October 10, 2003

Lessons in Civility

Be rude. Read this peice from Krugman, the Voice of
Greater Greenspania and the Moral Conscience of the
NYTwits. There is something going on. Do not even be
afraid of the McGovern brush now. I will tell you
why...When McGovern ran, the US electorate did not
understand, they did not know what was happening in
Vietnam. There was no Internet-based Information
Rebellion. BUT they learned, painfully, and they have
not forgotten. Running a General, like Clark (D-NATO),
or a war veteran like Kerry (D-Mekong Delta), or both
together would inoculate against the McGovernizing,
but do not be afraid of it, even if Dean (D-Jeffords)
emerges victorious. This period is very
different...WHAT IS IMPORTANT NOW IS NOT TO FLINCH,
NOT TO WAVER, NOT TO BACK DOWN, CALL THE _RESIDENT A
DULL BLADE, CALL THE VICE _RESIDENT AN OUT OF TOUCH
CORPORATE BAGMAN, CALL ROVE A SHAMELESS, AMORAL
EXPLOITER OF HUMAN SUFFERING, CALL CONDI THE WHITE AU
PAIR A MINOR LEAGUER, CALL THE "US MAINSTREAM NEWS
MEDIA" SPINELESS AND COMPLICIT...

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/10/10/opinion/10KRUG.html

Lessons in Civility

By PAUL KRUGMAN

Published: October 10, 2003

It's the season of the angry liberal. Books like Al
Franken's "Lies and
the
Lying Liars Who Tell Them," Joe Conason's "Big Lies"
and Molly Ivins's
"Bushwhacked" have become best sellers. (Yes, I've got
one out there,
too.)
But conservatives are distressed because those
liberals are so angry
and
rude. O.K., they admit, they themselves were a bit
rude during the
Clinton
years that seven-year, $70 million investigation of
a tiny
money-losing
land deal, all that fuss about the president's private
life but
they're
sorry, and now it's time for everyone to be civil.

Indeed, angry liberals can take some lessons in
civility from today's
right.

Consider, for example, Fox News's genteel response to
Christiane
Amanpour,
the CNN correspondent. Ms. Amanpour recently expressed
some regret over
CNN's prewar reporting: "Perhaps, to a certain extent,
my station was
intimidated by the administration and its foot
soldiers at Fox News." A
Fox
spokeswoman replied, "It's better to be viewed as a
foot soldier for
Bush
than as a spokeswoman for Al Qaeda."

And liberal pundits who may be tempted to cast
personal aspersions can
take
lessons in courtesy from conservatives like Charles
Krauthammer, who
last
December reminded TV viewers of his previous career as
a psychiatrist,
then
said of Al Gore, "He could use a little help."

What's really important, of course, is that political
figures stick to
the
issues, like the Bush adviser who told The New York
Times that the
problem
with Senator John Kerry is that "he looks French."

Some say that the right, having engaged in
name-calling and smear
tactics
when Bill Clinton was president, now wants to change
the rules so such
behavior is no longer allowed. In fact, the right is
still calling
names
and smearing; it wants to prohibit rude behavior only
by liberals.

But there's more going on than a simple attempt to
impose a double
standard. All this fuss about the rudeness of the Bush
administration's
critics is an attempt to preclude serious discussion
of that
administration's policies. For there is no way to be
both honest and
polite
about what has happened in these past three years.

On the fiscal front, this administration has used
deceptive accounting
to
ram through repeated long-run tax cuts in the face of
mounting
deficits.
And it continues to push for more tax cuts, when even
the most sober
observers now talk starkly about the risk to our
solvency. It's
impolite to
say that George W. Bush is the most fiscally
irresponsible president in
American history, but it would be dishonest to pretend
otherwise.

On the foreign policy front, this administration hyped
the threat from
Iraq, ignoring warnings from military professionals
that a prolonged
postwar occupation would tie down much of our Army and
undermine our
military readiness. (Joseph Galloway, co-author of "We
Were Soldiers
Once .
. . and Young," says that "we have perhaps the finest
Army in history,"
but
that "Donald H. Rumsfeld and his civilian aides have
done just about
everything they could to destroy that Army.") It's
impolite to say that
Mr.
Bush has damaged our national security with his
military adventurism,
but
it would be dishonest to pretend otherwise.

Still, some would say that criticism should focus only
on Mr. Bush's
policies, not on his person. But no administration in
memory has made
paeans to the president's character his "honor and
integrity" so
central to its political strategy. Nor has any
previous administration
been
so determined to portray the president as a hero,
going so far as to
pose
him in line with the heads on Mount Rushmore, or
arrange that landing
on
the aircraft carrier. Surely, then, Mr. Bush's critics
have the right
to
point out that the life story of the man inside the
flight suit isn't
particularly heroic that he has never taken a risk
or made a
sacrifice
for the sake of his country, and that his business
career is a story of
murky deals and insider privilege.

In the months after 9/11, a shocked nation wanted to
believe the best of its leader, and Mr. Bush was
treated with reverence. But he abused the trust
placed in him, pushing a partisan agenda that has left
the nation weakened and divided. Yes, I know that's a
rude thing to say. But it's also the truth.

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Posted by richard at October 10, 2003 02:56 PM