It's tough to wrap one's brain around what happened last night. No doubt, the Dems are rightly indignant about the vicious and fallacious smears of the GOP. And perhaps it'll spur them, and the rest of America, to step up to the plate. Bile of that sort frequently does.
The GOP, seemingly, in free fall towards doing whatever they need to do, have become a party quite willing to "win at all costs". The smears no longer take place solely amongst the shadowy dirty-tricksters, or in the last few days of the campaign. They are now quite public and, more troublingly, acceptable to an entire half of our only two viable political parties of the moment. Never mind the implications for America itself and/or the world through such vitriolic and poisonous tactics, the GOP is all in favor of them! And they're not shy about it anymore!
None other than the "Vice-President" of the United States himself is not only able, but apparently quite pleased with himself thanks for lying about and mischaracterizing his opponent in the number one national public political forum. "He talks about leading a 'more sensitive war on terror,' as though Al Qaeda will be impressed with our softer side," said the Veep, knowing full well what the war hero, 20 year public servant and Democratic Presidential Nominee John Kerry actually said on the subject. And never mind what Cheney and Bush themselves have had to say about "sensitivity" in this war.
From Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the Talk Radio Nation, we'd expect it. From a sitting "Vice-President" --- at a supposed "time of war" --- it's just embarrassing, frankly, as a patriotic American.
And yet, the "America Loving" Republican Party goes wild with applause and approval for such slimy tactics and clearly (for surely, even they realize it, right?) disingenous rhetoric.
Then their was Zell, the former Dixiecrat/segregationalist who had until recently referred to John Kerry as "an authentic hero" and "strong on defense" and --- before he flipped --- characterized the Republican party as "having sold out their country". There he was, wagging his crooked finger and flapping his forked tongue for the approval of the trained seals.
He, like Cheney, is more than welcome to do so, of course, but really, is that what the Republican Party wants to reveal as their true face? Is that the "Compassionate Conservatism" we hear so much about for a few weeks every four years?
Never mind the errant and misleading substance itself of Miller's barked outrage. (The bulk of the Defense Cuts he accused Kerry of supporting were the very same ones submitted and requested by --- who else? --- Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney himself!) But, like Pat Buchanan's torching of the '92 GOP convention, it's Miller's tone here that will both enliven the already-sold-on-Bush angry base, but send the moderates and undecideds fleeing for the exit doors once the dust has settled and they come to understand what's really going on here.
It's no mistake, that the smoke-filled back rooms of the GOP bosses chose a guy like Alan Keyes (begged him, in fact, as BRAD BLOG commentor Johnhp has pointed out) to be their US Senate Nominee from Illinois. A guy who refers to his own Vice-President's daughter as a "selfish hedonist". The bosses are angry and bitter, though it's hard to understand why, since they control all branches of the U.S. Government. But hey, even eating their own young is worth it for a few more angry white votes. Their public choices tell that story painfully plainly.
At this point, with the Media itself so cowed by these vitriolic con men, it's reasonable to believe they will continue to do what they've done so far in this campaign: Dutifully stick to repeating Karl Rove's press releases and reporting the thunder of the trained seals as they beat their fins together.
But oddly enough --- and it really is odd, given the noise pitched against them --- the American People have a way of rising above such unseemly phoney-baloney when it reaches the type of fevered pitch that it now officially has. Zell and Cheney lit the fuse last night, and it's likely only going to get worse between now and November. But usually the American People end up getting it. I'd like to think they will this time as well. But if not, they will get precisely what they deserve: Four more years.