Every time I read another article or column about Republican schemes to cheat their way into the White House, I get steamed. This time, I was reading Bob Herbert’s pair of columns from the New York Times (Sept. 18, Sept. 22). What’s sad is that nobody even cares anymore – we all just shrug and say, “that’s what Republicans do.”
It’s pretty disgusting to think that this is the party of Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt, a party which used to stand for principle and integrity, for the idea that American politics is about more than simply amassing power. This is he party that first prevailed against machine politics, which now embraces it it a way that should be shocking to the modern voter. The modern Republican party is thoroughly the party of Nixon, of back-room deals, dirty tricks, and if need be, outright criminality.
The last 8 years have been a litany of actions by Republican operatives to subvert, discredit, undermine and destroy every underpinning of democracy in this nation. Suing to stop legitimate, legal recounts in Florida, packing the Justice Department with “loyal Bushies,” the Swift Boat ads, cold-calling Democratic voters to tell them Election Day is Wednesday, fighting voter registration measures, illegally re-districting Texas between censuses (and trying to do the same thing to Colorado), purging the voter rolls of black voters by falsely alleging them to be felons, and now trying to split California’s electors while refusing to support the same measure in other states, are just standard operating procedure now for the Republicans. All this while Bush proclaims that we are going to bring democracy to the Middle East. If this is Republicans’ idea of democracy, then the Middle East is better off without it.
What’s sad is that now the Democratic Party is being reduced to the same kind of hardball tactics just to stay alive. MoveOn.org is taking out attack ads against U.S. military commanders now, just out of desperation to hold this administration, and its scorched-earth politics, accountable. In the end, we, the American people, will be hurt the most from these lowest-common denominator politics. But if the Republicans have their way, we will no longer have enough of a viable opposition to matter. They have embodied the aphorism that “the ends justify the means.”
I’m still hopeful that the criminality of the past 8 years has so radicalized the American public that the Democrats can forge a solid majority in both Congress and the White House in 2008. Something tells me, however, that the “Grand Old Party” will find yet new ways to poison the well.