The Editorials of E. Desiderius

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Friday, April 07, 2006

Democrats Response To Scandal: The Silent, Paralyzed, Loyal Opposition

There is a theory on humor that states that it exists because it creates two parallel realities: a familiar and an unexpected. The incongruity between them creates humor. However, to a close observer of the Bush administration, that element of surprise or the unexpected has disappeared entirely. The satirical Onion joked several weeks ago that Bush was going to create a cabinet-level position to coordinate scandals [1]. Sadly, there is no unexpected reality here. The truth is that the Democratic Party is unable to mount even the most basic opposition, even while the Bush Administration is experiencing scandalous revelation after scandalous revelation. Yet, the Democrats are once again sleepwalking through the news cycles. They have let one incredibly damaging story slip through their fingers, and are about to go of another. Two windfalls of political opportunity have essentially fallen into their lap. And they’re about to squander both.

The first is the story broken by the New York Times concerning the lead-up to the Iraq war. Mr. Bush did not humbly want to avert war and use it as a last resort, as he oh-so-publicly proclaimed. Rather, his mind was set on the invasion, and there is a strong hint among all the writings that has been done on the Iraq War that the President had decided first, and then used (possibly false) intelligence to justify his decision. In fact, the President suggested in a secret memo that it would be possible to fly a U2 spy plane painted in UN colors and attempt to get Saddam to open fire [2]. A modern day Tokin Gulf! Where is the Maddox! Where is the Turner Joy? And remember the The Maine!?

The public opposition against the president deliberately fabricating or lying intelligence is clear cut, and 55% of Americans already believe this is what occured, according to a November 2005 Zogby poll [3]. This is not dangerous territory for the Democrats. Rather, this is a windfall, a political gift! Yet it has slipped out of the news cycles, with a few snide, tame Democratic remarks pasted onto the end of an AP dispatch.

Meanwhile, on the other scandal front, the Plame Affair, Scooter Libby has implicated his former bosses in authorizing a character assassination smear campaign, and the leaking of classified information, but stopped short of saying that he authorized them to leak Valerie Plame’s identity. Of course, the Democratic response was pitiful. “The president and the vice president must be held accountable," Dick Durbin said in a voice that was no doubt as passionateless as an Al Gore parody straight off Saturday Night Live. [4]. And what of Harry Reid? “"The American people must know the truth." Thank you, Senate Minority Leader Reid, ranking Democrat.

The scandals of the Bush Administration have truly become a sad, routine affair. A major respected outlet breaks a news story that implicates the Bush administration in a borderline-illegal and/or immoral activity. Next, Press Secretary Scott McClellan declines to comment. Then Attorney General Alberto Gonzales comes out and either invokes Article II, Section I of the Constitution or the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists of 2001 as legal cover to whatever activity has just been exposed to the news media. Then Democrats in Congress call up the AP and issue the pithiest of public statements, and demand perhaps a committee hearing or two. Then Republicans saturate the airwaves with “Democrats want to let the terrorists bring a nuclear weapon into Manhattan. The President is working to stop them.” And the whole scandal slowly sides into the cesspool of Washington politics, out of sight, and out of mind.

It’s a sad day when such scandals are routine affairs that go without any sort of serious investigation. It’s an even sadder day when the loyal opposition cannot stand against such blatant war mongering, public lies and deceit, misuse of the constitution, character assassination and hypocrisy. The Netroots bloggers have long been screaming for a Democratic veer to the left. But their party cannot even take an articulate stand against some of the most egregious abuses of power and public trust ever seen in Washington. It is truly a sad day in the Nation's capital.

-E. Desiderius

[1] The Onion – Bush to Create Cabinet Level Position to Coordinate Scandal
[2] NY Times – The Road to War
[3] The Washington Post – Zogby/ABC Poll
The Washington Post – Bush Authorized Secrets Released
The Washington Post – Tactic Would be Legal But Unusual
The Nation – Bush, Cheney OK’d Leaks
Yahoo!/AP – Papers: Cheney Aide Says Bush OK’d Leak

Posted by George Gordon | Friday, April 07, 2006 | E-mail this post

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