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Hullabaloo


Monday, October 31, 2005

 
It's Traitorgate, Stupid.

Alito, schmalito. Of course, he stinks, and stinks worse than usual. You expected a reasonable nominee from Bush? Are you joking?

Now look. Of course, if Alito isn't vigorously opposed and if he gets to the court, the extreme right will advance one more ominous giant step along the road to establishing the US as a Christian Taliban state (and no, rightwing nuts: I don't think they'll convert baseball stadiums for use as mass execution centers of heretics, liberals, abortion doctors, their patients, and gays. Well, at least not for a few more years, anyway.)

But look at where we were up to 1 second before Bush announced Alito's name, and where we still are. Bush is perceived by the press and politicos as wounded. And the wound is serious: The perception of his administration's ability to protect us, to keep our secrets, and to tell us the truth is heavily, perhaps permanently damaged. With Bush injured, now is the time to press harder exactly where it hurts, and vigorously rub it with salt.

By contrast, Alito is for Bush as Oxycontin is for Limbaugh. Alito is intended to ease the pain of Fitzgerald's indictments and continuing investigation by changing the subject. Bush, Cheney and Rove expect us to play along on their timetable, which requires that the country get distracted quickly from the brief glimpse Fitzgerald provided everyone, even Kristof, of the enormously fetid swamp of crimes and traitorous behavior behind the sealed gates of the Bush White House. No one, except Bush's base, can be anything but disgusted at what was revealed on Friday.

And Bush's base will rally around Alito no matter what. They have their carefully honed defenses of Alito ready to roll out. But they are not planning on having the country stay focused on Traitorgate. And that is why I'm saying we must.

I'm NOT saying ignore Alito. What I'm saying is DON'T LET BUSH CHANGE THE SUBJECT. Yes, we should attack Alito hard, but only when it's entirely to our advantage to do so, and not when Bush thinks we will, when it he expects it to work mostly to his advantage. And so, don't forget:

It's Traitorgate, stupid.

It's the foul stench of betrayal of country that will follow Libby around for the rest of his life. And in the mainstream (and even some places on the right), the sense that Rove and even Cheney have engaged in utterly unacceptable, if not outright criminal, behavior has begun to catch on as within the bounds of acceptable discourse. Look at what Reid said, he's calling for Rove to resign regardless of indictment! (And he's right.)

And so, it is on Traitorgate we should push. Alito can wait a bit for that heavy concerted effort to oppose him. Please, folks, think twice before jumping whenever Bush snaps. It's Traitorgate right now, not rightwing courtpacking. Let's make sure no one forgets it.

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