Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Messaging and Reason

As an addendum to my point yesterday that Messaging Matters, consider this from Glenn Greenwald:

What does seem clear is that one of the principal factors accounting for the reluctance of Democrats to advocate de-funding is that the standard corruption that infects our political discourse has rendered the de-funding option truly radioactive. Republicans and the media have propagated -- and Democrats have frequently affirmed -- the proposition that to de-fund a war is to endanger the "troops in the field."

This unbelievably irrational, even stupid, concept has arisen and has now taken root -- that to cut off funds for the war means that, one day, our troops are going to be in the middle of a vicious fire-fight and suddenly they will run out of bullets -- or run out of gas or armor -- because Nancy Pelosi refused to pay for the things they need to protect themselves, and so they are going to find themselves in the middle of the Iraq war with no supplies and no money to pay for what they need. That is just one of those grossly distorting, idiotic myths the media allows to become immovably lodged in our political discourse and which infects our political analysis and prevents any sort of rational examination of our options.

That is why virtually all political figures run away as fast and desperately as possible from the idea of de-funding a war -- it's as though they have to strongly repudiate de-funding options because de-funding has become tantamount to "endangering our troops" (notwithstanding the fact that Congress has de-funded wars in the past and it is obviously done in coordination with the military and over a scheduled time frame so as to avoid "endangering the troops").

When the Democrats allowed the debate to become one about "funding the troops" instead of about "funding Bush's war" they set themselves up for inevitable failure.

I received my copy of Al Gore's new book, The Assault On Reason, just yesterday. I haven't cracked it open yet but just from what I have heard in excerpts it may be the first attempt to do what should have been done long ago: initiate a program of bringing back reasoned discourse to our public dialog. It was when Reason was thrown to the wolves that our country truly started to go to hell.


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