Fools and Their Freedoms Are Soon Parted

One of the best-running comedies in Washington these days comes from the show the Republicans are forced to put on defending the various screw ups of George W. Bush and his increasingly error-prone administration.

From finding new excuses to defend the distortions, falsehoods and outright lies that have belched out of 1600 Pennsylvania to the innovative, if lamebrain, attempts to justify the dangerous actions of power-mad attorney general John Ashcroft, die-hard Republicans look as ridiculous as the Democrats who tried so hard to defend the many misdeeds of Bill Clinton.

In order to accept Dubya’s actions, Republicans ask us to believe:

  • Distorting the truth is OK if it is used to oust a dictator in a foreign land (like Iraq) because the end justifies the means;
  • Trampling roughshod over the Constitution is OK because these are extraordinary times and extraordinary means must be used to combat terrorism, even if it means abandoning the very freedoms that provide the foundation for our way of life;
  • It’s OK to lie to the American people about the health hazards from the toxic air quality in New York City after the World Trade Center towers fell because letting the public know about the dangers would, somehow, violate “national security;”
  • Letting the American public know about the secret meetings of Vice President Dick Cheney’s Energy Task Force somehow violates the sanctity of the Executive Branch, even if the oil companies who have long controlled both Cheney and Bush were part of the Task Force;
  • Lying to our allies is an acceptable foreign policy;
  • Balanced budgets are bad while record deficits are good.

This list expands because, nearly every day, we learn of a new situation where the Bush administration hid the facts, distorted information or just plain lied to the American people. Whether it is using hyped – and discredited – intel on Iraq’s fantasy purchase of enriched uranium or admitting – five months late – that no proof exists of a link between Saddam Hussein and the 9-11 terrorist attacks, the record of the Bush administration is a growing chronology of miscalculation, misstatement and misinformation.

Yet hardcore Republicans continue to defend his actions as “great leadership” or “necessary actions in time of war.” Then they attack those who dare criticize their “great leader” as “Bush hating leftists” or claim it is all part of a great “liberal Democratic conspiracy.” Sounds like the shrill rantings of Hillary Clinton and her claims of a “vast right-wing conspiracy” to get her husband.

Those who ignore logic, reason and truth to defend Dubya at all costs should step back and take a second look at some who question the actions of their hero. No one with an IQ above that of the average plant would ever accuse a rabid right-winger like Phyllis Schlafly of the Eagle Forum of joining the great liberal Democratic conspiracy, yet Schlafly has joined forces with the American Civil Liberties Union to fight the constitutional abuses of John Ashcroft’s USA Patriot Act.

Or how about David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union? His organization opposes Ashcroft’s attempts to expand police powers “because they unreasonably infringe on civil liberties.”

Other Republicans who have raised questions about the Iraq war and/or the actions of Ashcroft include Senators Larry Craig of Idaho and John Warner of Virginia. Warner has told the White House it will have to “be more forthcoming” about the Iraqi war if Bush wants to get his request for reconstruction money through an increasingly skeptical Republican Senate.

A sizable chunk of the 51 percent of Americans that polls say now question the validity of statements by the Bush administration are not lefties or part of any great liberal Democratic conspiracy. A breakdown of those polls show an increasing number of conservatives and Republicans doubt the integrity of their President.

But we know what the Greek Chorus that surrounds George W. Bush will say about this:

It’s just part of a vast, lefty, media conspiracy to get Dubya and those of us here on this web site are part of it — just like we were when we questioned the actions of another President:

William Jefferson Clinton.