Despite almost hysterical warnings the president stays asleep at the wheel. He does nothing about terrorism and 9/11 happens. He responds by running away to Nebraska. Three days later he makes a supposedly impromptu speech with a bull horn on the rubble of the World Trade Center. He is universally cheered as a hero. That 's what it means to be a Republican. The president puts together false claims to go to war with the wrong country. His party universally supports him. That 's what it means to be a Republican.
The administration mismanages the war in Iraq so that it creates chaos, a breeding ground for terrorists and political opportunities for Islamic fundamentalists. Along the way, the reasons for going to war are exposed as false. The president runs on national security as his main issue. He is re-elected. That 's what it means to be a Republican.
The president cheerfully gives away the surplus to the richest people in the country. Then he runs up record debts, just to throw more money their way. He claims it has helped America 's economy. People act like they believe him. That 's what it means to be a Republican.
The administration continues it 's magnificent tradition of going to sleep when it is warned of disaster. It does nothing when Katrina is coming. It continues its record of doing nothing when disaster arrives. As New Orleans was lost, just as when the World Trade Center was lost, the president got as far away as possible. But he can 't be blamed for what nature did. That 's what it means to be a Republican.
The president orders wiretaps without warrants, a straightforward violation of the constitution. When the Attorney General is called to testify, the head of the Judiciary Committee insists that his testimony not be under oath. The head of the intelligence committee suggests that the law be changed, now, to make it legal after the fact. That 's what it means to be a Republican.
Alberto Gonzales helped come up with the program that rejected the Geneva Conventions, that permits torture, that says that the president is above the law and that "I was only following orders " should be a defense against a charge of war crimes. Ah, if only the Nazi war criminals who were hung at Nuremberg had Gonzales there to defend them. The president nominates Gonzales to be his new Attorney General. He is confirmed with little debate and no outrage. That 's what it means to be a Republican.
This needs to be understood.
What it implies is that Republicans can 't be dealt with as if reason and facts will sway them. Because it wont. It 's hard for reality based people, regular Democrats and Liberals to understand that.
What it let 's us know is that reality based people, Democrats, Liberals, real Conservatives, old-fashioned Republicans and non-profit Christians have to take more vigorous and rigorous stands. Or reality and real American values and the American landscape will disappear, not just temporarily, but forever.
Larry Beinhart is the author of Wag the Dog, The Librarian, and Fog Facts: Searching for Truth in the Land of Spin.