To: The Democratic Party and its Surrogates in Journalism, Publishing, Academia, and Entertainment
From: Many Republicans and Conservatives
If you do not act quickly to denounce--unequivocally and broadly--this outrage, you will do great damage not only to the nation, but to your party and your cause.
Rather than condemning and quickly distancing yourselves from this transparent fraud, you have actually incorporated it into your candidate's campaign! This is very unwise.
You are fond of giving us unsolicited advice. Let us return the favor:
Are you sure you want to start a war over documents with the party of constitutional textualists and Biblical exegetes?
Are you sure you want to challenge the party of free-market entrepreneurs to privatize election campaigns through individual initiatives and independent organizations?
Are you sure you want to throw down the gauntlet of dirty tricks to the party of clandestine operations and national security?
The time is coming when we may--at long last--pick up that gauntlet. We know you will find this risible, even absurd, but most Republicans believe that it is you, not we, who practice the whatever-it-takes-to-win approach to politics. This latest scandal is for us simply additional proof of what we have long believed.
The fraud is blowing up in your faces, yet even now you rise to object only back-handedly or not at all. This foolish choice will simply lead many more of those quiet, ordinary, home-and-hearth, non-CSPAN-watching Americans to recognize the following (which we will be at great pains to point out to them):
You accuse us of scorning "the rules." Yet you are the party whose modern founder violated the tradition--set by no less than George Washington--to serve only two terms as president, and it is your current leader who now violates the equally ancient custom that ex-presidents do not publicly criticize the incumbent.
You call us the divisive, unethical, ruthless party of hate. But you are the party of voter fraud, "Borking," Nazi epithets, racial demagoguery, and class warfare. And for all your hue and cry, the only episodes of actual intimidation and violence in political campaigns seem to be those committed by your union thugs.
We know you have your own list of horribles to wave against us. We do not think these compare, either in kind or degree. We believe it is you, and not we, who have degraded our discourse, coarsened our public life, stretched the rule of law to the breaking point, and abused both the spirit and the letter of the Constitution.
We have endured all this and, to our minds at least, held back from responding in kind, even though it has meant for us over the years higher taxes, bigger and therefore less responsible government, more intrusive and feckless regulation, and less liberty.
For decades, (however mind-boggling you may find this) we believe that we have restrained ourselves--because of our attachment to decorum; our concern for the greater good of the country; and because we do not make a religion of politics.
Your candidate this year is weird, undisciplined and off-putting, and the electoral prospects look promising for us. So our self-imposed restraints will likely hold for now. But rest assured that if you continue heedlessly down the path you have blazed these many decades, those restraints will finally buckle.
We believe--as some of you seem inclined to forget--that we are in a war with a depraved and implacable enemy. We take this war seriously. If we thought you did too, and would therefore fight it relentlessly, we would probably regard this latest CBS scandal and your reaction to it somewhat more placidly. But it is clear that you do not take the war seriously, and therefore cannot be trusted to wage it. That is the context in which we view this new crime against the public trust.
What baffles us about your listlessness in the face of the jihadists is that--unlike the Cold War--the enemy today consists of medieval religious fundamentalists who, were calibrations of their hatred possible, despise the party of sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll even more than the party of suburban church-goers. That you do not see this alarms us. The rapid return of your anti-American reflex since the days immediately after 9/11 alarms us. We find it deeply disturbing that you were quick to send tanks to Waco, but seem unwilling even to talk about sending tanks to Damascus or Tehran.
Today, it is no longer our property and our liberty we worry about losing. The lives of many of our families and fellow citizens have already been taken by the enemy, and unless we win the war decisively, many more are in great peril.
If the outcome of the war does not cause you particular concern, remember this: the silly ephemera in which you like to indulge (e.g. a "Department of Wellness"); the crass interest-group politics you like to practice; the spoils, handouts, and favoritism with which you succor your constituencies--all these depend on the survival of the republic.
And the survival of the republic--at the very least its peace, freedom, and prosperity--are now threatened. You apparently do not recognize this. We do. Which is why we are no longer prepared to indulge the illicit tactics which you now seem to think you can conduct even out in the open.
Democrats: Do not bring it on.