Sunday, November 20, 2005

Have You No Shame, Sir?

A great deal of ink is being spilled over whether Bush & Co. intentionally misled the country in going to war in Iraq. In the absence of a smoking gun -- or incriminating Nixonian tape -- it is hard to see how that debate will ever be decided satisfactorily.

However, if the question is whether or not the Bush Team displayed consistently poor judgment, dereliction of duty and general bone-headedness the answer, as they say, is a slam dunk. Nevertheless, it can be difficult to get a word in edgewise against the torrent of invective and innuendo that will instantly flow from the White House and its allies.

Of course, politics is often called a contact sport. Yet the Republican Party has raised the stakes about as far as they can go without physical injury to the participants. Should you question the planning, or lack thereof, for the war in Iraq you will be accused of collusion with terrorists. If you suggest the need for a timetable to extricate ourselves from the war, expect to be called a coward.

The Republicans have used these tactics before. Senator Joseph McCarthy ran dirty campaigns for election and merely stayed in practice during the intervening years. No single event toppled McCarthy. It took widespread disgust coupled with courageous opposition to his ruthless tactics.

Unfortunately, the Democrats aren't up to the task. Confronted by what amounts to a criminal conspiracy to loot America's future, the Democrats all seem to be waiting for someone else to go first. Perhaps they think that the constant dribble of news about lies, crony contracts, and mafia-style fundraising will finish off the Republicans without requiring any heavy lifting. After all, America's ruling party displays a level of corruption worthy of the countries we recently invaded.

Maybe the Democrats think they can wait but that's not good enough. It will take both a stategy and a strong faith in your own position to take on the Republican smear machine. As another Democrat once said; if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.