If the failed terrorist bombing in Detroit has taught us anything, it's that there's no such thing as terrorist failures -- at least, as far as the right is concerned. All it takes is for someone to try and Republicans are ready to throw out everything we've stood for for more than two centuries. With Republicans at least, it's impossible for terrorists not to win, since even a failure is all it takes for them to call for a radical and fundamental change to our way of life. If terrorists are counting on anything, it's that all Americans are as stupid, as cowardly, as reactionary, and as easily manipulated as the Republican section of our populace.
In speaking about the intelligence failures leading up to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's attempt on an airliner, President Obama took a swing at this Republican defeatism -- although, more obliquely than I would've liked.
Here at home, we will strengthen our defenses, but we will not succumb to a siege mentality that sacrifices the open society and liberties and values that we cherish as Americans, because great and proud nations don’t hunker down and hide behind walls of suspicion and mistrust. That is exactly what our adversaries want, and so long as I am President, we will never hand them that victory. We will define the character of our country, not some band of small men intent on killing innocent men, women and children.
If there's one thing you can count on with modern conservatives, it's that you'll never have your courage called upon by them. You'll never be asked to stay strong, to be defiant in the face of danger -- real or perceived -- or stay true to American principles of fairness, justice, and freedom.
No, you'll be asked to panic, to throw away everything that makes America great, and to beg government to protect you. As I said, for Republicans, there is no such thing as a failed terrorist attack. Every attempt is a huge success that never fails to get them to crap their pants.
Part of this is that conservatives are naturally fearful. But another part is that they're ambitious and without conscience. If they can attack someone for political gain, they will -- without fail. It doesn't make any difference whether those attacks are true. And it certainly doesn't matter whether those attacks are helpful. The only thing that matters is that those attacks might be effective. Then they'll attack away. Republicans are in permanent campaign mode; fingers in the wind, always trying to manipulate polling. If their attack is stupid, so what? They believe you're as stupid and cowardly as they are, so stupid doesn't matter.
Which is why we have people like Rep. Peter King making insanely pointless statements like this one from Good Morning America earlier this week:
"You are saying someone should be held accountable. Name one other specific recommendation the president could implement right now to fix this," host George Stephanopoulos said to King.
"I think one main thing would be to — just himself to use the word terrorism more often," said King, the ranking Republican on the Homeland Security Committee.
If this statement doesn't immediately strike you as vapid and idiotic, then you've got Sarah Palin's book on your shelf. If the president just says "terrorism," then you're automatically safer. Why? It's freakin' magic, I guess. Never mind that Obama uses the word all the time, King -- and the rest of his party -- has no problem lying in order to make it seem like Obama is ignoring terrorism. Mostly because they think you're stupid, they think you're a coward, and they want to win in November. If that means being counterproductive, then bring on the division. Who cares if it's baseless and idiotic and fearmongering?
"Instead of debating the stimulus package, Republicans wanted to explore a five-year spending freeze," explains Steve Benen. "Instead of debating health care reform, Republicans wanted to talk about death panels. Instead of debating cap-and-trade policy, Republicans wanted to talk about 'Climategate.' Instead of debating national security policy, Republicans want to pretend the president doesn't use a word he uses all the time."
It stands to reason that if the strategy for 2010 is "Obama and Democrats are wrong about everything," it doesn't matter much what the right answers are. And, armed with this strategy, Republicans march forth without the right answers. In fact, they head out with few answers at all. But that doesn't matter; if things actually get worse, if people die from terrorism and more lose their jobs and more lose their health coverage and the climate gets worse, then that just proves what hopeless screwups the Democrats are. We're supposed to ignore the fact that Republicans are blocking everything, regardless of its merits, based on 100% pure, unadulterated fearmongering and BS.
The American people have experienced a government that worked on appeals to fearfulness, sloganeering, and propaganda not long ago. Nearly everyone agrees it was a huge failure. Even Republicans would rather pretend the Bush administration never happened. Yet here they are, grabbing onto the same failed strategy -- not because it worked so well the last time around, but because they think it's bad for Democrats.
Who cares if it's good for the nation?
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