One of the Republicans' key talking points on the war is that Democrats "sound like bin Laden" or that Democrats make the "same arguments that the terrorists make." That is, they claim Democrats make the same points as Osama bin Laden or Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, when these men warn that the U.S. that it is fighting a losing battle, or that the war in Iraq is an unjust war, or that George W. Bush is a liar.
Putting aside for a moment the patently outrageous absurdity of these claims - Republicans don't seem to understand that Democrats never threaten mass murder or talk of a new worldwide caliphate - it is astonishing to see a major political party in the United States of America so willingly naíve, wide-eyed, awestruck and enthralled by the murderous propaganda of a bunch of lying hypocrites. It has never occurred to them the possibility that fools like bin Laden or al-Zarqawi may not actually be telling them the truth.
Some of these Republicans flocked to the polls when they thought - gasp! - that bin Laden was for John Kerry. It never occurred to them that perhaps the lying murderers might, I don't know, have an ulterior motive. It never crossed their minds that maybe, just maybe, they wanted Bush to win but knew that an endorsement of Bush might hurt his chances - so they appeared to be for Kerry. It never occurs to these extremist Republicans - it should be made clear that this does not apply to all of them - the possibility that they have been outsmarted by a ridiculous assortment of losers, frauds and thieves.
Call the GOP - or the naíve part of it - the Party of Chumps. They actually believe in the terrorists! They believe their absurd claims - that there is a chance their fantasies of Islamic domination will someday come true, that the United States will worship at their feet. They believe that their fellow Americans, the Democrats, are somehow in alignment with these goals. They believe that the Democrats share the same scripts as the terrorists - this was almost word-for-word the argument made when the last bin Laden tape popped up, once again demonstrating the absence among the right-wing base of any element of reasoned discourse.
On second thought, this inability to discern between truth, fantasy and treason isn't so hard to believe. This is the same group that bought hook, line and sinker into the idiotic imposter called Curveball, drowning under his silly assertions about weapons of mass destruction (and his own resume) without so much as a peep of intellectual curiosity concerning the legitimacy of his claims.
This is the same group who fawned at the feet of Ahmed Chalabi, who claimed American soldiers would be met in Iraq with roses and perfume, only to find themselves duped by their own stooge.
This is the same group that believes in the pompous lies of right-wing radio hosts, who think Democrats and gays and liberals are the real enemies.
This is the same group who believes in a president who claims that opposing an attorney general nominee who refuses to define waterboarding as torture is akin to allying with terrorists.
This is the same group who is anti-science, anti-empirical, and anti-intellectual. It's little wonder that their willingness to suspend disbelief would lead them astray in a complicated world that requires some measure of nuance and reason.
This tendency to believe in one's enemies would be laughable if it weren't so pathetic and dangerous. They have elevated a psychotic band of murderers into the realm of Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin, much to the eternal pleasure of, yes, Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. In fact, if it weren't such vile propaganda, one would be tempted to point out which party has in fact most strengthened, given comfort to, and yes, allied itself with the goals of the terrorists. They've turned a serious battle against evildoers into an endless worldwide struggle that divides the most powerful country in the world. Guess who that helps the most?
Guy Reel is an assistant professor of mass communication at Winthrop University. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org