William Saletan in Slate:
But the important thing isn't the falsity of the charges, which Republicans continue to repeat despite press reports debunking them. The important thing is that the GOP is trying to quash criticism of the president simply because it's criticism of the president. The election is becoming a referendum on democracy.
In a democracy, the commander in chief works for you. You hire him when you elect him. You watch him do the job. If he makes good decisions and serves your interests, you rehire him. If he doesn't, you fire him by voting for his opponent in the next election.
Not every country works this way. In some countries, the commander in chief builds a propaganda apparatus that equates him with the military and the nation. If you object that he's making bad decisions and disserving the national interest, you're accused of weakening the nation, undermining its security, sabotaging the commander in chief, and serving a foreign power—the very charges Miller leveled tonight against Bush's critics.
Are you prepared to become one of those countries?
Personally, I'm waiting for the Democrats to start calling the Republican convention a “hate fest”. But I also don't think the uncharacteristically venomous reactions of usually sober bloggers like Kevin Drum, Matthew Yglasias are all that helpful. I prefer the more nuanced approach of Michael Bérubé.
Update: Yglesias replies (generically):
So a few of the posts I've written lately have been criticized from one quarter or another as “unhelpful.” Either they're too shrill, too elitist, or too whatever. That's all probably true, but to raise a point I've made before, even though I would like to see John Kerry win the election, I'm not employed by the Kerry campaign, nor is the purpose of this site to help Kerry win the election. The purpose of this site is to say what I honestly think about stuff. I'm not going to go all Kausy and become obsessed with random piddling critique's of Johnny K., but if my work sounds elitist that's because I'm an elitist, and that's just the way it goes.
Hmm. The post I picked on said, in full, “Could Liddy Dole have written a speech more calculated to make me despise her? No, she couldn't.” I guess that is elitist in one sense of that word, but not in any sense I would brag about myself.
Note that my original point was that usually Ygelesias is a good read. But he kind of lost it, amidst writing about chasing women in NY. Get him a girlfriend, he'll be fine again.
1 [Update2: Well, that didn't take very long, did it?]