Time out please in the tidal wave of righteous outrage triggered by the Foley organism. Justified it is. But heady though the possibility is, of Wile E. Foley being the tipping point in taking back the House and/or Senate, I'd like to call a Cassandra moment. There are some other matters at issue...
And no, it doesn't mean that I'm not thrilled beyond measure at the discomfort and disgrace of the despicable, lying, murdering, arrogant, ignorant, rapacious, privileged, scheming, pandering, hypocritical, sadistic, torturing, Earth- raping, draft-dodging, Treasury-looting, baby-bombing, globe-warming, knee-jerking, pin-headed gang of would-be totalitarians that calls itself the Grand Old Party, considering the indescribable and unprecedented shame it has brought upon all three branches of government, in the bodily form of the cretin from Crawford and the fat sack of moral sewage cowering in his Vice Presidential bunker, not to mention the craven catamites heading State, Defense, House and Senate and never forgetting Roberts, Scalia, Thomas and Alito, the meretricious, pseudo-scholarly, morally spayed, terminally compromised, mail-order intellectuals who now drive the Supreme Court.
But while we're finally getting to really curb-bash the GOP, let's not forget that in the last week we've also been confronted with the possibility that the Democratic Party leadership may not be a whole lot better.
Bear with me oh ye righteous.
Bill Frist, a human as despicable, lying etc etc. (see list above) as any of 'em, actually said something honest and sensible day before yesterday. On a tour of Afghanistan, the Senator Majority Follower had perhaps the only decent thought he's had since, as an idealistic (and doubtless attractive) young Republican pre-med, he vowed to "first do no harm".
Frist said we ought to be talking to the Taliban and they ought to be taken into the Afghani government, because they're too strong and too entrenched. The crucial subtext being - though admittedly he didn't say this in so many words - it's their goddam country. Whether we like them or not, if we need Afghanistan for any reason - say to build a pipeline across it or even to improve its quality of life - we need to start talking to the people who live there, rather than slaughtering them.
It's an approach which sane people at home and abroad have been urging for some time. You don't only talk to your friends (or those you bribe to be your friends). You talk to your enemies, because the alternative, killing them and then being killed by them, is insane.
This week in Northern Ireland, the British reached an important milestone in the slow, patient, tongue-biting brokerage of a disarmament process which has gradually lowered the volume on intractable century-old patriotic cant and equally ancient and vicious religious prejudice. How? By talking to people the British until very recently called 'terrorists'. (Why Tony didn't do the same in the Mid-East is a mind-boggler, considering that what he did do has ended his career).
A sane, practical and effective approach to ending the dance of death and hatred we call terrorism, is what Bill Frist suggested in Afghanistan and, by implication, in Iran and even (sshhh no, surely not?...) Palestine. Off-message though it might be, some devious GOP tactic though it might be, it's still the truth. And wherever you find the truth you embrace it. That's called having principles. A moral agenda.
So what's the Dem response? Fightin' Nance Pelosi immediately issues a fatuous statement attacking Frist for cowardice, trying to out-hawk the trussed and plucked hawks of the right. John Kerry yammers on about Frist putting out 'white flags' and 'cutting-and-running'. Aside from not convincing a single voter that they'll be 'tougher on terrorism' than the people who've just made it legal to hook up your testicles to the nearest Con-Ed substation, NOTHING underscores the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of the party I'm supposed to call my natural home than such mindless, transparent posturing.
This is the same party who for the same reason - not wanting to look weak and flabby - just helped consign the Bill of Rights to the flames. TEN Democratic Senators voted last Friday for Bush's banana-republic power-grab, including BOTH Senators from my beloved home-state of New Jersey, supposedly two of the more liberal Dems in the Union (or what was once the Union). In other words - by not standing up for the nation's most sacred principles - they showed themselves to be the exact opposite of how they want to be perceived. They proved how weak and flabby and reactive they are, how out of ideas and initiatives, how completely they have allowed their enemies to set their agenda and therefore how utterly unworthy they are to take power.
We need a real opposition, one capable of taking power, of making the Republicans the opposition. Whether it's a new Democratic Party or simply a new party, I do not care. It's not gonna happen by November certainly. But by '08 it has to be done.
Like I said - with friends like these who needs Republicans?
P.S. earlier in the year i got flak for writing entire posts about my new book The Messiah of Morris Avenue. So i'm not doing that anymore. But it's over there on the left and I'd be most honored if you'd check it out.