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Rick Salutin is one of the most interesting political observers in Canada and on Friday he had a column in the Globe & Mail, Put the blame on Plame that challenged the significance of the Plame affair.  Keep in mind that this was written before the Libby indictment was announced.  You may not agree with some of what he says but the thrust of the essay is worth pondering, especially for anyone thinking about what course the Democrats should take.  The article is available on a fee basis, but I will quote liberally.

From up north, the Plame case, he argues, looks like a diversion.

That's because real debate over basic foreign and domestic issues is off the table in the United States...both parties plus major players in business, media, etc. concur fundamentally even if they differ on details.  That has been true with Iraq and the economy.

There is a consensus among the American elite

...but that consensus is constantly threatened by the fact that most U.S. citizens disagree with it...65 per cent want health care for all, even if it means higher taxes; 86 percent want a higher minimum wage; 59 percent think the Iraq war was a mistake and 63 percent want troops partly or fully out...On economic, foreign policy and "non-moral" issues, they are to the "left" of their elites.

How about this for a comparison?  The U.S. looks strangely like the old Soviet Union in this regard.

in the U.S. opposition to the official "line" is allowed to vent through anger at minor outrages committed by the forces that impose the bipartisan consensus...And now, in a time of strong, ill-expressed dissent over a bungled war and staggering economy, there's a CIA-outing mini-scandal.  It's what you get when you have a large stifled undercurrent to the left of an official right-wing political culture.

The Plame affair is a diversion from talking about real issues.

I've read lots of punditry explaining that it matters because it's "really" about an illegal war, etc.  Well, that's my point.  Why can't they talk about [Bush] lying or the validity of this war?  Why must they do it indirectly, and end up having a debate about it's really about?

When and how do Americans get to discuss the "bipartisan consensus"?

Originally posted to Night Runner on Sun Oct 30, 2005 at 12:27 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Well, the problem is that both houses and (none)
    much of the court is held by the Republicans so there is no arena that allows debate.  The indictment of Libby is a diversion in the same way that Watergate was a diversion.  It was NOT a diversion.  It was a first step in revealing criminal activity by the administration.  There is lots of debate about the war, getting out, how we got in; however, it has not gotten the center stage because with the MSM has been so intimated by Bushco.  Would I rather have a broadly disseminated public debate of the lies and deception that led up to the war?  I don't know because I also want the illegal outing of a CIA operative prosecuted.  I want every illegal thing that this criminal cabal has done to be prosecuted but I also recognize that that journey begins with a first step.  And I believe that the first step's name is Libby.
    •  riddle me this (none)
      which party controlled both legislative chambers from '68 - 74? which political party greased it's asshole & laid supine while cambodia & laos were invaded & the vietnam conflict raged well beyond public support for it? watergate was minor in comparison to the crimes domestic & foreign of the nixon administration. & while i am encouraged by the plamegate investigations, the actual crime of it pales in comparison to the massive felonies & frauds of the current regime.

      i'm an agnostic, i'd be an atheist if it weren't for mozart

      by rasbobbo on Sun Oct 30, 2005 at 12:58:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree with you that the crimes involved (none)
        are massive compared to the Treasongate investigation; however, can you suggest another way to get a toehold on investigating the crimes that are happening even as we speak?  I don't see another opening for investigation until after the mid-term elections except to root for Fitz to be honest and relentless.  I am open to a better way if you know of one.
  •  it is the system we have (none)
    it's not a good system really. it's not responsive to real world/ real people needs. it's not reflective of the multiplicities of american thought or opinion. if we had a parlimentary system we on the left would actually have a voice, the nazis & bigots could not pretend to be "mainstream" nor would they need to. but it is this phoney "two-party" nonsense we are stuck with. must be something in our national character that allows, no, encourages us to continue with it & labels anyone who questions it's usefulness a traitor.

    i'm an agnostic, i'd be an atheist if it weren't for mozart

    by rasbobbo on Sun Oct 30, 2005 at 12:50:49 PM PST

    •  You probably have a high hurdle (none)
      coming down from that pedestal "The greatest democracy in the world".

      But I know the reason that pedestal once got built: Poor folks in the US getting to see everyone else from above - "How can I complain when I'm lookin' down on everybody?"

      Restore Democracy! Denounce the GOP (George Orwell's Party)!

      by high5 on Sun Oct 30, 2005 at 01:46:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  really seems to me to be (none)
        a pseudo-democracy. take your pick between the moderate or right-wing factions of the corporate- miltary party. what diversity! should the poor who live in the shadows of immense wealth be fed or not? no discussion of whether we should have the disparity. same arguments on the foreign policy end.

        i'm an agnostic, i'd be an atheist if it weren't for mozart

        by rasbobbo on Sun Oct 30, 2005 at 04:11:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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