. . . Monday August 30, 2004

The Shame Game

Bob Dole on and off the air and on and off message when it comes to the tactics employed by the Bush campaign team.

Listen, this isn’t just a problem for the Republicans. In these times of tight margins, representatives from both Parties are increasingly hesitant to criticize their own. And what this leaves us with are increasingly extreme and wrong-minded messages. Everyone loses.

It makes sense that folks want to be team players. The drive to be part of a team or a member of a club is an undeniable part of human nature. But when none of the team members have the guts to stand up and say “My team is wrong on this one,” or at least “Those who pretend to represent my team are wrong on this one,” then the team itself strays from a positive course.

It’s absurd that more Republicans are not blasting the Swiftboat ads. It’s pathetic that more of them don’t demand decency on the issues of gay rights and medical research.

But like I said, it goes both ways. It is unacceptable that so few Democrats spoke out against the distortions being pedaled by Michael Moore. And which Dems ripped a MoveOn ad that featured the Statue of Liberty with an Abu Ghraib hood over her head? I’ve sat an listened to speakers at Democratic fundraisers who compared Bush’s America to Germany in the 1930s. And you can guess how many people stood up said, “Hey, you’re talking like a friggin’ idiot!”

It is a problem seemingly inherent in politics that we don’t feel like we can trust politicians. It’s a hell of lot more sad when we are all reduced to partisan goons who can’t even trust ourselves anymore.

Concentration is important!