Let's take as an example this quote from Maximum Leader in this morning's presser:
Sounds good! Americans will not torture. Who can't be reassured by that presidential assertion?
QUESTION: Could you call on your Texas straight talk and make a clear and unambiguous statement today that no American will be allowed to torture another human being anywhere in the world...
QUESTION: ... at any time?
BUSH: No American will be allowed to torture another human being anywhere in the world.
How about a follow-up question from our fearless media: Mr President, does the United States render prisoners to other countries and use intelligence gained from that rendering, regardless of how that intelligence is obtained? What? No one followed up?
Let's look at another Max Lead quote from today:
I know some have said, "Well, why did he put a qualifier in there?" And one reason why presidents puts qualifiers in is to protect the prerogative of the executive branch. You see, what we're always doing is making sure that we make it clear that the executive branch has got certain responsibilities.
Conducting war is a responsibility in the executive branch, not the legislative branch.
But make no mistake about it: The McCain amendment is an amendment we strongly support and will make sure it's fully effective.
Did someone in the media follow-up with, Mr President, in 2004 you said you strongly supported FISA, and in fact, in 2002, your administration worked against strengthening FISA, saying to do so would be unconstitutional, and yet, claiming presidential power, your administration repeatedly has superceded FISA; you have just claimed the right to supercede the McCain amendment as you see fit: why have the McCain amendment in the first place? What? No one followed up?
The headlines will read, Bush renounces torture, while in fact he both left the right to consign prisoners to torture chambers in third countries and reserved for himself the right to ignore any US statute against torture in any case.Look, this is old news, though deserving of reiteration, but I bring it up to remind us, as we're bitching and moaning about Democratic fecklessness and wussiness, that we in the opposition are not fighting Bushco alone. Again, old news. There ARE Democrats out there, Schumer, Feingold, Leahy, screaming, screaming against Bushco. I'm not defending the whores in the Democratic Party who'd rather rule an opposition party than risk losing power in an ascendant party, I'm not defending those who urge the Democrats to be Repig Lites, I'm not defending those too cowardly to fight back.
I am saying that the right now, in the zero sum game of elective politics versus Bushco and the Repigs, until the Dems win an election they are powerless: witness Alito. I'm saying, the political war is a two front war, the Repigs on one flank, the media on the other. I'm saying, when the majority of Democrats in positions of power in the party believe Bushco to be corrupt, incompetent, immoral, illegitimate, and potentially catastrophic for the longterm prospects of this country and DON'T bitch and moan to the media for fear of the media labels, they are not morally qualified for power.
I'm saying, the media already has bought and trumpeted the Republican meme that opposition to Bushco is partisan at best, treasonous at worse and that no opposition is proof that Democrats won't defend themselves and hence won't defend the country. That's a pretty good trick, but one the Republicans could not have done without the tacit help of the media. The first goal of the Democrats should be to break that paradoxical tautology. Seems the only way to do it is to, yes, attack Bushco, but they need to attack, when given face time with the Matthews and Scarboroughs and others in the media the media's complicity in the power of Bushco, attack early, loudly, always. It's a two front war that needs fighting. What's going to happen? Lose another election?