In the engrossing children’s tale of Tyrone the Horrible, the author Hans Wilhelm tells the story of a young dinosaur named Boland who is tormented by the bully Tyrone, a nasty, juvenile Tyrannosaurus Rex. Every day, Tyrone takes Boland’s sandwich for himself, often roughing Boland up in the process. On the advice of his friends, Boland attempts many strategies. He tries to be nice, he tries to hide, and he even tries confrontation, but nothing works. Finally one day, Boland comes up with a winning scheme. He fills his sandwich with burning hot peppers and lots of hot sauce. As usual, at lunchtime that day, Tyrone steals Boland’s sandwich and stuffs it into his big mouth. A few minutes later, a long, loud scream is heard throughout the swamp where they live, and Tyrone starts running wildly around with his mouth on fire. From that moment on, Tyrone never steals another sandwich from Boland nor bothers the smaller dinosaur in any way. Moreover, Boland has become a something of a hero in the swamp.
The Republicans of today bear a striking resemblance to the mythical Tyrone. They seem to have perfected the role of the bully right down to the penchant for trapping an unsuspecting victim in a back alley all alone and then beating the #*&% out of him. The recent examples of Governor Howard Dean and Senator Dick Durbin bear witness to this sad reality. But the Democrats must also carry some of the responsibility for the blooding here. Had we heard a chorus of support from our multitude of Democratic leaders, had they taken the GOP’s own words, infusing them with rhetorical “hot sauce” and thrown them right back, the outcome would have been far different. In all fairness, Dick Durbin attempted to hold his own amidst the cacophony of Republican demagoguery, but he was so outgunned that retreat became the only recourse. Where were his fellow Senatorial soldiers? Did they abandon their comrade in an ambush? We should have heard 50 different news interviews loudly quoting the most damaging portions of the FBI report on torture, calling it shameful, irresponsible, and harmful to our soldiers and their potential treatment if captured. By the way, shameful, irresponsible, and harmful to our soldiers is what the GOP said about Durbin’s speech.
And where was the unified response to the assault on Howard Dean? Shame, shame on those who criticized him publicly, leaving him to twist in the wind. Instead, we should have heard another 50 interviews from the Democratic front line that pointed to the numerous ways Republican policies are, in fact, harmful to minorities and harmful to working Americans in favor of the ultra-rich, and we should have heard statistics on the barely discernable presence of minorities in the Republican Party Congressional membership. But our Democrats chose to criticze Howard Dean, and Howard Dean became the issue, rather than the deplorable treatment of minorities and working people by this administration. These infinitely more relevant issues got lost in the scuffle, which was, of course, the point.
The recent dust-up over Karl Rove’s libelous remarks that liberals only wanted to give the terrorists therapy and understanding after 9/11 was handled a bit better by the Democrats. At least we had a chorus of response. But the issue should not have been Karl Rove or the Democrats, again a distraction. The Washington Post, increasingly my least favorite paper on the planet, joined the bandwagon and ran a big front-page story on Rove, the brilliant strategist, in response to the hubbub surrounding him.
Perhaps the best response to Rove’s inflammatory rhetoric came from Senator Carl Levin on one of the Sunday talk shows. Levin focused on the administration (as opposed to only Rove) feeding the divisiveness of the country and being highly destructive as a result. No one likes this partisan war that is engulfing us, and blaming the administration for feeding its flames is a very effective counterattack. Another potent strike might have been to acknowledge the Republicans are indeed very aggressive, but that very over-amped aggressiveness, which eventually led to attacking a country that didn’t even threaten us, without understanding who we were fighting, without a clear plan, without an exit strategy, and managing to anger much of the world in response has been essentially counter-productive. This very Republican bull-in-a-china-shop mentality has only stretched our military to the breaking point, making us more vulnerable, while at the same time acting as a terrific recruiting tool for al Qaeda. The point here is that this macho Bush Republicanism can be reframed as a thoughtless, trouble-making bully and a direct cause of many of our present problems. (See my recent article American Militarism on this issue.)
The Democrats need a strategic war room that can alert members when one of them is being bullied and how to respond, both repeatedly and in chorus, to the attack. The most important thing, besides responding in unison, is to stay on message. In other words, attack GOP policies on the matter at hand, and do not let the recipient of the attack or the Democrats/liberals be the issue. Never apologize, because that makes the apologizer the issue, and the battle is lost at that moment. Instead, see the attack as an opportunity to get the microphone, something we bemoan never getting often enough. Then take the spurious GOP attacks, fill them with rhetorical “hot sauce,” otherwise known as the truth, and go on the offensive.
The past two months have seen a torturous struggle between the two parties in the halls of Congress. The chart for the 109th Congress (1/4/05 at 12:05 PM, Washington, DC) truly lived up to the painful and fierce battles described as potential within it. There was the filibuster battle when Pluto was conjunct natal Venus and Saturn was quincunx natal Venus, resolved precisely as these two aspects began to separate on May 23, 2005. There was the committee meeting lorded over by Republican Representative James Sensenbrenner, in which Democrats and their witnesses were effectively muzzled. This was followed a few days later by Democratic Representative John Conyers’ hearing on the Downing Street Minutes, relegated to a basement broom closet and distracted by an abnormally large number of floor votes. These latter two events came during Saturn’s square to the Congress chart Moon, June 7 through June 16, an aspect indicative of tense, tight, and battered feelings. The final two weeks of June included various sniping and countersniping, as well as significant tension, exemplified by the attacks on Senator Dick Durbin’s floor speech and by the response to Karl Rove’s inflammatory remarks. These were indicated astrologically by Pluto’s second crossing of Mercury in the Congress chart, a planetary combination that can suggest vicious, highly critical, manipulative, and potentially paranoid communication issues.
It is likely that such tensions will ease somewhat in the near term. At least, there are not likely to be any more major eruptions until September 2005. By then, the Democrats need to be very clear about effective battle tactics, for the next period of confrontation will be long, dirty, nasty, and ferocious, and last from mid-September through December 3, 2005, followed by grumbling and low morale but no more drama, until Christmas. From September through early November 2005, the Pluto station will return to Congress Mercury, greatly exacerbated by a quincunx from Mars from September 18 through October 11. This suggests a period of nasty nitpicking and sniping that will rapidly escalate into manipulative, suspicious, and angry charges and counter-charges. To further complicate matters, transiting Uranus will be square to Congress Mars from late September through November 2005, increasing the tension, anger, and raw aggression in the Congressional atmosphere. This will be particularly strong in November, when Uranus will station within 4 minutes of square to natal Mars and Pluto once again will conjunct natal Venus. The battle at this time may be more ideological and fiercely partisan (like the filibuster battle of May), perhaps over a Supreme Court nominee.
In the meantime, George W. Bush is just coming out of a 9-month-long Saturn transit conjunct his natal Saturn and square his Midheaven. Normally, there is a strong shift of direction or emphasis when the Saturn return ends, although it is not yet fully clear how this will play out for our Resident-in-Chief. One huge change that does seem to be taking form is that Bush’s deceptions have been completely unmasked, and he is commanding less and less respect and deference from the country. Senator Chuck Hagel, much like the child in the story who cried out that the emperor had no clothes, made a statement recently about our war efforts in Iraq that opened the door for others to more boldly state the obvious. According to Hagel:
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.
In addition to the Nebraska senator’s courageous declaration, the dramatic emergence of the Downing Street Memos in May and June 2005 may also signal a profound shift in the wind. The publication of these memos has enabled the long-simmering opposition to Bush to coalesce into a more vibrant political movement. Suddenly, it has become more common to hear in the mainstream press that Bush and his administration have deceived us into an illegal and unnecessary war. And the words impeachment and high crimes can now be heard frequently, where they were hardly muttered prior to the leaking of the infamous Memos and the subsequent Conyers hearing on them.
These events bring to mind two significant planetary aspects. The first is the Inaugural Neptune square Inaugural Ascendant which describes the Bush administration as deceptive, dishonest, and unable to grasp and deal with reality in a practical way. Progressed Ascendant moved into the exact square of Inaugural Neptune in May 2005 and will remain there until January 2006. Solar arc Ascendant then continues this delusional and deceptive energy by squaring Inaugural Neptune through August 2006. All of this suggests that from May 2005, the time of the explosive eruption of the Downing Street Memos, through August 2006, awareness of the administration’s dishonesty, obfuscation, and disconnect from reality will be increasingly apparent.
This extraordinarily strong Chiron placement in the 2005 Inaugural chart suggests that there will be some kind of “wounding” or perhaps a series of crises (wounds) that create limitations and that block the goals and ambitions of the second Bush administration. … It may well be that the economic conditions created by the blindness and obstinacy of the first Bush term may harvest some painful results or a crisis that become a “wound” that hampers the second Bush term. In addition, Iraq is another fertile ground for speculation about wounds that may create a permanent hobbling of Bush’s next four years. But however it plays out, it would seem that with this inordinately predominate Chiron in the 2005 Inaugural chart, we will see an administration that is crippled in some way, struggling mightily to compensate for its difficulties, and only able to really move forward by admitting to its mistakes and letting go of its arrogance and ideological blindness which caused the “wounds” in the first place.
At present, the darkening clouds of anger and disapproval swirling around the Bush administration for its lies, deceptions, and general incompetence regarding the Iraq War are contributing to Bush’s sinking approval ratings, which, in turn, are freeing up Republicans to oppose him on various issues. Moreover, the sheer cost of this malignant adventure, in lives, treasure, and stature, has left the nation reeling. As these issues continue to crystallize in the public mind, due to progressions unfolding in 2006 and early 2007 (progressed MC conjunct Chiron and solar arc Saturn conjunct IC), it could well be that this illegally-conceived and incoherently-led war will imprint itself like an unhealing and crippling wound on the Bush White House, a wound from which it will never recover.
In the immediate future, during July and August 2005, we can expect an increasingly aggressive Bush who may be prone to some potentially disruptive recklessness. With the sudden resignation of Sandra Day O’Connor from the Supreme Court, Bush now has in his hands the power to mold the High Court to his liking. The planets suggest he may not exercise the restraint for which many are wishfully hoping. His progressed Moon is currently square to natal Mars through July 21, and transiting Uranus will return to oppose his natal Mars and square Inaugural Moon from mid-July through mid-August. These aspects suggest sudden, unforeseen events that are upsetting and transformative. They also indicate an unpredictable, aggressive, and unilateralist attitude in the Bush administration that is little inclined to consider the opinions of others.
In the US chart, Uranus will be square to natal Uranus during all of August 2005, indicating the issue of personal freedom will be in the forefront, along with a renewal of culture-war sniping, both a likely corollary to the Supreme Court nomination process. As mentioned above, however, the real Congressional battle will begin in September and go through the first days of December 2005. It is possible this will include the nomination hearings for two Supreme Court positions, as well as other unforeseen skirmishes, attacks, and demagoguery. But the biggest question remains: Can the Democrats craft a strategically brutal message that keeps the GOP on the defensive about their abysmal record? And can they support one another, like soldiers on the front line, in the process? Because as Benjamin Franklin once said, We must indeed all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.