"E. J. Dionne Jr. writes in his Washington Post opinion column: "President Bush's six-year effort to create an enduring Republican majority based on a right-leaning coalition is on the verge of collapse. The way he tried to create it could have the unintended consequence of opening the way for an alternative majority. . . .phew. it's taken 6 long years.
"The strategy pursued by Bush and Karl Rove has frightened most of the political center into the arms of Democrats. Bush and Rove sought victory by building large turnouts among conservatives and cajoling just enough moderates the Republicans' way. But this approach created what may prove to be a fatal political disconnect: Adventurous policies designed to create enthusiasm on the right turned off a large number of less ideological voters.
"The Democrats' lead in the polls can be thus explained by two factors: the energy of a passionate phalanx of voters desperate to use this election to rebuke Bush, and the disenchantment of moderates fed up with the failures of Bush's governing style and ideology, notably in Iraq."
What's particularly fascinating about Dionne's piece is that it posits the Democrats as a moderate -- not equally extreme -- option to radical Bushism.
That's a far cry from, say, fellow Washington Post columnist David S. Broder 's attempt to exalt what he calls the middle: Senators like John McCain and Joe Lieberman, who actually embrace many of the most critical tenets of radical Bushism."
"The United States has slipped further down the scale in a global press freedom index compiled by Reporters Without Borders.
Nora Boustany writes for The Washington Post: "Although it ranked 17th on the first list, published in 2002, the United States now stands at 53, having fallen nine places since last year.
"'Relations between the media and the Bush administration sharply deteriorated after the president used the pretext of "national security" to regard as suspicious any journalist who questioned his "war on terrorism," ' the group said."
"Sid Blumenthal and Glenn Greenwald talk about the Imperial Presidency, and one thing is important enough for me to want to live blog. Sid says that Wilkerson, Powell’s old chief of staff, believes that the correct number of victims in secret Bush prisons is 35,000, only %5 of which “may” have to do with terrorism. More than twice what I thought, and hardly any to do with the “war on terror.”"
"At the CAP event I did yesterday with Sidney Blumethal, he recounted that former Chief of Staff to Colin Powell, Larry Wilkinson, told Blumethal that the U.S. has roughly 35,000 detainees worldwide in its custody. What we have done to these detainees, who knew about it and authorized it, and the way in which we have operated almost entriely beyond the reach of the law are vitally important questions -- of historic significance -- that have barely been examined. In those rare instances when bits and pieces of this behavior have leaked out -- such as Abu Grahib -- government officials who face no real checks and scrutiny were able to dishonestly dismiss it all away as some bizarre and unauthorized aberration.
A serious accounting is due with regard to the conduct of our government -- not because such an accounting satisfies vindictive urges or is politically beneficial. It is because Americans have the right -- and the obligation -- to know what has been done by our Government and in the name of the United States, and to take action in response to it. Our Congress hasn't wanted to know what has been done -- to the contrary, it has been eager to help conceal it -- and the media, with some rare exceptions, have been unable and/or unwilling to uncover it. But these things can't remain hidden forever, and the sooner they are revealed and discussed openly, the better."