Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Avoidance Points

Robert Steinback in the Miami Herald:

I’m less intrigued by Karl Rove’s ultimate fate than I am by how White House-allied strategists have responded to the scandal threatening to engulf him. Never before has the dark magic of the Republican spin machine — and the willingness of loyalists to embrace it — been so nakedly obvious.

This rare glimpse came courtesy the alternative website Raw Story, which obtained a copy of the “special” July 12 Rovegate edition of Republican National Committee’s D.C. Talkers memo — the infamous party Talking Points sheet. View it at Raw Story.


The very first of the July 12 RNC Talking Points shows how, faced with crisis, the neo-con spinmeisters almost instinctively turn to attacking the critics’ motives, in an attempt to deflect attention from the substance of their assertions. It reads, “Once again, Democrats are engaging in blatant political attacks.” They’re being — omigod — partisan!

But in what universe is being partisan, in and of itself, proof of a lack of credibility? And how can the accusation of “partisanship” taint one side but not the other?

It’s a bit like a defense attorney asking for a mistrial because the prosecutor is trying to prove his client guilty. The very act of raising a challenge at all makes one partisan — the only way to avoid the label would be to acquiesce in all matters. Thus, we glean insight into this administration’s core psychological makeup: In the neo-con mind, allies are supposed to back you without question, and the “partisan” opposition is discredited by nature. Get it? In the perfect neo-con world, there are no legitimate critics.

Being partisan doesn’t necessarily mean you’re incapable of seeking or discerning the truth. That’s what analysis is all about; the talking points phenomenon flips analysis on its head. Talking points are designed to spin the opposition into irrelevancy, not to answer questions.

That may be the ultimate way in which the Bush administration has divided America: We’ve become a nation of those who ask questions versus those who avoid them.

Look at the kitty!