When Fox News Republicans Lie, Democrats Should Tell The Truth

Regarding Karen Hanretty’s comments in which she invoked the name of Barry Goldwater while she lied about me:

I knew Barry Goldwater. Barry Goldwater was an authentic conservative who believed in political discourse of honesty and civility. Hanretty is no Barry Goldwater. Nor is the Republican attorney who invoked Goldwater’s name in defense of perjury and support of pardons regarding the unpatriotic leaking of the covert identity of a CIA officer, which are acts that Barry Goldwater would hold in extreme contempt, were he with us today.
The fact that modern Republicanism has gone so far from the principles and ideals of Barry Goldwater is a testament to why they have done such enormous damage to our military; why they have lowered the standards of political discourse in ways that appalled Goldwater long before today; and why they seem to have the indictment or scandal of the week that is making the Republican Party a house of ill repute with catastrophically low moral standards and collapsing support.

The Democrats, whatever their shortcomings, which are real, are on course to win a gigantic landslide in the Senate elections that will most likely leave the Senate with between 55 and 60 Democrats; they are on course to maintain their control of the House; and now have a better-than-even chance at the presidency.

The reason is not because of any brilliance by the Democrats, who are timid and ineffectual in opposing failed policies. It is because of the failed and catastrophic policies themselves, the American and global credibility collapse of George Bush, and the discredited perpetual propaganda and dishonesties of the hired help of the Republican Party that are now thoroughly rejected not only by Democrats but by huge majorities of independents, and steadily rising numbers of real-America Republicans.

When Ms. Hanretty calls me an “über-lefty” she is lying, she knows she is lying, which is the hallmark of someone who knows she has lost the debate and resorts to the same discredited tactics that have done so much damage to our troops in Iraq, our moral credibility in the world, and the Republican Party’s collapsing moral standing and collapsing reputation among Americans.

It should not matter if I am an über-lefty, but the fact that she could state a lie disproven by more than 20 years of working with, standing with and supporting our military and our troops in the Sam Nunn tradition only shows the level of desperation and emptiness of the pundit class of a party that has run out of constructive things to say. They are forced to defend these endless scandals ranging from crimes involving toilet behavior to criminal war profiteering that leads to preventable deaths of American troops.

I feel their pain. When I disagree with high-level Democratic leaders I write about it publicly and very often suggest to them directly what they can do better. When Republicans are humiliated by the conduct of their leaders they are reduced to defending the indefensible and lying about their opponents. No wonder the overwhelming private and increasingly public view of these Republicans is manic depression mixed with panic and desperation.

Strange but true: the distorted vision of media promoted by Fox News lies at the heart of the Republican problem. It is vision of political discourse similar to Vladimir Putin’s vision of Russian media, which goes like this:

Fox will have a segment with an inherently demeaning title implying Democrats are soft on terrorism or unpatriotic. They bring together a partisan and biased right-wing host with the partisan help hired by the Republican right. Then they find the weakest Potemkin Democrat they can, and conduct a pseudo-debate in Putin style that is rigged from the beginning.

For several years, it worked, but it has now become an albatross around their necks. Their demeaning rhetoric towards opponents looks progressively more ugly to those who decide elections. Their spinmeistering propaganda is no longer believed by the people who matter. They have completely lost touch with the American spirit, the American character and the American center.

The more they win their one-sided debates in their unfair and unbalanced echo chamber of delusion, the more they lose touch and the more they lose votes.

Anyone reduced to calling me an über-lefty is out of fighting shape, and I feel her pain. I am glad she enjoys my writing; she would enjoy even more what I privately advise senior Democrats to do, which is consistent with what I write publicly.

If Ms. Hanretty wants to correct, amend, retract her obviously false description of me, I would be more than happy to let bygones be bygones as professional colleagues. Otherwise, what Democrats have begun to do, and should do far more of, is what I do here: call a lie a lie.

One final point: My views on Iraq and national security have long been, and are today, consistent with Senator Nunn, the leadership of the Marine Corps, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (who favors significant 2008 reduction of troops in Iraq) and the long list of active duty and retired senior military leaders who oppose many fundamental aspects of the Bush policy.

I invite the Hanrettys of the world to join me, and them, in standing up for wounded troops and homeless heroes, in fighting against the continuing shame of American troops dying preventable deaths and suffering preventable wounds because the President does not get them the armor and protections they deserve.

I invite the Hanrettys of the world to join me, and join them, in fighting for the more than $500 billion of long term help for troops, vets and military families of those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Vietnam and Gulf War I, which are now unbudgeted because leaders prefer tax cuts during wartime instead of getting troops and vets what they need, and deserve.

I invite the Hanrettys of the world to join me, and them, in supporting the closure of the Guantanamo camp, in supporting the Geneva Convention, and working to end the cover-up of Abu Ghraib crimes revealed so courageously by General Antonio Taguba.

I invite the Hanrettys of the world to join me, and them, in advocating full funding for vets services, full support for post traumatic stress disorder treatment, and full support for VA programs to end the shame of long backlog and unfair disability classifications for disabled vets that are inexcusable in our America today.

I invite the Hanrettys of the world to join me, and them, to end cruel and abusive rotation schedules and to end manpower crises created by the Iraq policy that have led our military to (against the better judgment of commanders) have to recruit obese criminals, and pay huge bonuses to attract financially strapped folks to enter the service for the wrong reasons and then rush them off to combat before they are ready.

Perhaps the Hanrettys of the world can entice their bosses or allies or whatever one calls their Putin-like propagandists on Fox News to join us in changing a disastrous policy the way the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the most respected Republican on the Armed Services Committee want it changed.

In the meantime, those of us who have long supported the military, long fought for our vets, long worked on behalf of our troops, would welcome the Hanrettys of the world and the Fox News types of the world to join us, but get this straight:

The days of the one-party state have ended, and if you lie about us, we are going to tell the truth about you.