Tuesday, June 17, 2003

United States of Magoo

Bob Somerby takes on David Bossie on Hillary Clinton's "dishonesty." Only in contemporary America would a discredited smear artist like Bossie get to sit in judgment on the person he grew wealthy defaming.

Today's Howler may seem scattershot--slander journalism, the Davis recall, the Texas redistricting scandal, the Clinton impeachment--but it's really all about "defining political deviancy down" (Josh Marshall's phrase, I believe).

A free society depends on reciprocal altruism, the tacit agreement that we not do to others what we expect others to refrain from doing to us, even if we can. The last 20 years or so have seen a steady attack on that principle, as Republicans and their toadies in the press have taken advantage of every lever of power, not to govern and strengthen the political fabric, but to destroy their political opponents and rip that fabric asunder. Now, when one side regards bipartisanship as "date rape", the very idea of democratic governance is in jeopardy. How we mend that damage is, I think, going to be the major task of the post-Bush era.