July 6, 2006
A Small Detour on Our Road to DictatorshipBy Rick Moran
Many on the left tell us that our republic is held in thrall by a mass—murdering dictator. He regularly tramples on our constitutional guarantees of privacy. He flouts the law at his pleasure. With a crack of his whip, he bids his minions in Congress to slavishly pass enabling legislation that dirties our water and air, makes rich his cronies, clandestinely establishes a Christian caliphate right here in America, and secretly plots with corporations to steal elections.
And to make matters worse, this tyrant of a man is able to do all this by hoodwinking vast swaths of America's electorate; unless, of course, you've been given God's good grace to glean the truth from a 'lapdog' press who have been hypnotized by their corporate masters to under—report, misreport, and simply ignore all these horrific doings in our nation's capital. For in the end, it is those that prove themselves immune from this Napoleon's magic spells who will save our republic and bring peace, freedom, and justice back to the galaxy.
Happy Birthday, Mr. President.
The left's 'riot of conceits' as R. Emmett Tyrell puts it, have never been more pronounced than when they raise the specter of Bush as dictator. It is not a new charge leveled against American Presidents. Even legends like Jackson and Lincoln had detractors who accused them of ruling with the iron fist of tyranny. And while both of those worthies defied the Supreme Court for one reason or another, in retrospect we can see that their actions fell far short of even the dictionary definition of dictator, which defines the word as 'one holding complete autocratic control' or 'one ruling absolutely and often oppressively.'
But the actual definition of words has never stopped the left when it comes to erecting politically correct straw men. 'Racism,' sexism,' 'homophobia,' and 'dictator' have meaning beyond the common usage of those terms that the rest of us, bound by tradition and respect for the English language, are constrained from following. In short, if the left wants to define dictatorship down, who's going to stop them?
Certainly not Philip Slater, former chairman of the Brandeis University Sociology department, who wrote in The Huffington Post:
Slater doesn't use the word 'dictator' in his article, but I daresay if he actually believes George Bush is destroying 'America's constitution' [sic] and 'America's democracy,' the implication can't be anything less than his belief in Bush as tyrant. This from a man who advocates constitutionally destroying the presidency by separating the functions of Head of State from Chief Executive — an interesting construct in that the good professor nominates the actor Morgan Freeman to fill the same symbolic role played by Queen Elizabeth II in the British system. Perhaps someone should get in touch with Mr. Freeman's agent and see if he's available for a long running government gig. Since I haven't seen him much in the movies lately, he might jump at the gig.
And who can forget CNN's curmudgeonly host Jack Cafferty opining on air following the revelation back in May that NSA computers were gathering vast numbers of telephone records looking for patterns that would lead the machines to reveal terrorists and their sympathizers here in the United States. With flashing eyes and jutted chin, Cafferty thanked God that Senator Arlen Specter was asking questions about the program because
Leave aside for a moment the comical idea of Arlen Specter as democracy's White Knight and examine Cafferty's contention that Specter was alone in standing against the Administration in their march toward gathering absolute power unto themselves. The program had been vetted by lawyers from both the Justice Department and the NSA and appropriate Members of Congress informed. For the latter, the President can, in special circumstances, inform only the 'Big Eight' in sensitive matters of national security. These 8 individuals include the Majority and Minority Leaders in the House and Senate as well as the Chair and Vice Chair of the Intelligence Committees of both houses. This was done as it also had been done with the NSA intercept program revealed last December by the New York Times.
One can argue whether or not this consultation was enough in light of the invasive nature of both of those programs. This is legitimate debate — one that we will be having for as long as there is a war against Islamism. The tension between civil liberties and national security in a free society is inevitable, especially in time of war. But in case the left hasn't noticed, dictators don't 'consult' anyone about anything. Just ask Hugo Chavez.
The Venezuelan tyrant recently received a boost in this country from that Icon of the Anti—Establishment Left, the Rosa Parks of the Anti War Movement, Cindy Sheehan who said yesterday that she would rather live in Chavez—led Venezuela than George Bush's America. While Sheehan's anti—war, anti—Semitic, and anti—American rants have been well documented, it is her obscenity laced descriptions of George Bush as Tyrant in Chief that the press has tip—toed around in a rather gingerly fashion:
The press aren't the only ones trying to disengage from Mrs. Sheehan's unbalanced diatribes against the President. Democratic politicians who once fawned and feted the Goddess of Peace have turned their backs on this mother of all whackos. But her support remains strong among the netnuts on the internet who still believe, as New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd once said, that Sheehan has 'absolute moral authority' when talking about George Bush and the war.
And that is the nub of the left's argument that George Bush is either an aspiring dictator or already a de—facto member of that exclusive club. In order to see Bush as unprincipled tyrant, one must be wearing the special glasses that allow the viewer to see the unseen, to read between the lines of stories from a press too frightened and cowed to tell the truth of what is really going on in the Administration.
The fact that some fairly intelligent people actually believe this claptrap would be shocking, except for the fact that we live in extraordinary times that have caused us to degenerate into a society where it is perfectly reasonable to think the absolute worst of your political or ideological opponent. Both right and left are guilty of this myopia, although the liberal left has taken political opposition and ascribed actual evil to their nemesis.
Jeff Jacoby's article yesterday in the Boston Globe made the point that the Administration's reaction to the Hamdan decision should, in normal times, put to rest any idea that George Bush was seeking to rule by dictatorial fiat:
Alas, while the Administration has already begun working with Congress to lay out the specifics in order to comply with the ruling, the left has conveniently ignored this bursting of their dictator balloon and kept up a steady drumbeat of ever wilder notions that Bush is the second coming of Ivan the Terrible. This criticism of Jacoby's reasoned article is from the liberal blog Shakespeare's Sister:
Convicted out of his own mouth? Or the freely elected President of the United States stating the obvious?
The above is revealing in that for the dedicated lefty, it is impossible to take anything the President says as he means it. It is necessary instead to substitute a meaning wholly irrelevant to the issue the President was raising — an issue commented on in one form or another by every President in history — in order to validate a set of beliefs that places the commenter in the privileged position of knowing something hidden from the rest of us; that because dictatorship is 'easier' it follows that Bush wishes to be one.
As we approach the final two years of the President's constitutionally mandated term in office, I have no doubt we will see rampant speculation on the left about whether or not Bush will in fact engineer another terrorist attack and use it as an excuse to remain in office regardless of who wins the Presidential election in 2008. Like the certainty espoused by liberals during the 2004 election that Bush would re—institute military conscription and other idiotic 'sure things,' I'm convinced that on January 20, 2009 when the next President takes the oath of office, all the talk of Bush as dictator will disappear overnight and the left's rhetorical slings and arrows will be readied for the next occupant of the oval office who incurs their displeasure.
Unless she's a Democrat, of course.
Rick Moran is a frequent contributor and is proprietor of the blog Right Wing Nuthouse.