Yes indeed, it could be worse
George Bush may or may not be the worst President in American History. I know he has the votes of the "James Buchanan Society". But as bad as Bush is — and if you’ve read this blog in the past I think you share our verdict — he’s really bad to put it mildly — there’s always somebody that makes him look like FDR & Lincoln by comparison.
I give you Robert Mugabe, the kind of guy even Tony Scalia would say seems a bit of a right-wing douchebag (and he’s known a few…and owns a mirror).
Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai withdrew Sunday from this week’s run-off presidential election in the beleaguered southern African nation, saying he could no longer participate in a race that’s been marred by the widespread intimidation, torture, mutilation and murder of his supporters.
The decision effectively hands victory to longtime President Robert Mugabe , whose supporters have engaged in a campaign of terror that has left at least 85 opposition members and activists dead in recent weeks, according to Zimbabwean human rights groups.
Tsvangirai concluded that Mugabe was determined to hang on to power at any cost and pulled out of the race to avoid further bloodshed, said members of his party, the Movement of Democratic Change . Tsvangirai was detained several times during the campaign and the party’s secretary-general, Tendai Biti , has been imprisoned on treason charges, which carry a possible death sentence.
"We in the MDC have resolved that we will no longer participate in this violent, illegitimate sham of an election process," Tsvangirai said at a news conference in the capital, Harare .
"We can’t ask the people to cast their vote on June 27 when that vote will cost their lives."
And Mugabe was quick to add a last bit of classiness:
Officials with Mugabe’s ruling ZANU-PF party immediately said that Friday’s election would go ahead as planned. The information minister, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, predicted to the BBC: "President Mugabe will win resoundingly."
Here is a place where a well-coordinated application of international pressure could have changed the game plan. Where Bush could have truly applied the his high-sounding (yet lowly applied) language on the merits of democracy. And, as always they have essentially blown it. Though, in fairness, not them alone, the South African government has a great deal of responsibility for this backing up Mugabe to the hilt out of almost laughable respect for his revolutionary past when he was for a time a hero.
It could still be done.
But will they do it?