If you haven’t read the transcript of Al Gore’s speech on Monday, you really should. At last, someone explains, eloquently and forcefully, everything that’s wrong about the Bush Administration’s shameless disregard for the rule of law. Drawing on examples from the NSA wiretapping scandal, from Guantanamo and Abu Graib, from the practice of extraordinary rendition, and even from Vietnam, it explains why the Adminstration’s preposterous assumption of all powers under the rubric of “war powers” is a threat to our democracy itself.
The problem of course, is that no-one will hear the message. It’s a shame it can’t be condensed to a simple message that people will actually hear and understand, rather than having to read a 10-page transcript of a speech given to a select audience, but the fact remains that this is a complex issue that doesn’t submit easily to the soundbite. The best passage I could find that comes close is in fact a quote from a Yale professor:
“If the president has commander-in-chief power to commit torture, he has the power to commit genocide, to sanction slavery, to promote apartheid, to license summary execution.”
but I fear the only soundbite that will emerge is the following:
This effort to rework America’s carefully balanced constitutional design into a lopsided structure dominated by an all-powerful executive branch, with a subservient Congress and subservient judiciary, is ironically accompanied by an effort by the same administration to rework America’s foreign policy from one that is based primarily on U.S. moral authority into one that is based on a misguided and self-defeating effort to establish a form of dominance in the world.
which generated applause during the speech (according to the transcript), but devoid of context I’m certain will be reproduced in the right-wing blogs with the caption “Why does Al Gore hate America?”
To the Democrats: more of this please, but next time, let’s package it for TV, ok?