The freedom to dissent got a double-barreled blast yesterday—from the President and the Senate. (Yes, the same Senate that earlier failed to restore the right to Habeas Corpus.) Both condemned the "General Betray Us?" ad that MoveOn.org placed in the New York Times last week.
Are we now supposed to hold our General in the same reverence that the Muslims hold their Prophet?
Isn't General Petraeus is fighting for our liberty to make cheap puns on his name? Or don't we have that freedom anymore?
Bush, on the other hand, is fighting to equate dissent with treason, subvert our Constitutional liberties, and gather dictatorial powers to the Presidency.
Yesterday he came up to (maybe over) the line of warning the Democrats not to irritate the military. He does this while cherishing the privilege of his political allies to smear honorable opponents with lies and innuendo. He said, "I felt like the ad was an attack, not only on Gen. Petraeus, but on the US military." (Hats off to Prof. Lakoff who presciently declared yesterday "Metonymy Day.")
I'm embarrassed and infuriated that twenty-two Democrats made it possible for the Dornyn amendment to pass. (SEE BELOW for the names.) Thought experiment: how many Republicans would join with Democrats in condemning the Swift-boating of Kerry, the smears of Max Cleland and John Murtha?
Turning an ad (whether you liked it or not—and I didn't like much, BTW) into a issue worthy of Presidential threats and Senatorial condemnation is not simply an attempt to distract from weightier matters (cholera breaks out in Iraq; Blackwater security guards ordered to leave by Iraqi government, etc.). It's an attempt to chill dissent. (Please see the excellent post on Kos by hbjackson.)
To guard against having all of our liberties frog-boiled away by slow increments, I'm reviving and adapting the old Homeland Security alerts to track attacks against our freedoms. I'm raising the threat level to Orange.
I'm also signing up and sending MoveOn.org some money to continue their fight. Please do likewise. Liberty: use it or lose it.
Mickeleh's Take: Bush claimed, after 9-11, "they hate us for our freedoms." Maybe he thinks that suppressing our freedoms will make them hate us less.
Here are the Democrats who voted to condemn the ad: Baucus (MT), Bayh (IN), Cardin (MD), Carper (DE), Casey (PA), Conrad (ND), Dorgan (ND), Feinstein (CA), Johnson (SD), Klobuchar (MN), Kohl (WI), Landrieu (LA), Leahy (VT), Lincoln (AR), McCaskill (MO), Mikulski (MD), Nelson (FL), Nelson (NE), Pryor (AR), Salazar (CO), Tester (MT), Webb (VA)
Three Democrats avoided the issue: presidential candidates Biden (DL) and Obama (IL), and my own Iraq-tightrope-walking, needle-threading Sen. Cantwell (WA).
(Tags:MoveOn, Petraeus, MoveOn.org, Betray Us, Dissent, Libery, Senate, Bush, Iraq)