Wall of Shame: Fred Hiatt can't figure out Democrats.

Fred Hiatt can't make up his mind about the Democrats. First, he says that the Democrats are soft on national security and would cut and run from Iraq at the first opportunity. This was back in November. But now, he has turned around and written another piece in tomorrow's Post saying that all the Democrats want to do is build more weapons than the President ever would have dreamed of building.

In the November 13th Post, Hiatt accuses the Democrats of pandering to the cut and run constituency:

What Lieberman doesn't say is that many Democrats would view such an outcome as an advantage. Their focus on 2002 is a way to further undercut President Bush, and Bush's war, without taking the risk of offering an alternative strategy -- to satisfy their withdraw-now constituents without being accountable for a withdraw-now position.
Many of them understand that dwindling public support could force the United States into a self-defeating position, and that defeat in Iraq would be disastrous for the United States as well as for Mahdi and his countrymen. But the taste of political blood as Bush weakens, combined with their embarrassment at having supported the war in the first place, seems to override that understanding.

But now, in the April 3rd Post, he flip-flops and says that they are too focused on building more and more weapons; more than George Bush ever would have dreamed of building:

So "Real Security" -- with its red, white and blue cover, its poll-tested phrases (policies that are "both tough and smart") printed in English and Spanish -- is an amulet for 2006 candidates: You see? We have a plan. We Democrats will buy more weaponry than the Bush administration, sign up more troops, give more to veterans, inspect more shipping containers.

The rest of the column is a hatchet job lamenting what he calls the Democrats' lack of vision on National Security.

In the November issue, Hiatt interviews an Iraqi official who talks about all the good things going on in Iraq. But then, he turns around and laments the rampant terrorism going on. This is doublethink - either things are going well enough that we go home, or things are not going so well and we need a plan to get out.

The only way to make sense of Hiatt's incoherence is to conclude that he is no real newsman, but a propagandist for the Bush administration. There are any number of media reporters and academics who simply pretend to be so and who prostitute their vocations for access to power. This is the mentality that Bush has cultivated throughout his time in office to cling on to power, and this is what Nixon did as well to cover up his involvement in such crimes as Watergate.

The solution does not so much involve them; it involves us. We as a society need to learn to think for ourselves instead of letting GOP propagandists like Hiatt tell you what to think. Instead of the steady drumbeat of lies and propaganda, we need to be able to sit down and think about things on our own and ask the right questions.

Imagine this - if all of us thought for ourselves, Karl Rove would be completely powerless. He could not use the media to assault our senses with fearmongering, lies, smear campaigns, and phony terror alerts. We could see for ourselves that something does not pass the smell test and reject it. But as things stand right now, people say and do the most outrageous things and get away with it because it goes unchallenged.

Instead of wringing our hands and complaining about how bad the Democrats are and how they lack spine, we can think for ourselves about how we can make a difference and change things in our own corner. We can always talk to someone, read a new book, visit a website that is totally different, and develop our own thoughts, feelings, and identity. When you get a person who can think for themselves and who can tell their friends about what they know, it produces change within their friends. When friends talk to their friends, it changes the community. From the community, it changes the state; from the state, it changes the country; from the country, it changes the world.

I have seen that effect in my own friends - my wingnut friends were afraid of me after the election because they knew I would knock them down with facts. The biggest challenge is telling people why they should care. But if you mention to a friend the latest anti-immigration screamfest by the Republicans, they might become outraged and get involved because their best friends would be affected. If you mention the Republican plan to cut student aid, someone else might have a father who is a superintendent who can write to their congressman and twist some arms to keep the money coming.

If we had thought for ourselves, we never would have had the Iraq war. The problem was, we blindly trusted our leaders and the media to give us the information we needed. But the problem was, we had Judith Miller writing all her GOP Propaganda pieces in the New York Times, supposedly the paper of record, as well as many other different columnists like Tom Friedman and Richard Cohen beating the drums for war. Now, we have Bush beating the drums for war over Iran. Will we rise to the challenge and muster the courage to call BS on this undertaking? Or have we learned nothing from the Iraq War.

The problem with simply writing off the Iraq War as a failure is that it does not go far enough. It does not address the underlying causes that led to the start of the war. The underlying causes were our inability as a country to think for ourselves and our caving in to fear. When you have a population gripped in the bondage of fear, they will give away almost all of their liberties in the name of a fictional security. That is why we cannot allow irrational fear to become a part of our political discourse.

During the start of Iraq War, people who would normally never show fear were frantic with fear. For example, they believed that Saddam had nuclear weapons capable of reaching this country when in fact they did not. It is very irresponsible for politicians to play politics with fear and tell our people that the wolf is at the door when it is not. We need leaders who will be open and honest about what dangers this country faces instead of demanding that people blindly trust them and sacrifice their critical thinking. And we need media who have a professional distance from the people they cover and not just recite the latest talking points like Fred Hiatt just did.

Tags: Bush, Democrats, Fred Hiatt, Iran, Iraq, journalism, Media, National Security, Washington Post (all tags)

Comments

3 Comments

Tip jar.

by Eternal Hope 2006-04-02 11:53PM | 0 recs
fear

"The problem with simply writing off the Iraq War as a failure is that it does not go far enough. It does not address the underlying causes that led to the start of the war. The underlying causes were our inability as a country to think for ourselves and our caving in to fear. When you have a population gripped in the bondage of fear, they will give away almost all of their liberties in the name of a fictional security. That is why we cannot allow irrational fear to become a part of our political discourse."

Sadly we cannot prevent irrational fear from becoming a part of our political discourse, indeed it is far too useful a political tool to ignore. The success we had fighting Bush's bid to privatize social security was due in no small part to the fear we spread of the very real dangers of those plans.  Democrats should not hesitate to exploit fear when it works to our advantage but we must also strive to balance fear with hope for the future.  We must work not only to demonize our opponents but also to provide the American people with a positive vision of what the future can be if they support us.

I know this sounds dreadfully Machiavellian but I firmly believe that unless we get as smart and ruthless about politics as the repugs we will keep loosing elections and the American people will end up paying a high price for our ideals.

by Theo929 2006-04-03 07:01AM | 0 recs
There is a big difference.

There is a big difference between reasonable fear and paranoia. Reasonable danger is based on rational thought as in, what are the consequences of this action. But paranoia, which is what I am talking about, is fear that is not based on rhyme or reason.

So, this is a process -- we need to first distinguish between reasonable fear and paranoia, then move to making decisions based totally on reason.

So, that means being smart, ruthless, and telling the truth. The latter is the big weapon we have that the Republicans don't.

by Eternal Hope 2006-04-03 05:06PM | 0 recs

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