You thought Rove would just go away?
Boy, the sane of this country must really want to lose the election--again. By sane, I mean the 85% of us who know Bush and Co invaded for the oil, are gutting the Constitution, and don't in any way believe any of the empty religious sloganeering they mouth to dupe the fanatical fundamentalist Christian nutjobs whose votes they needed to disguise the fact that the only people they really represent are the super rich.
So you have these salivating evangelical crazies screaming about gay marriage while the GOP sends their kids off to die for oil profits, sends their jobs overseas, and flushes their civil rights down the toilet. 'Kick me again, Mr President, you're a man of God.'
At the exact moment that the majority is waking up to the fact that, well, they're the majority and always have been, that Bush's 'wins'---the first one being a legally unsound boondoggle and the second unverifiable--were in fact engineered through gerrymandering and PR spin, with the president's approval ratings having gone so low that you'd have to be either a millionaire or writhing on the floor speaking in tongues not to see through his empty posturing and blatant lies, at this exact moment were it looks like the tide may be turning and that Rove, et al, will be exposed for the lying frauds we've all known them to be and the country just might be on the road to repairing the damage of the last 6 years, we fall for it all over again, and twice in one day.
Let's start with John Edwards, a man who really has a shot at being the next president, and who just might challenge the status quo of the Democratic Party, meaning he's a threat to the Clintons and the neo-liberalism that brought us right to Bush & Cheney's ideological doorstep.
While every other candidate puts out 'books' that are nothing more than extended press bios to create 'background' and public awareness for their upcoming campaigns--'books' that no one but reviewers actually read--Edwards actually puts out A BOOK, something he actually had to WRITE and is ABOUT SOMETHING. It's called 'Home,' and it's a compendium of portraits of Americans from all walks of life talking about the importance of their first home--how it affected their economic and social status, the welfare of their children, the cohesion of their family, etc. Studs Terkel it ain't, but it very cleverly addresses many of the issues average Americans face in their lifetimes--issues of economic power, class, identity, and participation in the American Dream. In other words, it's not about HIM and how wonderful and clever HE is.
Edwards is smart and he knows the way to invigorate his campaign is by jumping into the internet and the blogosphere. Sure, he can blather on to Chris Matthews like any other blowhard in the race, but real consensus building and the construction of a movement must center around the internet, period. Howard Dean taught us that.
Lo and behold, Edwards hires two very experienced bloggers to handle the internet component of his campaign, and like almost any other experienced bloggers on the internet, they've managed in the past to use some foul language and make disparaging comments about certain Americans and their beliefs, some of which--like say, the attitudes of the Catholic Church to contraception--are certainly worthy of disparagement.
Suddenly, crisis. CRISIS!!! Bill Donahue of the Catholic League For Religious and Civil Rights ---a kind of Catholic Donald Wildmon-- is demanding the heads of these bloggers on a platter, and when--rightly--Edwards declines to fire them, Donahue proclaims the end of the Catholic vote for Edwards, and what's worse--the blogosphere and punditsphere goes in to full analysis mode about how much damage Edwards has just incurred from American Catholics.
Everywhere from The New York Times to The Huffington Post, pundits are weighing in on whether or not Edwards just lost the Catholic vote. Any minute now Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper are going to go to The Vatican to ask the Pope for a sound byte, and Bill O'Reilly will be asking a clairvoyant to channel the opinions of Mother Theresa from beyond.
Can anybody say 'Swift Boat'?
Can anybody say 'Howard Dean's scream'?
Are we going to fall for this again?
I assume when anybody runs for office, their supporters are comprised of a plurality of Americans who believe all kinds of things, from gay Catholics to porn-addicted Jews to vegan Wiccans to Marxist Zionists to, yes, even evangelicals writhing on the floor. Many of these people have probably said things I'd disagree with, and many of them may have changed their minds. It's a free country, and we have freedom of speech. I've sat through my share of Christmas dinners with family members quoting Rush Limbaugh and claiming 9/11 was God's punishment for New York lesbians, but freedom of speech means freedom of speech, so fuck you and pass the mashed potatoes.
Last time I checked, you're allowed to think Catholics are nuts--some of them are, as are some atheists, some Jews, etc, etc, etc. Many Catholics also work in soup kitchens (right alongside Lutherans and Jews!) and still others started Witness for Peace to prevent Reagan's slaughter of Nicaraguan peasants and Nuns via the contras, who were funded by illegal arms sales to Iran---but I digress.
The point is Catholics, and bloggers, and democrats, and Americans come in all shapes and sizes.
What matters is--do these people want to limit the rights and opportunities of others? Do they want to uphold the Constitution and the Bill of Rights? Do they believe all Americans should have equal opportunities and access to health, education, and economic advancement? In America, you are allowed to think what other people do or believe is stupid. Like the ACLU defending the KKK, Rush Limbaugh, and Oliver North, many Americans are capable of criticizing people's beliefs while defending their right to state them. That should be the criteria for John Edwards or anybody else hiring people to work on a campaign.
Edwards did the right thing. People who work for him have a right to their opinion, especially if that opinion was expressed before they were hired. If we can consider ideologues like John Roberts and Antonin Scalia for the goddamn Supreme Court, certainly a couple of people who disapprove of some of the teachings of the Catholic Church should be able to work for the candidate they think can reverse the damage of the lying--and Bible quoting--cabal that sits in the White House, a cabal that managed, incidentally, to appeal to many right-leaning Catholics.
And left-leaning Catholics? The kind that engage in charity, poverty eradication, Habitat for Humanity, Witness For Peace, liberation theology---would they really let the free opinions of two young bloggers prevent them from voting for a candidate that actually wants to talk about the primary subject of the Scriptures, which is charity? Does Bill Donahue or these pundits really believe enlightened Catholics are that stupid?
This 'controversy', like the Nancy Pelosi airplane 'scandal,' is Rove-ism in its purest form, the political equivalent of Anna Nicole Smith's death, over which I'm sure the GOP is kicking themselves for not having engineered. When Congress should be debating the greatest foreign policy disaster in American history, discussing the hard facts of how to bring our troops home, and the media should be bringing these crucial analyses into the every living room in America, one little GOP pissant can introduce some nonsense about the size of a plane and insure that every news show in the country will blow a minimum of 60 seconds on it.
Every second spent on the non-story of Edwards standing up for the freedom of speech of his campaign employees or Nancy Pelosi defending her right to be treated like every male Speaker that came before her is a diversion from what we should be debating, namely the decline of America, whether it be via illegal wars, unprecedented debt, or the evisceration of civil liberties and the government's balance of power---take your pick.
Are we really going to allow ourselves to be drawn down this sick path all over again, at the precise moment where it seems the tactics of Karl Rove, et al, are finally being exposed for the mendacious, anti- American propaganda tricks they are, at the very juncture where we might be beginning to put the whole shameful, sick, lying era behind us?