“I think we’ve all been demeaned.”
Indeed we all have,, whether or not we ever saw a Swift Boat. But this is what movement conservatives do with emotionally weighty situations or actions. They demean everyone involved.
In Schiavo, they took one of the worst moral dilemmas a family has to face - a decision which clearly must be private and for which definite legal guidelines are established - and put the family and the country through hell in the most cynical fashion imaginable, running roughshod over the Constitution for no reason whatsoever except to make the point that they had the power to do it. They took Katrina - where the fault was clearly an incompetent federal government, ie the Bush administration - and blamed the victims for their own suffering, even while they were still up to their necks in sewage. They characterized the tortures endured at Abu Ghraib as mere schoolboy pranks, demeaning the suffering of numerous totally innocent men, women, and children.
And they regularly demean the achievements of heroes, dismissing or laughing at them when they don't like their politics and dragging everyone into the mud in their desperate, psychotic propensity to do anything and everything to gain power.
I have no doubt, by the way, that during the heyday of the Kerry swiftboating, many of these guys were trying like hell to get their objections heard, but no one in the press would listen to them. And that many more were intimidated into silence, unwilling to subject their families to the raging, Rovian fury of O'Neill's thugs.
I'll repeat what I've said many times. Whatever the faults of American politics - and they are numerous - there still is simply no excuse for goons like the self-styled Swiftboat Veterans for "Truth" to have national influence. The typical explanation for their gaining such power in the public discourse is that occasionally the US goes a little mad, especially when it becomes fearful. But that's wrong, or rather, that's the least of it. Among other things, we liberals were grossly underprepared for the assault on American values that the extreme right unleashed in the fall of 2000 and following.
Well, as far as this liberal is concerned, never again. That is one reason why none of us here in the liberal blogosphere put any stock in the notion that McCain is some kind of moderate. We've seen all this before and it smells like Bush.