A visionary analysis of how the politics of fear, secrecy, cronyism, and blind faith has combined with the degradation of the public sphere to create an environment dangerously hostile to reason ... We live in an age when the thirty-second television spot is the most powerful force shaping the electorate's thinking, and America is in the hands of an administration less interested than any previous administration in sharing the truth with the citizenry. Related to this and of even greater concern is this administration's disinterest in the process by which the truth is ascertained, the tenets of fact-based reasoning-first among them an embrace of open inquiry in which unexpected and even inconvenient facts can lead to unexpected conclusions. How did we get here? How much damage has been done to the functioning of our democracy and its role as steward of our security? Never has there been a worse time for us to lose the capacity to face the reality of our long-term challenges, from national security to the economy, from issues of health and social welfare to the environment. As The Assault on Reason shows us, we have precious little time to waste.You stand up and say this, that's courage. Just like Al Gore was right about the Iraq War back in 2002 when Democratic Senators were falling all over themselves to vote FOR THE WAR, and Al Gore was against it. So at Smoking Politics we are going to try to be ready in advance this time. Imagine that - not on the defensive, not surprised at the smear that shows up, not scrambling around trying to figure out what to do about it. We're going to respond the minute the first attack shows up. We're going to be researching the apparatus that transmits the smear. We're going to explain the mechanism of the smear. We're going to expose those behind the smear. And we're going to launch a pushback against the smear, into the press. At Smoking Politics we think that going into the 2008 election cycle - whoever the candidate is - nothing matters as much as this issue - the first thing we have to defeat is this Fear and $mear strategy that has been so effective at destroying our leaders and building up their own. For the Democratic Party, the Progressive causes it supports and for the country, taking dead aim against the Right on this issue is critical to future success. A most important but often overlooked first step is just to be able to spread the news of the existence of this system and highlight how it impacts public debate. Some of the suggested tactics may seem basic and simplistic, but they are the building blocks we need to execute in order to stand up and defend ourselves, our candidates and our values. While many feel that the Right's power and influence is diminished by the 2006 election, and that the Republican Party is waning, nothing is further from the truth and the stakes in the next election are extremely high. Will the party and the leadership that ozoned Al Gore, race-baited John McCain, destroyed Max Cleland and swift-boated John Kerry lay down their arms and play nice? Absolutely not. Why would they? The famous Chinese warrior Sun Tzu says: Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories. Al Gore is ready to fight and he understands the battle and what's at stake. We are at peace as you can only be when you know what you're fighting for. Are you ready to stand up and fight with us?