Well said, Paul Lewis:
Two seemingly unrelated stories – the flap over Ann Coulter’s characterization of 9/11 widows and the suicide of three Guantanamo Bay detainees – highlight what our linguistically challenged president might call a “misunderestimated” feature of Republican rhetoric: the use of angry ridicule in defense of ruinous policies. With some historians concluding that G.W. Bush has descended to the ranks of our very worst presidents, with more people saying that Republicans have misled the country, we need to focus on how the right sold its flawed initiatives.
Of course, they are just following the leader. Eugene Robinson:
The Decider’s decision to whip up a phony crisis over same-sex marriage — Values under attack! Run for your lives! — is such a transparent ploy that even conservatives are scratching their heads, wondering if this is the best Karl Rove could come up with. Bush might as well open his next presidential address by giving himself a new title: The Distracter.
Last week, after learning he would avoid indictment for his role in the sliming of an Iraq war critic, Rove had this to say about two men who risked death in service of country, John Murtha and John Kerry:
“Like too many Democrats, it strikes me that they are ready to give the green light to go to war, but when it gets tough and when it gets difficult they fall back on that party’s pattern of cutting and running.”
In any sentence with the names Kerry, Murtha and Rove, there is only one possible coward. It’s not the Pennsylvania congressman nor the Massachusetts senator.The only combat for which Rove ever volunteered was political. In that realm, he’s mastered the coward’s way, the sly attack from the hidden place, the anonymous flier full of innuendo, the invective by surrogates, the timely leak to the friendly writer. The shiv goes in the back, but the fingerprints are smudged.
Of course, this is a tactic the right-wing follows pretty coherently, as opposed to incoherence of the center and left. David Broder:
Judging from the amount of publicity they gleaned, the liberal bloggers who gathered in Las Vegas recently for the first annual YearlyKos convention represent the cutting edge of thinking in the Democratic Party.
But the blogs I have scanned are heavier on vituperation of President Bush and other targets than on creative thought. The candidates who have been adopted as heroes by Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, the convention’s leader, and his fellow bloggers have mainly imploded in the heat of battle — as was the case with Howard Dean in 2004 — or come up short, as happened to the Democratic challengers in special House elections in Ohio and California.
Fortunately, there are others than these “net roots” activists working on the challenge of defining the Democratic message. I do not include the Democratic congressional leadership in the hopeful camp. The new legislative “agenda” that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and Co. trotted out last week was as meager as it was unimaginative.
Of course, I have often observed that persons in error proceed with certainty into deeper error, while those who recognize the error are uncertain as to how to correct it.
Mistakes become obvious while things are still in process; successes often aren’t recognized until processes complete.