Posted by Brian at 10:47 AM
Hold on, Frank...
I generally enjoy Frank Rich's columns, and on the whole, I like today's column as well, except for one problem.
As the war has dragged on, it is hard to give Americans en masse a pass. We are too slow to notice, let alone protest, the calamities that have followed the original sin.
In the paragraph immediately preceding this one, Rich says that he has long felt the public was the least culpable of the groups that led us into this disastrous war, that Congress and the press were far more responsible, and I appreciate that. And I'll be the first to say that US citizens didn't do ourselves proud in November 2004 when we had a chance to rectify that error. But Rich is absolutely wrong on this point.
In case he hasn't noticed, Americans en masse have noticed for the last two-and-a-half years the calamities that have followed the original sin. Approval of the way Bush has handled the war has been in the 30% range for over a year now, as have his personal approval ratings. Congress's ratings are lower largely because Democratic voters are upset that the Congress we elected hasn't done more to end the war, and hasn't held this administration accountable for its egregious violations of civil liberties and abuse of the troops, and has, in some ways, abetted those actions through legislation. So don't tell me that we don't notice or that we haven't protested. The public today is tuned in more than they've ever been in my adult life.
Protest is everywhere. It's on the blogs, it's in the streets, it's in the inboxes and fax machines of Congresspeople and Senators, and should be part of every single Presidential candidates' debate--that it isn't is hardly a poor reflection on the public. That's your bailiwick, Mr. Rich, inasmuch as you are a member of the press that fell down on the job in 2001 and is only recently (with fits and starts) getting up again.
So please leave us out of this discussion. We're doing our part in the process--telling our Congresspeople and newspaper editors and pollsters that we are unhappy and want to see things change now. Blame the politicians who aren't listening to us. Blame your fellow press people who aren't covering it. But don't blame us. We're not the problem.