Wednesday, July 14, 2004

In the War Room

The Republican spin-meisters are so proud of their work that they let a Times reporter into their war room. They studiesd a long, routine campaign talk by John Kerry -- same old same old -- until one of them pounced. Kerry said he was proud that he’d voted against a spending bill for the Iraq war. It was not against spending the money -- it was against a couple of riders in that bill. Later, he voted FOR an amended version, and he has said he favored spending even more. This was not news to anybody -- yet the signals went out from the war room, and the big media dutifully carried that spin for today.

The campaign also did its damnedest to spin the gay marriage. issue. Bush called for a Constitutional ban, to please his born-again base -- but he didn’t twist arms, or offer payoffs, the way he has done on things that were really important to him. So the amendment fell short of a simple majority -- much less the required 60 votes for cloture. That took it off the table till well after November. That should be a relief to a lot of Americans, including many Republicans, who don’t want the Federal government meddling with our sleeping arrangements.

Those margins in Congress can be shifted. It is paralyzed now on a lot of vital matters -- minimum wage, health care, the environment, jobs and justice, war and peace. They will be decided, not by this Congress but by how we the people respond right now. Let’s put the right spin on it.