The Facts Machine

"And I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide"

Thursday, September 02, 2004


Mickey Kaus, to his credit, gets it right on Zell, but still throws in something not particularly forgivable:
[A]re baby-boomers who lived through Vietnam likely to find this principle appealing--that Presidents can commit our troops to a war and then attack any criticism as unpatriotic national weakening? When do the people get to weigh in? ... I do think Democrats have engaged in gratuitous morale-weakening partisanship--Hillary's smarmy, sneering, talking-pointed visit to Iraq, for one. But surely an election is the time when it's most appropriate to criticize a war. ... In other words, Miller's appeal was generationally as well as ideologically limited, and I suspect gave off more heat than bounce.
(emphasis mine)

I could swear he meant George W Bush's photo-op-driven, shoot-in-and-out, turkey-brandishing trip to Iraq. When Hillary made her visit, she didn't just go to Baghdad: She also went to not only other cities and bases in Iraq (such as in Kirkuk), but also to Afghanistan. When was the last time Bush went there, or even thought about that place?

But going back to Zell, Saletan rips apart his speech, too. The money grafs? Right after Saletan disposes of Miller's falsehoods about the Democrats,
But the important thing isn't the falsity of the charges, which Republicans continue to repeat despite press reports debunking them. The important thing is that the GOP is trying to quash criticism of the president simply because it's criticism of the president. The election is becoming a referendum on democracy.

In a democracy, the commander in chief works for you. You hire him when you elect him. You watch him do the job. If he makes good decisions and serves your interests, you rehire him. If he doesn't, you fire him by voting for his opponent in the next election.

Not every country works this way. In some countries, the commander in chief builds a propaganda apparatus that equates him with the military and the nation. If you object that he's making bad decisions and disserving the national interest, you're accused of weakening the nation, undermining its security, sabotaging the commander in chief, and serving a foreign power—the very charges Miller leveled tonight against Bush's critics.

Are you prepared to become one of those countries?


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