"The GOP really seized its current high ground after 9/11 when they were able to take advantage of national outrage and capitalize on the fact that most Americans felt that their country was under attack. Painting themselves as the Party of Men, George Bush preened in his flight suit and cod piece, called himself a "war president," and used simple, aggressive language to convince the country he was the man to preserve our security. His popularity soared.
In the 2004 election John Kerry would be painted as a girlie man by the GOP, a "flip flopper," soft and feminine and flaccid and not at all capable of leading the troops into battle to defend the village. A pretty amazing PR feat considering the fact that Kerry actually was in the military, as opposed to Bush who spent his days in the Texas Air National Guard snorting coke off of some Texas stripper's rock-solid ass, but such is the power of a skillfully manipulated media. The Democrats were the party of women, and Karl Rove himself said they wanted to coddle the terrorists and give them therapy.
The Joe Bidens of the world think they appear strong and manly for such stances, but they only wind up looking like battered wives who bat their eyelashes and blow kisses at the men who continue to whallop them. And when someone really stands up to the bullying Republicans like Howard Dean did when he said they were the white, Christian party and Tom DeLay belonged in jail, the thoroughly useless Bidens and Bill Richardsons and Nancy Pelosis and Barak Obamas (yes, I said it) make Republican critique superfluous as they come out and discipline him themselves.
Basically, the Republicans got caught in a PR trap when there turned out to be no weapons of mass destruction. They had to shift into talk about Sadaam's torture chambers, but that was quite dangerous because the American public doesn't really give a shit about stuff like that when it happens in countries like Rwanda or Sierra Leone. What they were being offered at that point was an excuse for having supported the war, because nobody in the public wants to admit that they were wrong, either. But excuses last only so long, and that's why Dick Cheney will continue to talk about ties between Al Quaeda and Sadaam every time he opens his mouth. No, he's not stupid. True or not, it offers a powerful morality play to people who want to buy into it. And he knows the other side has nothing better.
It's incredibly hoakey but it's a quite fundamental dramatic truth and until the Democrats like Joe Biden stop licking David Brooks's boots on national TV and competing for the title of Biggest Pussyman in the Democratic Party (yes I said that too, and I mean it) there will be no effective challenge to the GOP tyranny we now live under. Russ Feingold is looking awfully strong right now for having voted against the Patriot Act. The Democrats would do well to remember that and stop reaching for Dubya's prop codpiece."-excerpted from Jane Hamsher's post on firedoglake.
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