Like the idea that the earth moves around the sun, that DNA is a double-helix, and that Preznit Bush recites facts in a condescending sing-song, as though to an idiot, because that's how they were explained to him, some of the most important truths are shatteringly obvious once you see them.
So here's today's, discovered by my wife in one of those magical Eureka moments--the cry of sudden perception, not the vacuum cleaner--that give one hope that one's brain (hers, if not mine) can still cut the mustard and fry it up in a pan. Read it and weep, or stand up and cheer, or just copy it onto an email for worldwide distribution:
The reason Americans think the Democratic Party is "weak on terror" or "weak on security" is because Democrats don't stand up to Republicans. (my em)
Could anything be more (retrospectively) obvious? (I'm not saying no one else here has realized this. But I hadn't, and I haven't read anyone, anywhere, making as big a deal about it as should be made. So indulge my enthusiasm.) This picks up on everyone's ecstasy over Bill Clinton's sharp and, really, pretty unrelenting retort to the odious Chris Wallace recently. Arianna correctly chided him on coming late to the partisan game and hoping he'll do it some more.
Hand. Forehead. Smack.
I hadn't thought of it that way, but I realizeds instantly that that's the whole goddam problem. You don't get a bully to lay off by letting him bully you and hoping he'll go away. You deck him as many times as it takes for him to get the message. Once'll usually do it. Bullies are cowards.
The Dems have to, absolutely have to, stand up to these Republican bullies. We've said this for a long time. It seems like it's finally starting to happen, but nothing ever happens fast enough.
I'm sorry--what? "The facts" are with the Democrats?
Please. It didn't matter in 2004 and it won't matter now. "The facts" are footnotes in Swahili when people's heads and hearts are filled, as Karl Rove intends to fill them, with fear. How grotesque a percentage of what we laughingly call the electorate still believes Saddam was behind 9-11? How many people still listen to Rush Limbaugh with a straight face and without experiencing significant sensations of nausea?
No, "the facts" are very cute, and objectively true, and everything, but remember whom you're trying to convince when you cite them: People who still think maybe Republicans aren't so bad.
What kind of person still thinks that? What kind of person, at this late date, is even tempted to re-elect a Republican? Aside from the religious nuts and the career right-wing loons, the authority-worshippers, the Strong-Daddy idolators, and the sincerely ignorant?
The answer is, the fearful, the freaked-out, the perfectly nice but anxious people who simply can't believe that their president is the callous, narrow, desperately insecure liar we know him to be. These are the people who, if given the proper "space" in which to judge, will indeed vote Dem. They saw Katrina. They hear "torture." They see, or try not to see, the daily slaughter in Iraq. Many of them, mirabile dictu, probably "believe in" global warming and evolution. They remember Jack Abramoff and Bob Ney and Tom Delay, or they will once they're reminded.
The good news is, Dems can show they've got spine, and guts, and stones, and spunk, and even moxie, by doing what they probably secretly want to do anyway (unless they're really, really pussies): fight the Republicans.
You treat them as proxies of the terrorists and you fucking eviscerate them.
Is it "not nice"? Is it not "civil"? Alas, no, it isn't. Does it "coarsen our political discourse"? A little--but, then, no one will notice, since it's already been coarsened by six years of endless, shameless, criminal administration lying. Besides, without vigorous opposition, it isn't political discourse. It's empty debate society namby-pambism.
You do this, Democrats, not because it's satisfying (although it will be); not because those of us writing for the left and liberal blogs insist on it or we'll go completely insane and require lifelong psychiatric care at the expense of the state (although we will).
You do it because it's the right thing to do to neutralize the lies and smears already under way (ask Jack Murtha) and sure to get worse. By fighting back, by spitting in the eye of your "good friend" on "the other side," you're showing the fearful, the nervous, and the uncertain outside the Beltway that you've got what it takes to protect them from the other bad guys--the ones who aren't Republicans.
But what if that means that you can't wave collegially at Dennis Hastert at the Capital Grille, or enjoy a bipartisan laff with Sam Brownback at the next Correspondents' Dinner? Shut up. Don't even ask me such things.
Just, as the saying goes, do it. Because, if you don't, there's no reason for the people whose votes you want, to think you'd have the nerve and resolve to do any serious damage to terrorists.
Because, really. If you can't slap down a bunch of clowns in suits, how can you protect us from the suiciders?
I love that attitude! As if you couldn't tell!
Yesterday, I came up with a phrase which I actually ripped off from a character in The Sand Pebbles. When the little Chinese coolie Po-han (Mako) is fighting a huge loudmouth sailor (Simon Oakland) in a bar for love and money, and is gettin' the livin' shit pounded out of him, Jake (Steve McQueen) gives him the advice that eventually saves the day. Our present situation is exactly parallel, and it'll save our day, too:
HAMMER! HAMMER! HAMMER!