Wednesday, January 03, 2007
I honestly and truly appreciate Keith Olbermann. He is providing an indispensable service to the nation by being the only cable news program that is not tilted to the conservative point of view. Olbermann is passionate, articulate, intelligent, humorous, and I'm glad he's on the side of sanity. His special comments are masterful works of commentary.
Having said that, I in large part actually disagree with Brother Olbermann on the tenor of his latest comment. The point by point logic he used to reach his conclusions was flawless as usual. However, in general, I believe he places entirely too much weight on the meaning of the call to sacrifice coming from the White house.
Do not get me wrong. I agree with Olbermann that what has been asked of the nation, and what is being asked going forward is too costly by far. This war wasn't worth the blood of one American soldier, or worth one single tax payer dollar.
But when the President calls for a surge and appeals to Americans to sacrifice, how does that affect the average American? He's doing this on the backs of the military. The military families have already been called upon to sacrfice tremendously, and the President only promises to increase the measure of their sacrfice. But the average American? If you are not in a military family, what exactly is this President asking you to sacrifice?
There are sacrifices the President could ask of us that would be helpful in the war on terror. (Please forgive the use of an imperfect term, but the war on terror is common usage for the struggle we find ourselves in.) He could ask for the wealthiest Americans to pay a bit more in taxes in order to fund the effort. Yet today he "authored" an editorial in the WSJ in which he stated unequivically that he positively will not raise taxes. He could request higher gas milage standards be passed in order to wean our nation from a dependence on middle east oil. If he were to really go off the deep end the President could even ask for the institution of a draft in order to build up a depleted military. But to do any of this would be to sacrfice something which the President could NEVER be called upon to give away. Political standing.
The President knows that to truly ask the general American public for actual sacrfice would to even further decrease already rock bottom support for his policies. The President is not willing to sacrifice any of his public stature or what may remain of his political capitol in a true call for sacrifice on the part of Americans.
However he thinks he can coax a few more supporters onto his side of the great divide if he makes them think they are sacrificing by supporting a troop surge. If the public is told that to support the surge is to sacrifice, maybe a few will believe it and support the surge out of a misplaced altruism. Thus we have an appeal for sacrfice, but not really.
So to me, brother Olbermanns take on the Presidents call to sacrifice precisely plays into the hands of the President in trying to make it appear that the surge actually will require sacrifice from the nation as a whole. The President is not making that call at all actually. He wants to appear to be doing so, but what the President really calls for is more of, more of the same. He wants you to continue to go shopping, not pay as much as you had to under Clinton and balanced budgets, and generally continue being fat and happy.
Let me again state... The sacrifice here is by the military families and members. I think it reaches the height of political cynicism to make it appear that the nation is being called to sacrifice even as we are told to go shopping. Let us acknowlege the sacrifice of those who are truly giving to the cause, and not pretend that it is you or me if it truly is not the case.
And to Olbermann and any of his supporters who may read this post, for what it's worth... keep up the good work. The true measure of honesty in dealing with a given issue is the ability to speak against those who you normally agree with. Olbermann is very much appreciated, and I look forward to his next special comment.
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