By David Sirota
You knew it was coming, didn't you? That's right - within 24 hours, the right-wing spin machine is up and working to transform the tragic London bombing into a way to attack progressives as weak on terrorism. Sadly, it is a tactic that continues to emasculate many Democrats, who still can't seem to find the guts to stand up to this nonsense.
Exhibit A is this morning's Wall Street Journal opinion page - the place that essentially re-prints talking points from the Republican National Committee. There James Taranto says that "certain people don't remember" that "an attack on a much worse scale happened in the U.S. less than four years ago." Really, James? Who are those people? Are you speaking of people who have become senile in that time?
No, Taranto says it is people like Vermont's Independent Congressman Bernie Sanders (I) who passed bipartisan legislation reforming the Patriot Act. Taranto, of course has no proof that the provisions being reformed under Sanders' bipartisan legislation would have had any preventive value in the recent attacks, or in future attacks. Nor does he even make the case that the specific reforms would weaken national security. But to a hack like Taranto, proof or facts are not important - what's important is once again impugning the patriotism and "strength" of progressives.
This has been much the same tactic used over the last few years - and we see just how effective that tactic has been in emasculating Democrats. Even before the attacks and the subsequent fear-mongering, Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D) published a letter to the editor in the Wall Street Journal this week claiming he is outraged about the right-wing's hyperbolic attacks on Democrats in this vein. Yet, he then goes on to actually BRAG that Democrats helped "provided more than $340 billion to fund the war" - as if the party should be proud to have helped waste that money sending our troops to die for a war based on lies.
Emanuel goes on to say that "it is long past time for a candid discussion on Iraq." In that he is right. Yet, the fact that he is simultaneously bragging about his complicity in the war, means he is not willing to have a candid discussion about the subject himself. In fact, the headline of his letter includes the statement "We Support the Iraq War" - proof positive that many top Democrats are still so spineless and so frightened of the right-wing machine that they can't even stand up against this atrocity with public opinion polls at their backs, and with the Bush administration's own CIA director essentially admitting that the war has made America less safe.
And remember, this letter was published before the attacks, before the right-wing has intensified its rhetoric. After the attacks it was much of the same - few, if any, Democrats actually had the guts to say what is obvious: that the Bush administration's national security strategy is an incompetent failure. Instead, as the Baltimore Sun reported, "many of the same Democrats who excoriated Bush last week for tying the war in Iraq to Sept. 11 reacted to yesterday's events with expressions of strong support for fighting terrorism and solidarity with the president." And then Democrats wonder why the public thinks they are flip-floppers and stand for nothing.
So in light of all of this, I'm just going to tell it like it is, to both sides.
Here's a dose of truth for the Republican Party in Washington, D.C.: your war-mongering policies and devotion to creating a constant state of panic/fear in this country has made America less safe, especially in light of your negligence on homeland security. Your heated rhetoric that indicts the strength and patriotism of progressives is a sad attempt to cover up your own pathetic failures.
Now, here's a dose of truth for the insulated Democratic establishment in Washington - an establishment that continues to lose elections, yet, incredibly, refuses to change: if you continue to pathetically cower in the face of all of this; if you continue to ignore the courageous lawmakers in your ranks who know the party needs to stand up; if you continue to defend the Iraq War in light of public opposition to it, in light of proof that the Bush administration lied about it and in light of proof it made America less safe; and if you continue to have positively no courage of any convictions and positively no ability to give voice to the concerns of the majority of Americans, then you will continue losing elections far into the future.
Wall Street Journal cranks up GOP fear mongering:
Bipartisan legislation reforming the Patriot Act passes:
Democratic Rep. Rahm Emanuel brags about supporting the Iraq War:
Public opinion polls show American public does not support the war:
Bush CIA director essentially admits Iraq War makes America less safe:
Baltimore Sun says instead of criticism, Dems "show solidarity" with Bush:
LINK TO ORIGINAL