The GOP Way: Blame Everyone Else (Re: The Schiavo “Talking Points” Memo)
This is in a very real way a mirror of one of the worse aspects of American culture, the propensity to blame anyone but yourself or fate for something bad that happens. When children seem badly raised, it’s because of music, TV, movies, schools, video games, their friends, or society in general–but never the parents, it seems, at least according to the parents. If a person gets injured, then somebody usually gets sued–it was the fault of somebody else involved, whether they were there or if they were responsible for manufacturing or managing something involved in the accident–but not the fault of the person who got injured, and not simply an accident of fate that happened somehow.
In politics, the GOP are masters of this mindset. Always blame somebody else: the Democrats, particularly Bill Clinton, are a good target, and if you can’t pin it on them, then some legal aide will do the trick. The poor economy? Blame Clinton. 9/11? Clinton. Record deficits? Due to the economy and 9/11, so blame Clinton. Valerie Plame affair? Hmm, can’t blame Clinton or the Democrats for that one… it was some legal aide!
Bush himself mastered this tactic well during the 2000 election campaign, when his drunk driving arrest became public. Despite having committed such a reprehensible offense and then lied about it for so many years, and despite being a presidential candidate with such a serious offense on his record, he successfully played the revelation as being the fault of the Democrats! Here’s Bush’s take:
The Bush campaign charges that Democratic “dirty tricks” are responsible for the disclosure of information about George W. Bush’s 1976 drunk driving arrest.
“I think the American people are tired of this kind of ‘gotcha politics,’” Bush spokeswoman Karen Hughes said Friday. “They’re tired of this kind of last minute dirty tricks and I think the Democrats owe the American people an explanation.”
Arnold Schwarzenegger similarly blamed the fifteen charges of sexual harassment against him on Gray Davis, also calling them “dirty tricks,” intimating they were not his fault but should be blamed on the Democrat.
Well, it would be out of character for the GOP to stop now, wouldn’t it? So that’s what happened in the Terri Schiavo case, when it was revealed that there was a Republican talking-points memo floating about which called for Republicans to take advantage of the issue for political gain. The memo said that Schiavo was “an important moral issue and the pro life base will be excited,” and that it is a “great political issue because Sen. Nelson of Florida has already refused to become a co-sponsor and this is a tough issue for Democrats.”
When this was revealed, Republicans immediately blamed the Democrats. The memo was a fake, they said, and the Democrats were undeniably guilty of having forged the memo as a political dirty trick! Republicans everywhere were discussing the forgery, especially on conservative forums where people were downright pissed off that those bastard Democrats were forging documents again! They were not only upset that the Democrats were up to their old dirty tricks, but where the hell was the press in reporting on this debacle?? It’s the liberal media, at it again!!
But then it came to light that Florida GOP Senator Mel Martinez himself was the source of the memo. He actually handed the memo to Democratic Senator Tom Harkin, calling it the Republican talking points memo! Whoops!
So now, are the same outraged voices in the GOP singing mea culpas? Of course not! It still isn’t a GOP blunder. It was a legal aide who wrote the memo, and Senator Martinez had no idea what was written on it when he handed it to Harkin! Of course he would never approve of such a document! In fact, he stated officially that “Until this afternoon, I had never seen it and had no idea a copy of it had ever been in my possession.” Of course! His legal aide wrote the memo and put it into his pocket without the senator’s knowledge, and then Martinez took the piece of paper out and handed it to Harkin, calling it the GOP “talking points memo”–but he still had “no idea” what the piece of paper was! Happens all the time!
So yet again, blame the Democrats, and when that fails, fall back on the villainous legal aide who single-handedly commits the deed without anyone else in the GOP knowing a thing about it. I gotta tell you, by now the GOP is rife with dastardly legal aides. They should do something about this infestation, ’cause it’s really making them look bad.