By Pab Sungenis
There was a saying back in the 1970's. "Only Nixon can
go to China."
It made sense. Richard Nixon started his political career
as a virulent anti-Communist. Seen as a crusader against the
red menace, and to some the friendly face of McCarthyism,
Nixon rode anti-Communist sentiment into the Vice-Presidency,
and nearly the Presidency in 1960. So the reasoning was that
if Nixon, who made his name striving to keep America free
from Communism, could establish relations with "Red China,"
then by gum it was the right thing to do!
There are similar parallels throughout American history.
Franklin D. Roosevelt is another great example. Only a patrician
like Roosevelt, born to privilege and wealth, could put into
place the social reforms that were needed to help alleviate
the suffering of the Great Depression; some historians argue
that without the New Deal the United States may have fallen
into Fascism under someone like Huey Long.
Now, with the Texas legislative crisis, many Americans are
seeing for the first time exactly what Bush pushed through
in 2001. The Department of Homeland Security - which was supposed
to protect the average American from the threat of terrorism
- quickly degenerated into Bush's own little Secret Police,
ordered by political hacks in Texas to hunt down Democratic
legislators who had committed no crime, but were using a parliamentary
procedure as old as Robert's Rules of Order itself to keep
the Republican-controlled legislature from redrawing Congressional
districts under a heavily gerrymandered plan pushed by Tom
DeLay and endorsed by Bush himself. Combine that with what
we know about the USA PATRIOT act, and the message is clear:
offend the Republicans, and they will get you even if they
have to send Tom Ridge himself.
Overreacting? Maybe. But at best, the whole incident should
leave a bad taste in the mouth of Americans. And to many it
has. The problem is that the Democrats can't really be the
ones to push the needed curtailing or dismantling of this
"Homeland Security" force before it completely turns
into Bush's Waffen SS.
The reason for this should be obvious. Bush is looking for
an opportunity to discredit Democrats, especially the Democratic
Presidential contenders, any way he can. If we come out for
severely limiting the power of the Department of Homeland
Security, we will be seen as "soft on terrorism,"
and "soft on defense." If we push to investigate
the use of this Department in a political vendetta by out
of control Republicans, then we will be seen as the ones "playing
politics with America's future." No, as necessary a fight
as this may be, it is a fight we cannot win. Yes, someone
needs to stop this now, but it can't be us.
Only a Republican can stop Bush.
Despite what Democratic activists often say, there are good
Republicans. There are moderate, even liberal Republicans
out there. True, they are marginalized by their own party
nearly to the point of extinction, but they are out there
and we need to find them. We need people like Olympia Snowe
getting up and demanding a full investigation of the use of
the Homeland Security Department. We need Ben Nighthorse Campbell
pushing for an independent prosecutor in this case, which
was truly a much worse misuse of power than anything Bill
Clinton ever did. And we need to step back, take a deep breath,
and let them do the fighting.
With enough pressure, I'm sure they will see the light.
This is not a political issue, this is a Constitutional issue.
This is a matter of a major threat to American freedom not
from terrorists but from our own government. This is not just
a matter of rounding up recalcitrant Democrats; what happens
when some Republican comes along and stands up to the President?
If we allow this power to go unchecked now, it will only grow,
and people will simply become accustomed to it.
We need to convince our reasonable Republican friends that
they need to stand up to Bush, and protect our freedom by
limiting his power now. Because if we do it, we'll be seen
as just playing politics. Bush needs to be stopped, and only
a Republican can stop Bush!
Pab Sungenis is a nationally syndicated radio host, owner/operator
of DeMarco Cinemas, and a Democratic Committeeman from New