THE BLOG
09/29/2006 08:17 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

We're There Now

Late last winter, as a celebration of the CPAC conference, at which
the ilk of Anne Coulter were crowing and kicking up their heels, I
reflected on the likelihood of the right wing dropping their sneaky
ways (hacking voting machines and purloining elections) and emerging
tyrannically into the open. This is what I said, "Isn't there always a
moment in the life of every dictatorship when the tyrants take the
gloves off in public? A moment when they've almost consolidated their
power and influence and they have to demonstrate it?...The next stage,
then, will have to be something more naked -- something on the order of
prosecuting leakers under the Espionage Act while giving Cheney
immunity against prosecution for the same sort of crime." Well, pat
myself on the back, but even I could not imagine what it would be. It
is what we have now--the simultaneous granting of immunity to
administration criminals for breaking both US and international laws
concerning the detention of suspected "terrorists" and the removal of
the right of habeas corpus for, essentially, anyone the administration
deems unacceptable, citizen or non-citizen. Let me make that perfectly
clear. Bush and his friends cannot be punished for crimes they have
committed, while others can be thrown in jail without even knowing what
crimes they are accused of. As Molly Ivins details her her op-ed piece
today, it is even worse than it looks, because after the Bushies
appeared to compromise with McCain and his allies, they changed the
terms of the compromise to make the bill MORE DANGEROUS rather than
less. If you aren't crying about this, my fellow Americans, you should
be. I am.

We can only ask what's next, and who cares? Well, first there could be
that October surprise Rove has been promising. Attack on Iran? We have
thirty days to find out. Mmmm. And then, are they going to squeak that
Republican Senate past us again by doctoring the voting machines? You
ask me, I say the perfect diagnostic will be Katherine Harris. If she
wins in Florida, everyone will know that the system is corrupted beyond
repair, and the next step will be jailing people like me. And you. I
care now. Maybe you, my fellow Americans, will care then.

Here was my hopeful paragraph in the winter-- "Of course, openly
giving up the rule of law, as the Republicans would have to do if they
gave up deception as a way of doing business, has its risks, and one of
them is that those who appreciate the rule of law, such as moderate
Republican congressmen and cowardly Democrats and National Guardsmen
who have spent a long time in Iraq without proper body armor, or even
local police departments around the nation, might not be willing to go
along with the new phase of the regime. And the Republicans might have
to then enforce their power with vigilante groups and lynch mobs." I
guess we have to remove from that list "moderate Republicans" and
"cowardly Democrats", since anyone who voted for this bill cares
nothing for the rule of law. The rule of law is gone now. It's going to
take a lot of work to put Humpty Dumpty back together again, if it can
be done. But it surely will not be done if the craven, foolish, base,
vile, spineless, blind, corrupt Democrats who voted for the bill,
namely Carper (D-DE), Johnson (D-SD), Landrieu (D-LA), Lautenberg
(D-NJ), Lieberman (D-CT), Menendez (D-NJ), Nelson (D-FL), Nelson
(D-NE), Pryor (D-AR), Rockefeller (D-WV), Salazar (D-CO), Stabenow
(D-MI), are allowed to go unpunished. Not to mention the unmentionables
on the other side.

So, let's say the nightmare came true, and out of fear, we all shut
up--all us Democrats, all us dissenters, all us Bush-haters, all us
upholders of the Constitution, all us liberals and secular humanists?
What if all journalists and all bloggers and even Keith Olberman and
the generals at the Pentagon, starting right now, gave Bush a free
pass? Here is what would happen. His policies in Iraq would still fail.
His attack on Iran would still be a disaster. His War on Terror would
still be a bust. And everyone knows it.