Monday, January 11, 2010

The enemy is us

By Don Klein

When Rudolph Giuliani, the former mayor of New York and prominent Republican, was being interviewed by George Stephanopoulos on ABC TV’s "Good Morning America" recently he made an astonishing statement which gives us a look into the contorted mind of modern day conservatives.

"What [Obama] should be doing is following the right things that Bush did," Giuliani pontificated, "one of the right things he did was treat this as a war on terror. We had no domestic attacks under Bush. We’ve had one under Obama..."

Now I distinctly remember Giuliani, covered in the muck from the World Trade Center debris on 9/11, telling the world with great passion via television what an indescribable tragedy and loss of life had been suffered in New York. I also recall that the president at the time was George W. Bush.

So what was he saying? He was following the Republican policy of the Big Lie. He dismisses the worst attack on US territory since Pearl Harbor when the GOP was in power but highlights a lesser incident on the airliner headed for Detroit Christmas Day that miraculously never came off as a symbol of political failure in Democratic times.

Unfortunately the Republican Party has adopted a non-cooperative stance with President Obama. Never in this country’s history has there been such outlandish attacks on a wartime president. Our strength in the past has been to join together in wartime – members of all parties support the president. The Republicans have thrown away this common sense, common-survival criterion.

They are rooting for Obama to fail. To use a term the GOP loves to fling at others: such behavior on their part is un-American. During the worst days of George W. Bush’s presidency never did the Dems want him to fail. On the contrary, they hoped he would succeed by doing the right things. Is it any wonder that less than one in five Americans polled approve of the Republicans today?

That should be enough of an admonishment for them to start being responsible, but it has not done so as we are continually treated to insidious lies like the one stated by Giuliani on TV.

The revolting Right Wing invective is so intense it is nonsensical. Obama is depicted as a communist in one breathe and portrayed in caricatures as Hitler, the supreme fascist, in the next. The poor simpletons behind such labeling are unable to construe that communism and fascism are mortal enemies so you can’t be both at the same time. Of course, we are not dealing with Einsteins in this herd.

The argument most heard is that the Republicans have lost their way. The days of moderate conservatism seems to be over. No more Nelson Rockefellers or Howard Bakers or Robert Tafts, people who dearly loved this country and closed ranks when the US was in danger. No. Now we have detractors at every turn.

We have Congressional buffoons like Senators Mitch McConnell and Jim deMint, and House GOP leader Reps. John Boehner and Michele Bachman. You could get the feeling that every one of them is just hoping for an repeat of 9/11 so they can gloat with political joy no matter how dear the human price. The elected Republicans are is such disrepute that the most vivid voices on their side of the ledger are from non-office holders.

Rush Limbaugh is quoted every day making one pernicious remark after another in support of failure for Obama. Glenn Beck is as nutty as pecan pie, but hardly as tasty, is his outrageous accusations and the strongest voice of all seems to come from the weakest mind – former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

What the Republican’s are against is more evident than what they favor. The Republicans oppose health care legislation, they do not want the economy to recover, they do not want unemployment to diminish, they do not want the wars in Southeast Asia to end, they reject anything that the majority of Americans want.

Why? Simple, because the worse things get, the better they think their chances in the mid-term elections coming up this year. They would rather obstruct action in time of serious stress than to help with the resolution. They are part of the problem, not the solution. And they think this will assure them victory at the polls.

When the history of the first decade of the 21st century is eventually written historians will find it hard to paint the Republican Party with anything other than a morose brush. They were bold and reckless when they held the White House and sour and contentious when the Democrats held it. They contributed to the worst foreign relations blunder in the history of the nation and balked at all subsequent efforts to turn it around.

Their soft handling of government regulations added fuel to the damaged economy and their allowance of widespread outsourcing of industry for the sake of corporate profits contributed unmistakably to the heavy unemployment that followed.

But even worse. After providing all the ingredients for economic failure, they refused to support any efforts by the central government to help industry back on its feet. And what is unconscionable is they now stand on the sidelines with hands drooped at their sides and hoot as all efforts to produce remedies to the problems they caused, palpitate and sputter in uncertainty.

A long time ago I concluded in a moment of deepest pessimism that America is too technologically advanced ever to be defeated by a foreign enemy. If the country goes down it will be because of our enemies within. That’s when I endorsed the famous Pogo prophecy.

"We have met the enemy... and he is us."