Sidney Blumenthal in Salon.com on how Al Gore’s endorsement of Howard Dean gives voice to Democratic voters’ outrage over the 2000 election — and the spineless conduct of their party since then.
Above all, Democrats are consumed with a rising sense of injustice. They believe that democracy was undermined when the votes were not counted in Florida and the Supreme Court made George W. Bush president; that the social contract since the New Deal is being shredded; that the internationalist alliances since World War II are being shattered; that the president systematically and knowingly lied about the reasons for war; that the Bush administration acts with authoritarian impunity (refusing, for example, to make public even the members of Vice President Cheney’s energy policy panel); that rules and precedents in the Congress are being wantonly broken for partisan advantage by the Republicans; that the news media is being overwhelmed by the din of a right-wing echo chamber that masks itself as journalism.
In the face of constant provocation, Democrats see their own party as hesitant, compromised (if not complicit) and cowardly. “You’re either with us or the terrorists,” Bush has repeated many times. Yet, virtually unanimously, the Democrats supported the war in Afghanistan. The vast majority of Democrats in the House and Senate backed the war resolution on Iraq. None of this prevents Bush and the Republicans from challenging their patriotism. As recently as last week, after Sen. Hillary Clinton, who voted for the Iraq war, returned from an inspection tour of Afghanistan and Iraq as a member of the Armed Services Committee, a Republican Party flunky and longtime Bush family retainer named Scott Reed was trotted out to smear the former first lady as “un-American” when she called for more troops and international support.
Read the rest of the article. Non-subscribers need the Salon.com Daypass.
Rest assured, the White House is already gearing up for taking on Dean:
One Republican who speaks regularly to White House officials said there was serious thought about pursuing the earliest and most aggressive of the plans under consideration: putting Mr. Bush into full campaign mode soon after he delivers the State of the Union address in late January. In that way, the Republican said, Mr. Bush could get a quick start on defining Dr. Dean as too far to the left for the country before the former Vermont governor can wrap up the primaries and begin trying to move himself toward the political center.
Bring ’em on.
Update: Nothing against Salon.com, but Sidney Blumenthal’s article is also in The Guardian. No subscription needed.