No one can be surprised that a Hannity or a Limbaugh defended Mlle. Coulter for her vile smears, but frankly I am disappointed in Mary Matalin and John Tierney.
I disagree with virtually every word that comes out of Matalin's mouth, but I did think she had some common decency. I know that she was Dick Cheney's personal political operative and spin-meister for a while, but she is married to Carville; she does have children. Tierney, too, is someone with whom I frequently don't agree, but his defense of Coulter is shocking to me.
There is of course the absurd unfairness in the discussion of this issue. As Media Matters pointed out, Bush had three 9/11 widows speaking in prime time at the Republican convention and also made a television commercial using a child of one of the victims of that day. But expecting fairness from a Matalin or a Tierney would be silly.
The reason that their reaction is so shocking is because the far right clearly has decided that the concept of sacrifice must be denigrated if they are to maintain their hold on power. Sacrifice is a thing to be mocked, not respected in the world of the neo-con. After the New Jersey widows, Coulter this week once again attacked the thrice amputated Max Cleland. We all remember the Swiftboating of John Kerry.
Neither Bush nor Cheney has ever attended the funeral of a soldier killed in Iraq. As Maureen Dowd wrote a few weeks ago, the dead in Iraq, both American and Iraqi, are rendered invisible and faceless by this administration. In order to keep campaign donations flowing, no financial sacrifice can be asked of anyone, especially of the rich. For the first time in history, taxes were lowered, particularly for the top 1 %, in a time of war.
Analyzing military sacrifice by Republican Senators is helps one understand what is happening. Less than 10% of the GOP Senators have seen active combat. Of those, only two could be considered potential candidates for higher office. Senators Warner and Stevens served in long past wars, and can challenge no one's future. The two Republican Senators who actually went to war in Viet Nam are Hagel and McCain: hardly the darlings of the right. McCain's service was demeaned before, and it will be again. The Mitch McConnells , Rick Santorums, MikeDeWines never sacrificed a thing for their country.
The Democratic Party has a whole subgroup of candidates for the 2006 House and Senate elections called The Fighting Dems. They are young veterans who have been to war, many of them in Iraq. Republican operatives cannot allow actual service to be admired, or they're out of a job.
Most of the current crop of GOP Senators, guys like Thune, Shelby and Sununu, have never had a job outside of government, let alone seen combat.
The American people should be grateful to the "Jersey Widows," who after losing their husbands fought like hell for the 9/11 Commission, hoping that if we could figure out what really happened that day, we could figure out how to make sure it never happened again. Today, the right gleefully insults them and their loss.
The Republican party has changed. When Bob Dole was fighting for passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, his withered arm, which had been destroyed in WWII, was seen as a sign of sacrifice, and his words were heard with added respect. To people like Karl Rove's friend Matalin, John Tierney and the despicable Ann Coulter, that same arm would have meant that he had to keep silent, or face derision.
Will we ever have our country back?