Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Sucking Democracy Dry

Rick Perlstein's latest in the Village Voice. It's worth reading--here's a snip:
The Village Voice: Features: Sucking Democracy Dry: The End of Democracy by Rick Perlstein: "nce upon a time, not too long ago, the president of the United States declared that the war on terrorism was the most important issue in this year's presidential campaign.
Then every time his opponent brought up this most important of issues, George W. Bush cried foul, accusing John Kerry of hindering the war on terrorism. (America might be a democracy, but that doesn't mean the Democrat has a right to campaign.)
The president's campaign enlisted the taxpayers' servants as agents of his re-election, with Secret Service officers submitting attendees at Bush rallies to ideological X-rays, and election officials systematically suppressing the franchise of groups most likely to vote Democratic. Meanwhile the president, who earned some 500,000 votes less than his opponent, busied himself ramming through a radical legislative program as if he had won by a landslide�his congressional deputies all but barring deliberative input from the opposition party in order to do it and gaming the legislative apportionment system in ways, as the counsel to one Texas representative bragged in an e-mail to colleagues, that 'should assure that Republicans keep the House no matte[r] the national mood.'
In Washington, it has turned some once calm souls into apocalyptics.
Thomas Mann is a senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution, noted for his deliberateness of manner, his decency, and his near religious devotion to the ideal of bipartisan comity. Now, he says, 'I see the damage to our system and our sense of ourselves as a democratic people as really quite substantial. . . . "

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