Apologies to the Choir
I have some questions for Howard Fineman: Have you spent so much time in the cynical Washington punditocracy that you can’t recognize true disgust at being used and lied to for exactly what it is? And has journalistic hackery risen to such a level that diminishing genuine anger as a political tactic passes as balanced reporting?
The Democratsâ€™ New Wedge Strategy is an inside one, aimed at Bush-led Republican Washington, where team loyalty is supposed to be the number one virtue, and where the president has ruled with an iron hand. The Democrats want to unhinge that discipline by exposing â€” or creating â€” friction between: Bush and Cheney, Bush and his political advisor, Karl Rove; the White House and the Republican-run Congress; and between competing Republican leadership tongs on Capitol Hill.
None of these figures or factions is popular in the country right now, and the Demsâ€™ rather simple idea is to force them to defend each other in broad daylight. And the Dems know that Bush â€” a loyalist by nature, who believes in the Texas adage of â€œdancing with the one that brung yaâ€ â€” is likely to take the bait.
Hey, Howard, I have a word for you: accountability.
I know. I know. It hasn’t actually been in vogue the last five years of Republican control of Congress and the White House but, bear with me here — both Democrats and Republicans are unhappy at being lied to by the Administration. As a card carrying member of the actual American public, I’d sure like to know who has been a lying sack of crap — and my neighbors would as well.
And that includes talking heads who don’t properly do their jobs, but instead hope that people will feed them useful quotes so they can continue to hang out at Beltway cocktail parties. Ahem.
Rather than go after the president, the Democrats are highlighting Cheney, and hope either that the president is forced to come to the defense of his own veep, or publicly distance himself from him â€” at which point theyâ€™ll shout what amounts to â€œCheneyâ€™s guilty!â€
Bush aides are obliging the Dems by leaking word â€” or spin â€” that the veep had lost clout long before his former top aide, I. Lewis â€œScooterâ€ Libby, was indicted by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald.
Now Democrats are highlighting Cheneyâ€™s role as an advocate for exemptions to the new anti-torture policy, and focusing on the â€œwhat he knew and when he knew itâ€ questions raised by the leak investigation of Libby.
Has it ever occurred to you, Howard, that perhaps both Democrats and Republicans are angry with Cheney because he manipulated intelligence information, created his own intelligence fiefdom in a Vice Presidential power grab unlike any other we have seen in our history, and lied the nation into a war of his own making?
That perhaps, in all of Washington, there might be some public officials who still think their job is to do the public’s business, and that lying to the public is a shameful exercise in power, one with tragic human consequences, and ought to be investigated and punished to the fullest extent of the law? That such conduct deserves to be exposed to the largest amount of public sunshine that can be mustered, as a cleansing measure and warning?
I’m not going to quote from more of your article because, frankly, it’s just utter crap. Of course politicians are going to work the political angle of things where they can. They are politicians, after all. That’s what they and their staffs do for a living.
But in this matter, where the death toll and the permanent injury toll are so high for American servicepeople, where the reputation of this nation has sunk so low because we have abandoned all of our long-held principles on the alter of revenge and expediency, and where the long-term consequences to our foreign policy, our military, and our nation, seem to have been completely ignored — well, we all have a right to be angry.
If you think the politicians are mad, you should spend a little time in America’s heartland, where we send our young men and women off to war every single day because their economic opportunities are so limited that the military is the only way to pay the bills and feed their families. This is not a Machiavellian game to those of us who live in the world of reality.
Whatever you might think, Howard, the American public deserves no less than the truth about all of this. That includes well-earned criticisms of Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Scooter Libby, David Addington, the whole of the WHIG and neocons and all of their cronies, and, yes, the Preznit — because each and every person involved in making decisions to lie to the American public — or even to just look the other way while someone else did it — ought to be called to account.
Every last one of them.
Democrats — and Republicans — who are asking for this accounting are doing their jobs. It’s been a while, so perhaps you can be forgiven for forgetting what that looks like. Maybe you ought to consider what your job is as well.
My apologies to the choir. This bit of preaching needed to come out, before my brain exploded this morning.
(Painting by Fra Angelico, entitled “18 Blessed of the Dominican Order.”)