Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Republican Noise Machine goes into overdrive to spin arrests in Britain

Ever since it became publicly known just over 24 hours ago that British investigators had arrested dozens of suspected terrorists and foiled a plot to destroy commercial aircraft over the Atlantic, the Republican Noise Machine, working in concert with the Bush administration, has gone into overdrive to aggressively spin the news.

Right wing pundits and media hacks, eager to seize hold of anything that might put Democrats on the defensive, are taking their signals from the Republican National Committee and the Bush administration, which had advance knowledge of the British investigation before the arrests were made. Reports Cox News Service:
The White House confirmed Thursday that senior administration officials have been aware since at least last weekend that British authorities were moving toward arrests in an alleged terrorism plot.

Some of these top officials worked in concert with the Republican National Committee to blast Democrats after Tuesday's primary defeat of Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, a supporter of President Bush's Iraqi war strategy.
Let's make this absolutely, crystal clear: it is simply undeniable that what George W. Bush, Karl Rove, and the Republicans are doing is playing politics with terror. They've even devised gimmicks that they can use for mass manipulation.

Rather than being carefully responsible with the information they received from British authorities, Bush's cronies turned around and gave it to top GOP operatives to use in attacking Democrats, especially Ned Lamont, the winner of the Connecticut primary for U.S. Senate.

Republicans don't care about making the American people safer. But they do care about anything they think they can mine for political points. Bush's handlers are so confident this will pay off that they can't resist gloating about it. From Agence France-Presse:
"Weeks before September 11th, this [the raid] is going to play big," said another White House official, who also spoke on condition of not being named, adding that some Democratic candidates won't "look as appealing" under the circumstances.
That's right. Who cares if terrorists want to kill thousands of American citizens flying in our nation's own airlines over the Atlantic? All that matters is how big it's going to play, how well can it be spun and used to help Republicans.

Media Matters reports that several major traditional media outlets have unsurprisingly allowed many of these nasty and false attacks to go unchallenged and unrefuted.

The Republicans aren't just using the raid to launch a media blitz, though. They're also using it for fundraising. Here's an excerpt from an email sent out by the Republican National Committee (supposedly penned by Rudy Giuliani), hours after news of the arrests broke:
Today, President Bush faces a similar challenge. In the middle of a war on terror, we need to remain focused on furthering Republican ideas more than ever before. We can't turn back now. [...]

That's why I am emailing to ask you for a favor: will you click here to make a contribution of $500, $250, $100, $50, $35 or $25 to show your strong commitment to our Party and our principles?
The message is very subtle, but simple: if you don't want to be the victim of a terrorist attack, then you need to donate to the Republican Party. Because if Republicans don't stay in control of Washington D.C., America won't be safe.

It is a complete and absolute lie. It is cheap, dirty, hardball politics. It's un-American. This is Exhibit A of why the Republicans need to go.

They are the party of irresponsibility. They want to exploit the emotions of the American people by playing on everyone's fears. And at the same time, they want to avoid a real debate on the issues. They are cowards.

The Republican stranglehold on our nation's capitol is choking American democracy to death. We must mount the strongest effort possible to end one party rule in Washington D.C. this year.

It will require courage, it will require innovation, it will require unity, and it will require resilience. But it can be done, and it must be done.

And as Adam Nagourney of the New York Times writes, this election cycle is going to be far different from previous ones. We're fighting back:
But in a sign of how this campaign might be different, Democrats struck a tone notably different from the elections of 2004 and 2002, when for the most part their strategy was to try to turn the subject away from national security. This time, Democrats attacked Republicans as failing to improve airline security and, most of all, argued that the decision to invade Iraq had been a distraction that depleted United States resources and allowed the world to become more dangerous.

"The war in Iraq had nothing to do with the war against international terrorism, or very little to do with the war on terrorism," said James Webb, a former Reagan administration official running as a Democratic candidate for Senate in Virginia. "It has distracted our attention, it has pulled our forces in, and we are now in a situation where we have 135,000 on the ground, which affects our ability to do a lot of things that we would be able to do otherwise."
A new people powered movement of Americans from diverse backgrounds is lifting up the Democratic Party, and a new group of Democratic candidates, unafraid to fight back against Republican smears, has emerged to carry the banner for the party of true American values in 2006.

It won't be easy to neutralize the Republican Noise Machine. But we, the netroots, are growing stronger with each passing day. We can turn this challenge into an opportunity - and win.

This fall, we will muster every last iota of time, talents, and treasure that we can afford to put forward. We can and will defeat the Republican politics of fear and change the direction of America.

Our fellow world citizens cannot save American democracy - only we can do that. We are the ones we have been waiting for.

UPDATE: How interesting. Apparently, the release of that Giuliani email was a mistake. At least, that's what the RNC wants us to believe:
Democrats assailed the Republicans Friday for e-mailing a fundraising appeal mentioning the war on terror hours after British authorities disclosed they had disrupted a plot to blow up aircraft headed to the United States.

"In the middle of a war on terror, we need to remain focused on furthering Republican ideas more than ever before," former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani said in a letter that asked for donations to the Republican National Committee.

The RNC blamed a low-level staffer for distributing the fundraising appeal, which the party said had been scheduled for release before news of the plot broke.

"Once the RNC learned of this error we ceased distribution of the e-mail," said Tracey Schmitt, a party spokeswoman.

Democrats didn't accept the explanation.

"The defeat of the London plot is a warning that we should redouble our efforts to defeat terrorism. It shouldn't be used as a political defibrillator by Republicans on electoral life support," said Phil Singer, a spokesman for the Senate Democrats' campaign committee.
So, either the people running the Republican National Committee are really careless, or they're pathetic liars. I'm inclined to go with the latter rather than the former. Nice to see the DSCC is on offense.

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