Crossposted at The BlogsCanada E-Group:
For too long the Democratic Party was utterly inept in responding to this weary Republican onslaught. They bought the American media's favourite script: Democrats who speak out are never strong, always shrill; those who dissent cannot be motivated by patriotism, only by hatred.
Thank God John Kerry didn't fall for that.
During the last two weeks, the Bush-Cheney political apparatus has demonstrated that -- like a wounded animal -- it will rage against the specter of it's impending defeat.
First, suspicions of politically timed terrorism alerts boiled over when it was uncovered that an administration anti-terrorism warning -- that came on the heels of the Democratic convention -- was based on "years old" information.
Then, an Orwellian named group -- Swift Boat Veterans for Truth -- came to the aid of the Republican campaign of fear and slander. The group launched what is perhaps the most disgraceful American political ad since Willie Horton.
Each of these stories was then appended by a worthy epilogue. First, the Bush administration redoubled the bungling of it's terrorist panic attack -- blowing the identity of an confindential informant. Now, it's been revealed that the co-author of an anti-Kerry, swift boat attack book is a certifiable nut.
Not to mention, we've got Dick Cheney lying about 'nuances' that four year old could understand.
In short, this election will not be decided by a positive message; it will be decided by a fight to the political death.
Well then, where do we stand?
Right now, just 37% of Americans believe that their country is headed in the 'right direction', but 51% still approve of President Bush's job performance.
Only 32% of Americans think that the war in Iraq was 'worth the cost', yet 48% are still convinced that the United States did 'the right thing' by invading.
There are only two explanations for this disconnect. Either a significant number of Americans do not sufficiently understand the English language to answer simple polling questions, or -- more seriously -- they suffer from an acute case of cognitive dissonance. They cannot reconcile acknowledged facts with their preconceived beliefs.
Even faced with the failure of their government's policies, they cannot admit the failure of their government. To admit the administration's inability to protect them, would be to admit to their own vulnerability.
Such is both the nature and purpose of what Orwell called "permanent war".
The very incompetence of those who have wrought such peril, becomes their saving grace: fear of acknowledging one's defencelessness can actually transcend one's fear of being defenceless.
As Warren Kinsella recently wrote, in politics, fear works.
I won't argue. But there are many breeds of fear.
Fear may overwhelm hope, but one can still hope that fear of the rational will overwhelm fear of the irrational.
I don't know if ordinary citizens be relied upon to make that distinction -- but I guess we're about to find out.
And, after all, as Orwell said, "if there is hope, it lies in the proles."