Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Playground Politics

Regarding this latest NY Times treason thing, I agree with Jon Stewart that it really doesn’t make a lot of sense.  Because it’s not a big deal.  The terrorists know we can watch them and must be acting accordingly.  They think we’re watching their bank accounts and email accounts and phone lines and everything.  That’s just a given.  The only thing new is the lack of judicial oversight we keep hearing about.  But terrorists aren’t expecting our court system to save them.  Nor do any criminals.  They all should assume they’re being watched.  And if they don’t, then these new stories won’t change that either.  Because the only folks expecting the courts to save them are the innocent people.  And those are the folks who get worried by these stories.

So this is clearly a domestic-political issue.  That’s what’s got them in a tizzy and why they need these stories withheld.  And so it’s natural that they’re a bit upset.  But even in that regard, this latest treason talk is a bit further than anything we’ve seen before.

So why the big huff about it from the Whitehouse?  Of course it’s part of their normal strategy of demonizing the NY Times, both to deny it credibility as well as turning them into Republican lapdogs.  But the heat’s clearly a little hotter this time.  And maybe it has to do with the President’s sagging ratings along with the recent surge of goodwill from the media.  Making them want to take advantage of the situation by getting on the offensive.  That makes sense and fits into their normal offense-only strategy.

But I think it makes them look stupid.  For the very reasons I outlined above.  And by making a big deal out of a normal story, they’re just drawing attention to themselves and making them look like they really had something to hide from us.  Sure, the diehard Bushies won’t see that, but there really aren’t that many of them left.  And for the large number of Americans who no longer support Bush, this story will only give them more to dislike.  And those are the folks Bush needs the most.  And in that regard, this treason talk isn’t playing offense at all.  It makes them look very defensive.  So what gives?

I’m wondering if it has more to do with the fact that the Whitehouse had told them repeatedly to not run the story.  And so this is just a big smackdown to really reinforce that lesson.  To teach them that when the Whitehouse says not to run a story, that they really not run it.  We’ve seen this before, when the NY Times holds a story because the Whitehouse warns them not to run it; before they finally run it.  And this time they wanted to reinforce that idea even more strongly.

And so I’m thinking that’s their big game.  They’re dumbshit bullies trying to stick-it to the NY Times for not listening to them.  Not because this is a good strategy, but because they’re bullies and that’s the game they play.  They like to punish people.  And sometimes that is a good strategy.  But for these guys, it’s one of the only things they’ve got.  They might be pissing off the media, offending annoyed Americans, and creating an embarrassing stink; but, by god, they got their revenge.  And on the mental scorecard they keep, that’s all that matters.  Everything works out well as long as they got to punish somebody.

1 comment:

SadButTrue said...

The simplest interpretation of the attack on the NYT is this; The White House equates treason with disagreement with them. Recall Dubya's post 9/11 speech, "if'n yer not wid us, yer agin us." Well, he wasn't quite that articulate, but you get my point. Was it not predictable at that point that he would extend the principle to all Americans, especially journalists? He is coming ever closer to ridding the US of all pesky democratic principles and silly civil liberties. Emerging is a new form of government, which I call moronarchy. I have no idea what he'll call it, but Georgie will have the right to walk into any press conference and plug the first reporter he sees with his six-shooter. As the Secret Service drags the body out, George will step up to the podium, "any other questions?"