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Two-faced Republicanism

Is it surprising that Republicans want to have it both ways? No. But I still can't help but remark how two-faced they are in turning "recent events" to their own political advantage. Most striking to me was this quote from President Bush, while campaigning (provided (of course) by the New York Times, in this article):

"Somebody said to me the other day, or actually asked me today, am I going to campaign?" Mr. Bush said on Wednesday at the fund-raising lunch in North Carolina. "Here we are in a war, do you think it's all right for the president to go campaign?"

"Yes," he said simply. "I do."

Contrast the attitude there with the Republican response to comments on the war on terrorism from Democrat Tom Daschle, as described here (from Spinsanity). Daschle observed, what is hardly controversial, that the continued success of the war effort "is still somewhat in doubt." He was promptly accused of rampant unAmericanism, including, for example, making "divisive comments" that "aid our enemies" (these from Virginia Rep. Tom Davis).

The president is deliberately taking political advantage of the situation, and the opposition is considered unpatriotic for examining our foreign policy? Give me a break.

This reactionary response to any perceived criticism is nothing new, alas. An earlier article in the Times, "A Nation Defined by Its Enemies", discussed how America has historically defined its conflicts in moral terms. One unfortunate consequence of this, a historian named Eric Foner says, is that Americans have a tendency to adopt "a state of mind that makes us demonize the enemy and leads to a failure to see dissent as anything but treason."

Let's hope the day never comes when it's treasonous to observe that the sitting president should concern himself with our country's future during this time of crisis, and not how he can find ways to leverage the sacrifices of our soldiers overseas into larger donations for his party's campaign coffers.


Addendum: Slate.com points out that certain Republicans (specifically Trent Lott and Tom DeLay) were rather unpatriotic (i.e., highly critical of President Clinton) during America's participation in the conflict in Kosovo three years ago. You don't say.

March 5, 2002 12:34 AM

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