The Party of Bash and Bush Flexes for the Next Election
It's a playbook that's worked time and time again. So with Karl “I dodged an indictment” Rove back to his typical pre-election shenanigans, it's hardly surprising to see the Republican attack dogs unleashed and snarling.
First came the carefully staged, post-Zarqawi, Congressional debate. The Republicans used their power in both chambers to manipulate news coverage as they pilloried the "cut and run" Democrats for deserting the cause and our troops in
Next the Republicans ratcheted up their efforts to pass a Constitutional Amendment to ban flag burning (a truly pressing national issue in that .... in that .... huh?). Stay tuned. The vote will be close and, whichever way it goes, every Democrat against tinkering with the Constitution over this utterly vacuous issue will be bashed mercilessly in the next election.
Then, this Monday, President Bush and Vice-President Cheney issued choreographed attacks against -- you got it -- the news media (and especially that evil New York Times) for having the audacity to report on yet another of their domestic "monitoring" programs -- this one to track financial transactions of terrorists (but, mind you, only terrorists).
"For people to leak that program and for a newspaper to publish it is of great harm to the
Republican business as usual, you say. Perhaps. But I believe one way or another, this time around could prove a turning point in the steady erosion of civil and open debate over policy in this country. Things could get better – or, they could get a whole lot worse. The answer, ultimately, lies with the hard-working, heavily-spun, and too-often scared men and women of
Let’s assume for a moment that the outcome is not preordained. Will the public this November tolerate the same attack and terrify tactics it has fallen for time and time again? Or will voters pick a new tune to replace that long-running Republican hit, "There is a reason: fear, fear, fear?"
Only this is no joke. Just listen to U.S. Rep. Peter King, Republican of New York and yesterday's hit man for his party.
"We're at war, and for The Times to release information about secret operations and methods in treasonous," he told the Associated Press.
For the record: (1) The Wall Street Journal, that much-reviled left-wing rag, ran the same story and (2) this is not the first time in recent months that the Republicans have not merely bad-mouthed the media but implicitly or explicitly threatened news organizations or reporters with prosecution.
It's not surprising. The Republicans control Congress. They're getting close to controlling the highest court (seven of the justices were appointed by Republican presidents). And they’ve done their part to try to bludgeon the “liberal” press into self-censorship. So as we pursue liberty and justice and freedom in our unending war against terror around the globe, why not dispatch a few sorted scribes behind bars? Would anyone mind? And, if not, will anyone, in fact, notice when our own democracy is that in name only?
As much or more than the end game in
Let’s hope someone conducts such a poll this November – and that the media pay attention if it doesn’t reflect the recorded vote. If not, it won’t be long before a newly molded system of American justice begins to heed Rep. King’s calls for action against the “treasonous” press.