It used to be the case that Republicans would rally around flag burning, gays in the military, assault gun bans and other non-issues that really don't affect our country at all. How many here have been personally harmed by assault gun bans? But now, in this election year where they are trying to paint the first African-American candidate for president as a terrorist sympathizer, they've decided such trivialities are just not up to the task.
So what have neocon conservatives decided to rally around this election year? You guessed it, the pressing need to torture prisoners and hold them indefinitely without trial.
Sure, they will still go after missing lapel pins, pledge of allegiance, and terrorist fist-bumping, because they are morally and politically bankrupt when it comes to policies, or priorities. But these Neanderthal, tribal tirades against Senator Obama and his wife are not resonating beyond the ditto-head, neocon authoritarian followers. They need something with a bit more edge than mere verbal association with al Qaeda and the Taliban.
No, this time around, they need to try a different tactic, and the one they seem to be settling on is to rally around ending habeas corpus, and legalizing torture. The recent Supreme Court decision (5-4 split) to uphold habeas corpus (the right to a trial by jury) for Iraq and Afghanistan detainees has sent the neocons into a fit. Supreme Court Justice Scalia called the decision to uphold the Constitution disastrous, devastating and tragic. See here.
Last Friday on the nationally syndicated Diane Rehm radio talk show, a conservative commentator, I believe it was David Brooks, argued forcefully that waterboarding did not constitute torture because there were no lasting effects (except, of course, when it leads to actual drowning). It is doubtful that conservatives really believe that waterboarding isn’t a form of torture, or that indefinite detention without the right to a trial is constitutional. That's not the point. They need rallying cries to get their base motivated. They know that their base of authoritarian followers and ditto-heads aren’t well informed, and that they love the tough guy, red meat kind of issues that will quickly enrage them against the Democrats. Richard Samp, who is the chief counsel of the conservative Washington Legal Foundation, was quoted as saying; “as a political matter, it will help to rally those inclined to believe the Supreme Court is out of control.”
John McCain opined that the Supreme court; “rendered a decision yesterday that I think is one of the worst decisions in the history of this country.”
So there you have it. As far as neocons are concerned, Supreme Court justices ruling in favor of the constitution are “out of control”. Ergo, “we must elect John McCain so that we can finish stacking the Supreme Court with more Antonin Scalias”.
Somehow, that seems more like a rallying cry for liberals, progressives and independents to elect Barack Obama the 44th president of the United States.