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July 1, 2002
7:32 PM   Subscribe

"The War Against Bad Things" - A blogger's one-act / one screen play. Politicians with a new and improved metaphor to describe the campaign for civillian safety may stand to win votes. A journalist notes: "If I have learned anything in four decades of covering politics, it is to pay heed when you hear the same questions -- in almost the same phrases -- popping up in different parts of the country ..."
posted by sheauga (6 comments total)

 
First of all, you say "journalist" when you should say "columnist." Broder is conveying his opinion, not reporting a factual story - although his column contains some anecdotal facts.

Second, you clipped the sentences immediately preceding your pullquote, which are much more telling than what you selected:

I am not talking about a shift in overall public opinion, where support for the president as commander in chief remains high. Madison and San Francisco were notorious as centers of anti-Vietnam War sentiment, and the peace movement also has been a long-standing element among Iowa Democratic activists. The late Harold Hughes, Iowa's governor and senator, was one of the first Democrats to break with Lyndon Johnson over the war.... The fresh questioning of the war on terrorism is also a phenomenon of the Democratic left.

The entire column is a reflection of Broder's conversaations with Democratic "party activists" and "liberal Democrats" - exactly the folks who have been doubtful about the war all along, and frustrated with the President's enormous popularity throughout. Broder admits as much.

Hardly a barometer of anything significant at all.
posted by mikewas at 8:41 PM on July 1, 2002


Yes indeed. We are straddling very tenuous times. Take for instance the FBI's announcement that Seattle gets a "disproportionate" number of terrorist threats. But also goes on to recommend that it is due to the lower than average ratio of police to citizens. Where is the indicator or the double-blind study that made such a proclamation possible? It's not there. It's a completely baseless bit of propaganda meant to serve some purpose or another as it rings similar to this line in the one act "play":

FBI: You don't get a trial. You're an enemy combatant, remember? We don't even have to charge you with anything. But in about a month, we'll hold a press conference telling everybody what we think you were up to, and that they can all sleep soundly because we've got you safely under lock and key and we intend to keep you there until the war is over.

The similarity is that there is no proof that what the future holds for Seattle includes a terrorist attack directly attributable to the said ratio of police to citizens. As an attack of the kinds of proportions that befell NYC on 9/11 could never have been thwarted by beat cops on the ground.

But the news of this is significant, as a poll (here after the poll's expiration) by the Seattle Post Intelligencer has the question of whether this news is believable or not split pretty much 50/50. No proof either way, half (albeit this poll is not scientifically accurate) believe that less cops on the beat means increased risk of a freakishly horrible terrorist onslaught, who heretofore have been shown to be powerless to stop an unthinkable and arbitrary attack at our most vulnerable points.

But without emperical evidence of any soothsayer nostradamian proportions (as if!) on the FBI or CIA's payroll, they continue to go on scaring us time and time again, gripping our faculties for a normal life and a healthy skepticism lending to an understanding of what the reality of the world is. Which is, without the electronic mass-media, most of us weren't really actually effected by 9/11 at all, but we have been effected by the mass-media. And that is all. Repeat after me: We Are Only Being Effected By What The Government Is Telling Us And Having Us Perceive, NOT Reality. Real or no, we won't have any idea ourselves until it's too latea anyhow. If anything, this calls for proactiveness on the part of the citizen, not becoming mired in the traps they're laying for us so that we become humanputty and trust the Bush administration and its governmental tentacles to protect us.

Hey sit down and listen and they'll tell you when you're wrong.
Eradicate but vindicate as "progress" creeps along.
Puritan work ethic maintains its subconscious edge
As Old Glory maintains your consciousness.
There's a loser in the house, and a puppet on the stool,
And a crowded way of life, and a black reflecting pool,
And as the people bend, the moral fabric dies,
The country can't pretend to ignore its people's cries.
You are the government.
You are jurisprudence.
You are the volition.
You are juridiction.
And I make a difference too. (BR)
posted by crasspastor at 9:32 PM on July 1, 2002


does organized religion as in: judaism, islam, hinduism, and christianity count as a "bad thing" .......???
posted by specialk420 at 10:53 PM on July 1, 2002


Mikewas: Whether you call Broder a journalist or a columnist, the piece contains more reporting than the typical pundit gab. As to whether it's significant that activist Democrats are beginning to question the war on terrorism in greater numbers, that remains to be seen. I think Gore's statement this week criticizing the president's handling of the war is a sign that it's about to be open season again on foreign policy.
posted by rcade at 6:11 AM on July 2, 2002


Rcade: I'm not labeling Broder per se, I'm describing the role he plays with respect to that bit of commentary.

I think "open season" will backfire enormously on the Democrats, and frankly, I hope they fall into that trap - especially if Al Gore is leading the parade.

Remember how popular Republicans were when the public decided they had nothing positive to say? Guess who's about to step on that banana peel. That kind of talk might appeal to hard-core Democrat partisans, but the voters who will decide the next election will recoil.

President Bush is enjoying popularity far beyond the expected short-term war-time bounce that his father got during Desert Storm. It long-lasting, broad and deep - voters not only approve of his foreign policy, but they like GWB as a person and more that not think he "shares their values" according to a recent Battleground poll. The recent breakout of corporate scandal largely pre-dated his administration, and the Department of Justice has already obtained a company-killing conviction of Arthur Anderson, with the prospect of more to follow.

Bush's only real weak point is the public's perception of his environmental policies, but the folks who vote on the environment aren't voting for Republicans anyway.
posted by mikewas at 8:04 AM on July 2, 2002


"There are two fast-selling books in the marketplace that are remarkable in their repudiation of the general feeling, often reinforced by the media, that George Bush enjoys enormous popularity and stands invincible in the wake of 9/11." Anecdotal evidence shows a rather wide variety of sentiment out there these days, some of it highly unpleasant.

Per the pollsters, media commitment to permanent war against an unidentifiable enemy is the preferred route towards better ratings. Members of the public with dissident viewpoints need to remember the old maxim, "If you don't like what's in the media, go out and be the media yourself!" Everyone retains the freedom to balance the demands of work and family / succumb to Provigil abuse while attempting to stream alternative video programming over free sites like Geocities in the dark of night.
posted by sheauga at 10:20 AM on July 2, 2002


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