to hate.  Remember that what we should fear is fear itself.  And remember our heritage, our ancestors, and how hard they fought to give us the rights we have and that we must defend them from all enemies both here and abroad.

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    By Maureen Mellon, November 7, 2006 at 10:26 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Thank you and God Bless you for your courage.  You and Countdown have been a becon of sanity during one of the most insane times in American History. 

    As a Substance Abuse Therapist it seems as though Mr. Bush is once again using.  Quite frankly he needs help.  He should be in treatment.  Check out his eyes….they are a dead give away!!!!!

    Hopefully he will get the help he needs. 

    Thank you Keith Olberman, you are greatly appreciated and treasured!!!!

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    By Manny, November 7, 2006 at 8:56 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    The nightmare that Mr. Bush and his gang have brought to America will take years to repair. The genertaions that is in Congress that allowed
    this President to lead us in into war is that very generation that fight the Vietnam War. Yes, in this Congress their were more cowards then
    Neo-Cons to create the mess were in. One man alone can not start a war or destroy a Constitution but it took the people’s goverment.
    What we have experienced with Mr. Bush is what it must have been like in the beginnings of Natzi Germany.

    Report this
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