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I just love this.  Per mcjoan, we learn that wingnuttia is currently performing a bit of comedia del arte as they loudly pretend Hamdan presents them with an opportunity to stick it to Democrats.  From the WaPo:

Republicans yesterday looked to wrest a political victory from a legal defeat in the Supreme Court, serving notice to Democrats that they must back President Bush on how to try suspects at Guantanamo Bay or risk being branded as weak on terrorism.

All this means is that the GOP is very good at PR and always tries to turn everything that happens to their advantage.  The remarkable thing here is that many people are already quaking at the specter of a Republican publicity blitz.  The fact of the matter is that they have no innate advantage in this matter, other than the proclivity of the other side to fumble the ball:

A Washington Post-ABC poll this week suggested that while Americans continue to favor holding suspects at the U.S. military installation at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, they are leery of an administration policy that has resulted in almost all of the 450 detainees being held without charges. Of those polled, 71 percent said the detainees should be either given POW status or charged with a crime.

It’s all bluster.   Note how the rhetoric gets ratcheted up to be persuasive only to those with no capacity for higher brain function:

A senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the issue is still being debated internally, seemed to hint at the potential political implications in Congress. "Members of both parties will have to decide whether terrorists who cherish the killing of innocents deserve the same protections as our men and women who wear the uniform," this official said. 

"Cherish the killing of innocents?"  How exactly would we know that?  As Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift (who risked his military career to defend Hamdan) said on Hardball:

MATTHEWS: What about the charge made recently, just a couple minutes ago by Kate O‘Beirne of the “National Review,” that people who fight us who are not in uniform, who do not represent countries who are party to the Geneva Convention shouldn‘t be free riders? They shouldn‘t get Geneva Convention treatment. They should be treated like thugs.

SWIFT: Well, you know, if you‘re looking at it from that way, we have a lot of criminals here in this country. And to prejudge anyone that we capture outside the country as a thug, why are we having a trial in the first place? We‘ve already decided they were guilty.

What the Supreme Court said is you have the trial first, you use the procedures that are set up under international law, and then you decide whether they‘re a thug. You don‘t make the thug determination going in.

It is simply a fact that the Democrats have a leg up on this one.  They should not be afraid to use it  The decision was handed down by eight justices, only two of whom (Ginsburg and Breyer) were appointed by a Democratic president (Clinton). This isn’t about Democrats being "soft on terror," it’s about Americans being firm on Democracy, anti-monarchical and appalled by torture.   It’s really rather simple.

OxyLimpbaugh may see this as an opportunity to put some wood in a Republican Party "splintered on immigration, spending and other issues," but I wish him the best of luck with that.  The idea of waterboarding at Gitmo may get Ole 60 Grit O’Beirne hot’n’bothered, but we’ll leave them to that rather gruesome coupling and stick with the majority of Americans who find both the war and the moral depravity the Bushies have invoked on its behalf to be quite appalling. More and more people are becoming convinced that they are simply trying to mask their ineptitude with barbarism.

The schoolyard bullies only win this one if everyone on the other side stands down.  

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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