Sunday :: Jan 29, 2006

Dissenter Centering

by pessimist

Asian philosophies and religious practices advise that when one is having difficulties, then one needs to 'center' one's self, so that a balance can be achieved and life's problems can be better dealt with.

One of those central problems is a serious lack of trust in our national leaders, caused in part by a belief that we aren't being told the truth:

Lying In The National Interest
- Daniel Schorr

History tells us that a president will dissemble and even lie for his own purposes. Is the administration deceiving us about its true intentions? Or maybe it doesn’t know its intentions. Maybe there are divided counsels within the administration. I don’t know how well the Bush administration is doing in keeping Iranian President Ahmadinejad off balance, but it’s doing a fine job keeping the American public off balance.

One of the issues that isn't steering amidships concerns Bu$hCo bribery and Jack Abramoff:

If a typical picture is worth a thousand words, a picture of President Bush with Jack Abramoff, we suppose, might be worth about 10,000.

The president himself attended a White House meeting with some of Mr. Abramoff's clients. The White House acknowledges that Mr. Abramoff had some "staff-level meetings" there. It is no answer to dismiss questions about Mr. Abramoff and the White House, as press secretary Scott McClellan has, by calling them a "fishing expedition." If there is one thing that is now clear, anything involving Mr. Abramoff is, by definition, fishy.

Republicans didn't tolerate this kind of behavior from the Clinton White House in the midst of its fundraising scandal. Haley Barbour, then the head of the Republican National Committee, complained of the administration's "utter contempt . . . for the public's right to know."

Such obstructionism is no more acceptable now.

During Monicagate, the media was all over that story, exposing as much of Monica's underthings as she did herself. But that sort of 'un'-coverage doesn't seem to be centered in the media's interest, as veteran reporter Ted Koppel states:

"I cannot help but see that the industry in which I have spent my entire adult life is in decline and in distress." [H]is view is that journalists "should be telling their viewers what is important, not the other way around.
"Indeed, in television news these days, the programs are being shaped to attract, most particularly, 18-to-34-year-old viewers. They, in turn, are presumed to be partly brain-deadthough not so insensible as to be unmoved by the blandishments of sponsors."

Blandishments are a typical centering ploy to offer those who aren't among your central base of political support, but are important for more other, more pecuniary reasons - as this quote attests:

Democratic candidates recognize from the Dean experience the power of the activists to raise money and infuse a campaign with their energy. "The bloggers and online donors represent an important resource for the party, but they are not representative of the majority you need to win elections," said Steve Elmendorf, a Democratic lobbyist who advised Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign.

Like, considering the results of the last national election, you demonstrated that you know anything about winning? You did nothing to challenge the Ohio voting irregularities, nor did you develop an effective strategy to counter the Swift Boat Liars. You aren't going to build much support with this un-centered attitude:

"The trick will be to harness their energy and their money without looking like you are a captive of the activist left."

Don't bother asking me for any money, Mr. Elmendorf. I don't shell out to people who don't respect my positions on the issues and see me only as a cash source and cheap campaign labor. I get enough of that from my real-world job!

What are my positions on the issues? I'm sure they differ a great deal from that mythical 'center' Elmendorf believes in:

The problem with polling that the media, Republicans and entrenched Democrats use to justify the 'myth of the Center' is that they are polls based on misinformation. It's an information gap, not a political reality.
Think what America could be if its red-staters were simply told the truth.
So, just what is the "center" that the Reid/Biden/Salazar (etc.) Democrats fear? The 'center', if we mean a landslide majority of Americans, would be opposed to Alito if they ever got to know his actual rulings and positions on issues. Even on the question of choice and Roe v. Wade, 2/3's of respondents shifted against Alito when informed of his anti-choice judicial convictions in a recent poll.

In most of the polls, when people are informed of actual positions or facts that they are unaware of, their responses shift dramatically away from the 'perceived center' all the way over toward many of the positions advocated by the so-called 'fiery liberals'.

In fact, the political reality is that the Democrats could come out as champions of the vast majority of Americans if they stopped getting scared off by the bogeyman of the mythical, non-existent "conservative" center.

But the DLC Dems continue to do battle with a myth, instead of trying to downstream reality to the American public and change the polling results, which inevitably happens when Americans are informed of the truth.

Admittedly, telling the unwelcomed truth in the middle of today's Bu$hCo Jesusland takes internal centralized fortitude greater than that demonstrated by the likes of Nancy Pelosi, who can't seem to center herself enough to issue her "J'accuse!" against King George. Is it true that the best that she can do is to ruefully ponder "why can't he obey the law?"

Better to ask the more central question of why you and the other Democrats aren't MAKING him obey the law, Ms. Pelosi!

She could learn something about that from the actions of James Comey and Jack Goldsmith. They were loyal conservatives, and Bush appointees.

Justice Department lawyers, backed by their intrepid boss Comey, had stood up to the hard-liners, centered in the office of the vice president, who wanted to give the president virtually unlimited powers in the war on terror. They did so at their peril; ostracized, some were denied promotions, while others left for more comfortable climes in private law firms and academia.

Demanding that the White House stop using what they saw as farfetched rationales for riding rough-shod over the law and the Constitution, Goldsmith and the others fought to bring government spying and interrogation methods within the law. They fought a quiet battle to rein in the president's power in the war on terror, and they paid a price for it.

These government attorneys did not always succeed, but their efforts went a long way toward vindicating the principle of a nation of laws and not men.

I'm not yet ready to concede that the actions of these principled Justice Department lawyers led by Comey and Goldsmith have turned the tide against the predations of Bu$hCo against our Constitutionally-mandated freedoms and liberties, for the meme today is to besmirch those you might still need to use once they begin to slip from your control. We heard Steve Elmendorf bitch-slapping us above for not understanding that we're not "the majority you need to win elections".

It only gets much worse if the abuser is a minion of King George:

Anyone who now suggests Emperor Bush has no clothes can expect character assassination

[S]mear the messenger is a reflex among fringe activists unable to stomach questioning of their leaders, much less debate 'responsibly' (the president’s word) how best to destroy al-Qaida or accomplish the mission in Iraq. That anything-for-the-cause coldness persists. It would be nice to believe these attacks are aberrations, actions of a reactionary fringe that ethical Republican politicians will repudiate.

One such tried to reach the center:

The message to combat veterans: get in the way of Bush and you’re road kill.
Reagan administration Secretary of the Navy James Webb responded in the New York Times, “To no one’s surprise, surrogates carry out the attacks, leaving President Bush and other Republican leaders to benefit from the results while publicly distancing themselves from the actual remarks.”
In his Jan. 18 op-ed piece, [Webb] cautioned that such attacks invert the tradition of honoring combat veterans and will backfire in Republican faces. “A young American now serving in Iraq,” Webb wrote, “might rightly wonder whether his or her service will be deliberately misconstrued 20 years from now.”
Webb believes that may be why most Iraq war veterans to declare for public office have chosen to run as Democrats.

But how well is that going to play with Elmendorf's perceived 'political middle' which still falls for the lie that invading Iraq was all about Al-Qaeda using that nation as a central command and control base from which to launch terror attacks against the United States (as I watched Joe Scarborough declare on C-SPAN 2 this morning [post date 1/29/06]) and thus was George justified?

That 'political middle' is already far off-center, and needs to be reestablished in the middle where it belongs, as another group of conservatives has attempted to accomplish:

Swift boating is one of the crudest forms of political activism and any past bipartisan misbehavior does not excuse it. Even Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly cries foul, if for no other reason than conservative operatives have begun eating their own.

On Jan. 17, Patriots to Restore Checks and Balances (PRCB) called for an investigation into the president’s authorization of the National Security Agency to violate domestic surveillance restrictions in the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act. PRCB members include former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr; Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform; Paul Weyrich, chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation; Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation; and David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union.

By now the list of treasonous subversives includes Brent Scowcroft, former national security advisor under Presidents Ford and George H.W. Bush; former National Security Council member Rand Beers; former counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke; former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill; former State Department Chief of Staff Col. Larry Wilkerson; National Review magazine’s founder William F. Buckley and editor Rich Lowry; the Washington TimesBruce Bartlett; Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), Sam Brownback (R-Kan.); and former Sen. Max Cleland, among others.

All have questioned Bush’s leadership. Several drew campaigns of character assassination.
Real conservatives briefly considered that unethical. At a recent conference, “The Conservative Movement: Its Past, Present, and Future,” author Rick Perlstein spoke of being inspired by Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) who in 1960 supported Sen. Barry Goldwater for president over Richard Nixon, whom they considered unprincipled. In 1965, YAF chairman Tom Charles Huston condemned conservatives “who abuse the truth, who resort to violence and engage in slander,” and “who seek victory at any price without regard for the broken lives … incurred by those who stand in the way.”

We have seen that sort here on The Left Coaster! Is their central theme not that Democrats (and all other non-Republicans) are the living embodiment of off-kilter evil? Or is it a central and widely-recognized fact that Lu$h Rimjob, Bill O'Lielly, Sean Handjobbity and Ann ColdBrrrr! have all been mi$informing America all these years? How will we know when that the critical political mass has become the center?

Don’t expect that until the public no longer lets them get away with it.

I see. Will that public come from that Elmendorf 'center' - or from the real one that would oppose Alito - and also Bu$hCo if they were being told the truth?

Just like an earthquake, we'll determine that centralization from the echoes of the shock.

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