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Friday, August 18, 2006

GOP's Election Strategy - 'Democrats Support Al Qaeda'

Brian Beutler at Raw Story tells us that the GOP strategy so far seems to be to paint democratic victories in the midterms as victories for terrorists. In other words, the same shit as 2004 and not even a different package.

Republicans this week began once again to portray Democratic policies and electoral gains as potential victories for Islamists, RAW STORY has learned. The pattern emerges after Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT) was defeated in his primary by anti-war challenger Ned Lamont -- and after a terrorism scare in London led to heightened security measures at American airports. Last week, speaking to reporters via conference call, Vice President Dick Cheney issued the following statements about the consequences of a Ned Lamont victory in Connecticut:

"The thing that's partly disturbing about it is the fact that, the standpoint of our adversaries, if you will, in this conflict, and the al Qaeda types, they clearly are betting on the proposition that ultimately they can break the will of the American people in terms of our ability to stay in the fight and complete the task. And when we see the Democratic Party reject one of its own…it would seem to say a lot about the state the party is in.

"...It's an unfortunate development, I think, from the standpoint of the Democratic Party to see a man like Lieberman pushed aside because of his willingness to support an aggressive posture in terms of our national security strategy."

Cheney later made similar statements at campaign speeches in Montana and Idaho. But the Vice President was only the first leading Republican to issue this type of criticism in the days after the Connecticut runoff. His remarks touched off a week of similar statements by other party members.

A few gems:

"The Democratic reaction? Maybe we should impeach the president. My reaction? Thank God we have a Republican Party that believes in protecting the people of America and is not afraid to listen when terrorists are plotting what they're going to do to attack us again." -- NY Gov. George Pataki, on the ruling that warrantless wiretaps are unconstitutional.

"[Terrorists are] waiting for the Democrats here to take control, let things cool off and then strike again." -- NV Sen. Orrin Hatch

"Why has [Howard Dean's] party voted against the Patriot Act, against the surveillance programs, similar to the kind of programs that were used in London to deal with the threat? Why has his program -- why has his party been against missile defense? On issue after issue after issue, whether it's not giving the terrorists a victory in Iraq -- whether it's the tools we need at home to figure out what the terrorists are doing, to make sure we're successful -- on every one of these issues [the Democratic Party] doesn't think America is really at war." -- RNC Chair Ken Mehlmann

According to Raw Story, "Spokespeople for Governor Pataki and for the RNC did not immediately return calls for comment. But a source close to Hatch denied that the Utah Senator's remarks were part of a greater strategy within the Republican Party. Likewise, an NRSC spokesman suggested that each Republican quoted above was speaking independently, saying 'I don't have any knowledge of [these statements] as an overall strategy.'"

Really? Let's head over to the RNC's website, Why, here's a 'headline' titled Dems Rejoice: Ruling Weakens Terrorist Surveillance Program! That wouldn't be blatantly tying democrats to terrorism, would it?

The propaganda piece quotes several leading dems - none of whom actually says anything outrageous. For instance, they quote John Kerry as saying, "[The decision shows that] no one is above the law." Isn't that a crazy idea?

But most egregious is the use of editorials to back up the assertion that Judge Taylor's decision was insane. Under the subheading, "THIRD PARTIES AGREE: Liberal Judge's NSA Ruling Misguided," they list several reliably conservative sources to call the ruling batshit crazy.

But it looks like they couldn't find enough to praise Bush's domestic spy program, so they padded it a bit. The GOP quote a Washington Post editorial this way:

"Unfortunately, the decision yesterday by a federal district court in Detroit, striking down the NSA's program, is neither careful nor scholarly, and it is hard-hitting only in the sense that a bludgeon is hard-hitting. ... [A]s a piece of judicial work -- that is, as a guide to what the law requires and how it either restrains or permits the NSA's program -- her opinion will not be helpful." (Editorial, "A Judicial Misfire," The Washington Post, 8/18/06)

But the editorial closes with this (emphasis mine):

The judge may well be correct in her bottom line that the program exceeds presidential authority, even during wartime. We harbor grave doubt both that Congress authorized warrantless surveillance as part of the war and that Mr. Bush has the constitutional power to act outside of normal surveillance statutes that purport to be the exclusive legal authorities for domestic spying. But her opinion, which as the first court venture into this territory will garner much attention, is unhelpful either in evaluating or in ensuring the program's legality. Fortunately, as this case moves forward on appeal and as other cases progress in other courts, it won't be the last word.

It's not a repudiation of the decision based on the idea that the NSA's warrantless wiretapping is a great idea, the editorial critical of the decision because they don't believe it's clear enough. It doesn't say the ruling helps terrorists, it says it won't help other judges.

Yet the republican party is happy to cut the editorial up, selectively quote it, and offer it as proof that everyone thinks that democrats are pro-terrorism.

If that's not a strategy, then it's one hell of a coincidence.


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