Nasty Letters To Crooked Politicians

As we enter a new era of politics, we hope to see that Obama has the courage to fight the policies that Progressives hate. Will he have the fortitude to turn the economic future of America to help the working man? Or will he turn out to be just a pawn of big money, as he seems to be right now.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Democrats must confront...

Democrats must confront GOP strategy
Gene Lyons

Posted on Wednesday, May 24, 2006

So here’s the big Republican agenda for the 2006 elections: Other people’s sex lives (a.k.a. gay marriage), flag-burning, illegal Mexican immigrants, tax cuts and Chicken Little. There’s no surprise about the first few. A GOP campaign resembles a traveling tent show. White House sideshow barker Karl Rove expects that the rubes who line up every two years to see the two-headed calf and the bearded lady will fall for flag-burning again. Never mind that Republicans have done nothing about it since President Bush’s father visited a flag factory during his 1988 campaign. Flag burning as a protest all but disappeared after 9/11. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., also has joined this crusade, the surest sign that she’s contemplating running for president in 2008.

Amending the Constitution to forbid gay marriage is another election-year shell game. Finessing it shouldn’t be too hard for Democrats. If your church refuses to solemnize same-sex marriages, that’s its undeniable First Amendment right. Forbidding people to enter into domestic partnership contracts due to sexual orientation, however, would be un-American.

No, that won’t persuade obsessive homophobes, but they’re fewer all the time.

Illegal immigration’s something else Republicans have ignored for six years. Ironically, Bush’s stance reflects the “compassionate conservatism” he campaigned on in 2000 but abandoned, maybe because Mexican immigration is a very old story in Texas that he actually knows something about.

Ironically, that’s got the GOP’s Knothead faction all riled up, helping GOP congressmen in safe districts distance themselves from an increasingly unpopular White House, but also hurting Republicans among Hispanic voters in swing districts.

Ditto tax cuts. Even the most credulous are getting uneasy with the GOP’s ongoing war on arithmetic and worried about spiraling debt caused by Bush’s profligate spending.

Influential conservative author-activist Richard A. Viguerie recently wrote a Washington Post op-ed predicting that “without a drastic change in direction, millions of conservatives will... stay home this November. And maybe they should. Conservatives are beginning to realize that nothing will change until there’s a change in the GOP leadership. If congressional Republicans win this fall, they will see themselves as vindicated, and nothing will get better.”

Which brings us to the Chicken Little theme on which Republican hopes appear to hinge. Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., first raised it in a recent fund-raising letter on behalf of the party’s Senatorial Campaign Committee. If Democrats regain Congress, see, they’ll act the way Republicans acted toward Bill Clinton, calling for “endless investigations, congressional censure and maybe even impeachment of President Bush.”

And then the terrorists would win !

Many pundits who helped publicize the 1,000-odd subpoenas that congressional Republicans dispatched to the Clinton White House find the prospect of Democrats issuing subpoenas terribly alarming. Slate’s John Dickerson worries that a Democratic-led House might “get bogged down with investigations and embrace the worst Bush-hating tendencies of its members.”

Time columnist Joe Klein, a. k. a. “Anonymous,” author of the novel “Primary Colors,” who’s grown adept at advancing GOP themes while affecting to deplore them, laments that the likely succession of Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., to chair the House Judiciary Committee if Democrats win in November gives Republicans a chance to play the race card.

Because Conyers is African American and has sometimes used the words “Bush” and “impeachable offense” in the same sentence, Klein fears that Rove will have a field day depicting the veteran Detroit congressman as Kenneth Starr in blackface.

The idea that irrational hatred of Bush motivates most Democrats is a favorite topic on the talk-radio right. Psychologists call it “projection,” attributing to others motives that mirror your own.

The best way for Democrats to deal with this Chicken Little theme is straight on, as Conyers has attempted to do. In a recent Washington Post column, he correctly identified the “straw-man” logical fallacy that underlies it: attacking arguments your adversary has never actually made.

Years of one-party government, Conyers said, have left Americans with many unanswered questions, such as “whether intelligence was mistaken or manipulated in the run-up to the Iraq war... the extent to which high-ranking officials approved of the use of torture... whether the leaking of the name of a covert CIA operative was deliberate or accidental” and who did it. Any alert citizen can add particulars: the legality of National Security Agency’s warrantless wiretaps and the constitutionality of Bush’s 740 “signing statements,” as reported by The Boston Globe, in which the president claims the power to ignore laws with which he disagrees. Conyers wisely stresses that the GOP-led House impeachment of Clinton proved “that partisan vendettas ultimately provoke a public backlash and are never viewed as legitimate.” Nobody wants a government that does nothing but investigate itself. But the
Republican Congress has completely abdicated its constitutional responsiblilites. Our democracy cannot long survive a president who claims the prerogatives of a king. That’s an argument the Democrats must win.

Lily Tomlin said it best. "No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up."


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