Friday, September 05, 2008


One thing happened at the RNC tonight that to me reeks of desperation. The GOP has now broken the unwritten taboo against using footage of the 9/11 attacks for political gain (snarky take here). Tonight at the convention John McCain aired footage of the attacks (link), billed as a "tribute to 9/11". Tribute my ass. Waving the bloody shirt ring a bell?

As Keith Olbermann says at the end of the clip, at this late date if a news organization aired that much footage of 9/11, it would be "eviscerated from all quarters, perhaps by the Republican party itself, for exploiting the memory of the dead and perhaps trying to evoke that pain again."

Which brings me to my take. Since when do the Republicans own that day? I spent the morning on the phone frantically trying to get through to my friends who live in Manhattan. I will never forget it. My friend Shafer worked on Wall Street at the time and saw the planes hit from 2 blocks away. My wife and I ate outside at a restaurant for what we thought might be the last time in a long time since we were hearing reports of chemical attacks. Anthrax was just around the corner (terror-free since 9/11 on Bush's watch? uh -not so much). It scared the hell out of all of us. And rightly so.

But adults, when confronted with fear, think things through and act rationally rather than lashing about blindly and causing more chaos and destruction than they had hoped to avoid. They don't invade countries which pose only a theoretical threat to us and vow to stay indefinitely. They don't roll back the bill of rights in the name of safety. Yet the Republican party did just that in the years following 9/11. We've actually been told by administration spokesman that the answer to the question of whether the President could order a terrorist's child's testicles crushed would depend on why the President thought it was necessary to order that.

This sort of cheap exploitation and fear-mongering is one of the many reasons I will never call myself a Republican. That John McCain and the myriad people who would have had to green light this did so means there's nothing they won't do, no taboo they won't violate, to gain and hold power. McCain has transformed from a man who called Jerry Falwell an agent of intolerance to one who kissed his ring to get Falwell's blessing for the GOP nod in 2008. And now he's apparently not above using more than 3000 dead Americans as props in a John McCain campaign infocommercial.

I think I'd pose this as a political rule (just like Godwin's Law) - if a party decides to fear-monger to the point of using footage of mass murder, they've lost the debate (reference - the 2008 Republican National Convention). And tonight the GOP lost the debate.

They've got nothing left. Just fear and tax cuts. So you can't blame 'em, I guess. But you can vote for the other guy instead.

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