Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Terrorism and Reactionism

Close your eyes and imagine something for a minute. Something terrible. Something I hope does not come to pass:

What if Osama bin Laden, or some other terrorist, attacked the United States again. What if the Mall of America or Woodfield Mall was blown up right in the middle of the Holiday season? Think of the endless reports on CNN. The economic impact. The grief broadcast on cable news 24/7. The blood, the gore, the terrible footage we'd endure. Again.

Think about that.

Now think about this. What has our government done about it? Let me rephrase that. What has our completely Republican controlled government done about it? Besides duct tape and shopping recommendations?

A while back, I seem to remember a certain bi-partisan committee that did some investigating of some now distant terrorist attack on US soil. I seem to remember that a certain President, now elected with a mandate, fought this commission’s formation, then their funding, and then initially their findings and recommendations. Um, that would be their bi-partisan findings and recommendations.

But now, even with his public “support” for them, the congress can’t seem to enact them into law. Let me rephrase that. The Republican controlled congress can’t seem to enact them into law.

Now back to our visualization exercise. Imagine it’s two months after the Holiday season and the blame game has started. All the Democrats are crying loudly that the Republicans could have taken measures to prevent this. The Republicans could have passed the commission’s recommendations, taking the first steps to reform our intelligence systems, but they didn’t.

And you know what?

The Republicans would call the Democrats anti-American, hindsight history revisionists, who are systematically undermining the war president who of course is not to blame for any of this at all. In fact, it is the Democrats fault for giving aid to the enemy with all their anti-war protesting and filibustering in congress. It’s the Democrat’s fault, and their gay-loving god-hating Democrat party that is to blame.

And you know what? It’d stick. Again.

Here’s why. Everything except the visualization is true. Bush opposed the 9-11 commission, the funding for it, and the report and recommendations from it (which he now “supports”). The legislative and executive, along with a good deal of those revisionist judges, are all Republican. The GOP is in complete control of Washington. The only thing standing in the way of any new laws are, well, the Republican majority in the house and senate. Let me repeat the important part: The Republican majority.

But I haven’t heard a Democrat leader say this yet, at least not in any organized fashion. I haven’t heard one peep about a “what if we are attacked again” and who’s fault that would be, except from some enterprising pundits. I haven’t heard any organized effort by the Democratic party to say “We as a party support the recommendations of the 9-11 Committee, and if it were up to us we’d enact them into law to ensure the safety of America.” I heard Kerry say something like this once on the stump for a week or so. Then he stopped saying it. Where was the rest of the party?

No, we as an unorganized party are not putting the screws to the Republican majority for their failure, and yes that term if correct, of not passing the intelligence reform bill that would make the country safer, even if such is not completely true in the details. No, instead, if such a terrible thing such as another attack should happen, we as a party will look like a bunch of whiney Johnny-come-lately back biting cheap shot attack artists playing politics with a national tragedy.

The party, and especially the leaders of the party, need to lay the back-story of Republican failure now. The party needs to start working the press now with organized assertions of blame in advance and GOP hypocrisy of keeping the country safe. The party needs to lay the groundwork now so that there will be pressure for the Republican majority to act in a way it clearly does not want to. The party needs act now, so later Democrats can say with one loud voice “we told you so” while they lay the blame squarely at the feet of the GOP.

If it doesn’t, which it probably won’t, then the Democratic party will have to act in a reactionary way, and be accused of playing politics by the Republicans. This will have the effect of diverting attention from the fact that they are the majority party in control of the government, and allow the GOP to once again own our donkey asses.