April 1, 2003
Winning the Hearts and Minds of Americans: The Battle for Democracy in Our Homeland
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL
Second in a Series of BuzzFlash Editorials
Part II: The Democratic Leadership Doesn't Even Have a Clue
We have to hand it to the Bush Cartel and the GOP; they are masters at controlling the national political debate. The Democrats don't even have a clue as to what they are up against: never have, and, it seems, they never will.
It, of course, helps that the corporate news media is, in large part, an extension of the Karl Rove White House propaganda office.
But, the Republicans were able to control much of the news media coverage during the eight years of the Clinton administration. So it doesn't require holding down the White House to control and direct a media frenzy.
The Bush Cartel and the GOP have three primary media tactics:
1) They create ongoing "factoids" that become long-term media events (frenzies) that, for all practical purposes, drown out meaningful public policy debates.
2) They know how to utilize sensational headlines to influence public opinion, even if the substance of the stories is not true. They know that the "three-alarm" headline will be on the front page -- and may lead television and radio news reports -- but the retraction, if one is forced out of them by leaked evidence, will be on page 56 or not reported at all.
3) They discredit Democrats and other opponents through smear campaigns, making their alleged personalities an issue, not their policies.
Given that the vast majority of the American public doesn't agree with the Bush Cartel and its extremist right wing ideology, the Cartel resorts to the three tactics above to accumulate power and pass radical budgetary, secrecy, anti-Constitutional and social agendas.
Let's offer some examples of these three tactics.
The war on Iraq is the best and purest form of point number one. As most BuzzFlash readers know, attacking Iraq has been on the radar of the Neo-Con Bush Cartel administration members for years. But it was only seriously rolled out as a "new product" (as White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card called it) in September of 2002. Since that time it has dominated media news coverage, drowning out any serious debate about the decimation that Bush is causing to the national budget and social services for Americans, including Social Security and Medicare. The war becomes a compelling, ongoing "factoid" for the media. It is the political equivalent of a media nuclear bomb. No other stories had a meaningful chance of serious survival once it hit.
Furthermore, the war is actually composed of dropping more nuclear bombs everyday in the form of spin-off stories that shock and awe. Look at the "side story" of the Bush Cartel's effort to simultaneously cudgel the U.N. into submission and destroy it at the same time. Lot's of media ink spent on that one.
The Republicans took a similar tack with the war that they launched against Bill Clinton. For nearly eight years, they grabbed press headlines by pursuing a politically-motivated "investigation in search of a crime." The press followed each new court development and Ken Starr-dropped leak with bated breath. The ongoing unfolding of this "factoid" prevented Clinton from advancing a long-term political agenda that would be supported by most of the American public.
In the case of Clinton, the "factoid" of the trumped up multi-year Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky political jihad also served a dual purpose. It fulfilled the third goal cited above: it smeared and discredited Clinton to the point of almost literally emasculating his ability to lead the nation. The Republicans and the Bush Cartel learned long ago that smearing Democrats is far more effective than debating them on the issues. That's because the American people don't support the ideological fanaticism and fundamentalism that the Bush Cartel likes to hide under the carpet.
And for a good example of point two, we actually want to travel over to Britain. It appears that Tony Blair has not only become the lapdog poodle for the right wing in America, he has fully adopted their deceptive tabloid media tactics. Many BuzzFlash readers are aware that Blair personally accused the Iraqis of the barbaric act of executing two British soldiers. Needless to say, Blair's charge caused a feeling of outrage in Britain. In fact, the British military had informed the parents of the two British soldiers that they had actually been shot in combat.
It turns out that Blair has absolutely no proof that the soldiers were executed and was just trying to make propaganda points. The parents of one of the soldiers are furious at Blair's political grandstanding at their expense. (See: Article Link) But, as the Republicans know, the Blair execution charge will stick, even if it was "barbaric" for Tony Blair to use dead British soldiers to try to boost his sagging polls. He's learned well from the Bush Cartel. No doubt his public relations people were tutored by Karl Rove.
And what about the Democrats?
As we said, they don't have a clue. They keep thinking that when "it all settles down again," they can discuss "ideas and public policy." You know those warm and fuzzy "bread and butter issues."
They don't understand that the Bush Cartel has plans to ensure that the Democrats never get to run an election on domestic issues, including the economy and the budget deficit. The Democratic Poobahs don't understand that if the war on terrorism died down, which the Bush Cartel won't let happen, Karl Rove would find another issue to distract attention from a meaningful debate on public policy.
Let's look at the last election in 2000. Rove, the master of the dart and smear campaign, made Al Gore into a caricature. He portrayed Al Gore as an insincere prevaricator. Of course, the obedient press, including the New York Times and Washington Post, swallowed Rove's seedy attack hook line and sinker. Bush lied his way through the campaign, barely uttering one truth, but Gore ended up being created into a caricature of Pinocchio.
When the Democrats have had the chance to speak the TRUTH about Bush, they have retreated as if telling the truth about Little Caesar were actually telling a lie. When they controlled the Senate, they let him off free as a bird on Enron, Harken Oil, September 11th, campaign contributions, energy planning, nepotism in the administration, John Ashcroft, the dismantling of our civil liberties, federal contracts for cronies and contributors, using fear as a political tactic, chronic lying, tax breaks for the rich...well, once again, we don't have enough time to list all the improprieties that the Democrats could have used their investigative powers to probe. They didn't need to create a factoid; Bush did the dirty deeds for them. All they had to do was use a Senate Committee to appropriately investigate the Bush administration for possible illegalities.
If they had investigated, they had a chance of derailing the September push for the war -- a "campaign" based on a daily dose of lies and falsehoods. They had a chance to show Americans that they could lead. They had a chance to define the debate and win the November elections. But, instead, they just sat there and did nothing.
And now, when Bush is unmasked as having started a war without the necessary preparations to minimize the risks for our soldiers, we haven't heard a peep out of any Congressional Democratic leaders. So, the latest Bush outrage and betrayal of our soldiers will blow over within the next few news cycles.
But when John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, among others, continue to support Bush's "leadership" on this war, remember that, in doing so, they, too, share responsibility for the fate of our soldiers. They, too, share responsibility for the deaths that could have been avoided if Bush and Rumsfeld hadn't knowingly dismissed the advice of our top generals and the C.I.A.
In trying to "play it politically safe," Kerry and Clinton are, like Bush, also turning their backs on the safety of our soldiers.
As long as the Democrats allow Bush to appear credible -- when his rule is actually built upon a sea of lies and deception -- they will only advance the prospects of America being a nation of one-party rule for the foreseeable future, if not for years to come.
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL
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I: The "Infallibility" of America's God King
otherwise noted, all original