In reading about the GOP "strategery" for a one-party state, and the continued use of propaganda to achieve this, here's are little review of recent history (since people have such short memories):
The framers, in all their wisdom, did their best to form a system that would safeguard democracy. To do this, they created various checks and balances. Many in America want to destroy this; some without realizing it, others with full intent.
Our founding fathers first goal was to prevent tyranny. With reference to the executive branch, they wanted to ensure transparency, accountability, and prevent a president from being above the rule of law. In this regard, the Bush/Cheney administration has had the worst record. McCain/Palin might well be even worse, as hard as it is to imagine.
Aside from the will of the people as expressed through elections, there is separation of powers. Within congress there is the house and the senate as a check and balance, and combined, congress is supposed to provide oversight for the executive and judicial branches. Congress has failed to oversee the executive branch, initially being a "rubber stamp" Republican-controlled congress, but mostly due to legal machinations by the White House (signing statements, withholding documents, claiming executive privilege, etc.)
The White House machinations also have been allowed because of a partisan, pro-Bush US Department of Justice, first under Alberto Gonzales, and now under Attorney General Michael Mukasey. The Justice Department is supposed to be neutral. The hiring scandal (involving former Justice Department White House liaison Monica Goodling) is the most recent example of how the current administration has tried to subvert the intentions of our founding fathers in yet another way.
In the meantime, the Republicans have been working hard to stack the Supreme Court and the judicial system in general with conservative appointees. It would seem that to destroy all the checks and balances, they must not forget the judicial branch. When in reality "legislating from the bench" is done by conservative judges just as much as by liberals. And back to the topic of separation of powers, where is congressional oversight on this?
It is well known that Cheney's personal goal has been to strengthen executive powers. Countries such as Iran claim to be democracies because of their parliamentary system. However, because the Parliament is not equal to the presidency, which has far more powers, it really isn't. What we must keep in mind is that precedence has been, and is continuing to be set (absent impeachment). And that precedence will apply to any future president, of either party, and regardless of whether a future president is good or bad. But Cheney, et al (K Street), were thinking they and the Republican Party would always be in control.
To that point, another check and balance is the need for a minimum two-party system. Multiple parties would be even better, but unfortunately the current structure makes it very difficult for other parties to form and participate in elections. As if it weren't bad enough to have only two parties, the Republican-controlled Congress and White House together tried to create a one-party system (with them being the one party, of course). Other terms for a one-party state are dictatorship, or a communist or fascist state, but somehow they haven't thought of it that way.
An additional requirement for the preservation of democracy is a free press that plays a "watchdog" role, and assists in maintaining an informed and educated population. After 9-11, nationalistic pressures made it very difficult for opposing views to be expressed from any source. If you're like me, you can't forget the propagandist mantra "If you don't support the war, you don't support the troops." These Bush supporters forgot that in a democracy people are able to support the presidential candidate of their choice, as well as policies of their choice. And those who try to prevent other citizens from exercising such rights are the ones who are unpatriotic. Bush/Cheney forgot that supporting the troops means taking care of our veterans.
A most recent example of this kind of mentality can be seen in the op-ed "What Bush and Batman Have in Common" by Andrew Klavan. I laughed out loud when reading his statement that hopefully "...Hollywood conservatives will be able to take off their masks and speak plainly in the light of day." The victim spin, from religion in the public square to the liberal media is a fascinating persecution complex, but I wish conservatives would get a grip on reality.
Aside from White House media manipulations -- screening, staging, talking points, heavy editing (climate change), restrictions (polar bear topics), ignoring (the EPA), and outright misleading (Iraq invasion) -- the Internet and talk radio have been an even bigger detriment to our country, because misinformation is worse than no information. As a result of this, and the preference of "reality TV" over responsible journalistic news (true reality), our population is not well informed.
And to comment more on Klavan's op-ed, the thought that civil liberties once removed will automatically be reinstated is worse than naïve. The Bush administration had a plan for suspending elections in 2004 in the event of another terrorist attack. More often martial law follows such action, so I'd prefer not to place my liberties on such a slippery slope if you don't mind.
Klaven also refers to tolerance. As if compassionate conservatism isn't a questionable term, a "tolerant conservative" most certainly is an oxymoron. The Agenda is God, guns, and gays. What is tolerant about the religious fundamentalists, white supremacists, neocon hawks, and other such groups that gather under the Republican Party tent?
And last, but not least, there must be fair elections in a democracy. In recent years, gerrymandering, electronic vote tampering, voter intimidation and fear mongering in general create deterrence to fair elections – and the lack of morality and downright pride in Operation Chaos is a great example of what is not democratic. Aside from the need for a paper trail, the US would be wise to allow external monitoring, and maybe even apply purple ink to voter's fingers, because the US is no longer the role model of democracy for the world.
Perhaps it is America's obsession with sports that there is now a win-at-all-cost attitude, but Republicans tend to tow the party line the most, even when it isn't in their own best interest. No? We hear of Reagan Democrats, but where are the Clinton Republicans? Many Democrats also crossed over and voted for Bush in 2004 because of concerns with national security and Iraq. Republicans think they are being loyal, but forget that our COUNTRY is the "team." And, if they could get past irrational stereotypes, they'd understand we are all on the team of the United States of America. But ultimately, Bush/Rove have been the great dividers, not uniters.
When you think of all this, along with the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame and the invasion of Iraq (see "The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism" by Ron Suskind) and other attacks on the constitution such as warrant-less wire tapping and torture, "the case for impeaching Bush and Cheney—indeed the entire administration—is by far the most powerful and necessary case for impeachment that has ever existed" (see "The Tyranny of Good Intentions" by Paul Craig Roberts and Lawrence M. Stratton). According to the Bush/Cheney definition of torture, McCain was not tortured. The DOJ is still trying to get around FISA with yet more legislative strategy. Perjury? Pffft, in protecting Cheney, Libby already is an example of that. Yet core Bush supporters are appalled. How can anyone really think Bush should be impeached?!
And this coming from the Party that currently holds the record for scandals (e.g., Jack Abramoff to Tom DeLay to Ted Stevens…for an illustrated guide to Republican scandals, visit http://slate.com/features/2007/scandal_guide/scandalmap.html), and considering that conservatives are trying to destroy our most basic principles of democracy and don't even realize it, I guess that shouldn't be surprising.
But ultimately people support the candidate they identify with. Like other core Bush supporters, Klaven characterizes Bush as being courageous for staying the course. These supporters also still claim the invasion of Iraq is part of the "war on terror," with many still asserting that WMDs existed. (Have you used Google Maps? You can see a view of any location. Do you have so little faith in our military?) They just can't admit they were wrong to support Bush and the invasion. As such, they identify with Bush's my-way-or-the-highway unilateralism, and refusal to make corrections when needed. And since when did diplomacy, cooperation, and open-mindedness become pejorative?
Bush supporters shudder in fear of how things would be if Al Gore had been elected. I won't go into Richard Clarke's memo about an impending Al Qaeda attack that Bush ignored, but otherwise, how could things be worse? The United States is now years behind in an energy policy, the environment, and most of all drowning in deficits. The Iraq invasion will cost $3 trillion plus. I can't even wrap my head around a sum like that. The next president will step into the biggest mess in history. Is there anyone who thinks otherwise?
What do Bush and Batman have in common? They are both comic strip characters, and that's about it. I was once a Republican, but no more. How has the Republican Party fallen into such a dismal state? Because of anti-intellectualism, people lack the Rule of Reason for one (fire good, knowledge good -- see "Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America's Soul" by Kenneth R. Miller). And just because you don't like what you're reading right now, don't hide your head in the sand. Bush supporters--stop with the cognitive dissonance, please. If you don't know what a signing statement is, or gerrymandering, or are unfamiliar with Richard Clarke's memo, Google is your friend—that is, if you know what a reliable source is (hint, it's not anything owned by Rupert Mudoch, such as the WSJ).
Those who want fiscal responsibility and small government might consider becoming Libertarian, social conservatives should preserve separation of church and state and join the party that fits their POLITICAL views (or at least poverty and taking care of the Earth), and for those who want state-sponsored news, a theocracy, a police state or one-party state, well there are many other countries to choose from.
Enough is enough. It's time for change. We need a new party in control.
"A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but prologue to a farce, or a tragedy, or perhaps both." - James Madison
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin