Wednesday, February 02, 2005

P. C. When It Suits Them

The Gonzales hearings are off and running, and the Republican defensive posturing machine is revving up to full tilt now. Fake racial outrage is still the last refuge of desperate scoundrels, and you know, it sounds so damned sincere--until the thousandth time you've heard it pulled out of political ass under all the same old circumstances, in all the same old versions:
"Leading Republicans countered that the confirmation of Mr. Gonzales would mark a great day in American history, since he would be the first person of Hispanic descent to head the Justice Department.
"Every Hispanic-American in the country is watching," said Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah and a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which voted, 10 to 8, along party lines last week to endorse Mr. Gonzales's nomination.
Mr. Gonzales's rise from childhood poverty in Texas to Harvard Law School and the highest levels of government shows, Mr. Hatch said, that "in America there is no limit to how far they can go..."
Mr. Specter said that when he was first elected Philadelphia's district attorney four decades ago, there were no Hispanics in his office, and that he had tried to broaden the ethnic mix of his staff. The senator said it was "not irrelevant" that Mr. Gonzales would be the first Hispanic attorney general, since his background would give him a broader perspective on civil rights, immigration and other issues."
And just in case there's anyone left in the audience who hasn't been sufficiently bludgeoned into agreement by this ham-handedly transparent barrage of nonsense, they bring out the pet Latino to give this assault on logic some ersatz credibility:
"The Republican National Committee's deputy communications director, Danny Diaz, made a similar assertion. To block the "eminently qualified" nominee would be "neither good policy nor good politics," he said in a statement.
"Obstructing his nomination would show that Democrats still don't understand the ramifications of an election where President Bush increased his share of the Hispanic vote by 9 percent over 2000," Mr. Diaz said."
At the risk stating the obvious, the point has to be made (as I've made elsewhere) that to accuse those opposing the Gonzales nomination of hating Latinos is like accusing those who'd object to Phyllis Schlafly's heading some Presidential Council on the ERA of hating women. But if this tired old series of lies doesn't do it for those of us who may stubbornly insist on believing their eyes and ears rather than the Republican noise machine, they toss in the patently absurd as well:
"Republicans asserted that the delay was arising from the Democrats' not wanting to give Mr. Bush another confirmation to hail in his State of the Union address on Wednesday night."
But wait, as they say in the Ronco commercials...there's more! The always pliable Arlen Specter took it a step beyond, gushing about Gonzales' "extraordinary record", (that would be his diligent review of all those death penalty cases Bush happily signed off on, I guess), and even claiming that he had explicitly opposed torture!

Get that man a one-way ticket to the home for the confused. Referring to the Texas death penalty cases, John Dean wrote:
"Indeed, by 1999, Amnesty judged that "the Texas clemency process violates minimum human rights safeguards, by failing to ... comply with reasonable concepts of fairness and provide [] protection against arbitrary decision-making by the court." The Gonzales clemency memos establish that, in fact, it was even worse than Amnesty knew."
And this is Arlen's idea of explicitly opposing torture--a weaselly document drafted specifically to allow the presidential conscience to breathe easy while approving the widest possible range of physical and mental insult to the bodies of those who find themselves trapped in the bowels of our detention systems.

The most discouraging thing about all this is how much like swimming in quicksand it's become, fighting these battles, trying to get people to hear the truth that's in front of their noses, while the administration and its minions blind and deafen the debate with their Orwellian wordstorms. I have no idea how it will out. But I'm calling my senators, and that's no picnic, because they're Specter and Santorum.

Go thou and do likewise.

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