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Hiding the Embarrassment

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Who would have thought that it would be Scott McClellan, the ever-loyal stick-to-the-message press secretary who would nail one of the worst outrages of this administration.

In a country where informed citizenry are supposed to be the bedrock, the former spokesman for President Bush writes of an ongoing "political propaganda campaign"...and "manipulating sources of public opinion."

Let's call it what it was and is: Deceit which undermines the very foundation of our democracy. It was and is an ongoing effort to withhold information the public has a need to know. It involves lies and concealment and we continue to see it to this day.

In the same way that Bush and his propagandists refused to allow news cameras to show the bodies of returning servicemen and women, lest they inflame questions about the war, here we have candidate John McCain, hiding President Bush as he raises money for his campaign. After all, that would raise voter questions about whether McCain is attached at the hip to Bush. Is he ashamed about that?

McCain is trying to have it both ways: He needs the big bucks from the fats cats and he needs the support of the remaining few Bush supporters out there. At the same time, he doesn't want people to think that he is as closely tied to George W. Bush as the nasty Democrats charge.

How to solve the problem? Suppress news coverage, in the same way the present administration does. More of the same, in other words.

It is as outrageous now as it's been throughout the Bush years. It is a contemptible tactic that takes from the voters a very precious right, the right to know for whom we are voting and for what they stand.

It must be noted that we media share a lot of the blame. We were pathetically pliant, willing to be timid so as not to offend the White House and be denied the crumbs of access that were granted to those of us who didn't make waves. When are we going to learn?

How about now? The next time a candidate tries to obscure something important, we must raise such a disorderly ruckus that the political manipulators back down. If the campaign people don't like it, too damned bad.

We are not here to suck up to those in power. We're reminded again that when we do, there are always many in power who are sleazy enough to do whatever it takes to keep their power., even as they secretly and deviously pursue disastrous policies.

It's another form of suppression. Just a little less heavy-handed than the kind we find in obvious dictatorships. Because it's not as blatant it's more insidious. Whether it's armed forced or the outright lying we've gotten here, they both steal freedom from all of us.

It's a very important issue in the campaign. We need to know which of the candidates believe in open government. Hiding a President of the United States from view raises that question about John McCain.