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The Single Party System
By Robert Manis, March 5, 2002, "The Manis Report"
Let’s get one thing straight: The Bush “Continuity of Government” plan, less charitably known as the “Shadow Government” was designed to keep Republicans alone alive.
According to the Associated Press today (March 5), “President Bush’s spokesman disputed complaints from lawmakers who said they were not informed that the administration had established a ‘shadow government’ outside Washington in case nuclear-armed terrorists strike the nation's capital.”
On Sunday March 3, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, Democrat, said he wanted Bush to keep congressional leaders better informed about the war on terrorism and the shadow government, saying no lawmakers knew about the continuity of government plan.
This was spokesman Ari Fleischer’s response, according to the AP: “Fleischer said ‘the appropriate people’ on Capitol Hill knew of the plan. ‘I cannot speak to how Congress fully informs itself. I'm confident and the president is confident that when people pause and talk to each other on the Hill’ they will discover who was told of the administration's plan.”
This is laughable. Congress does not "inform itself". Someone, somehow, must inform it.
One thing is already clear though: The ranking Democrat, the Senate Majority leader, the second most important person in Congress was NOT informed. Who, if anyone, was? Apparently no Democrats. If there WERE Democrats who were told, who were they?
Clearly, if disaster struck, the Bush Administration was poised to carry on. But the manner in which they chose to do so reveals much about the nature of their thinking.
If a disaster struck, the government was to be run as a single party system, essentially a military dictatorship.
Throughout the post 9-11 period, the Administration and Republicans in Congress have treated any criticism, any discussion of foreign policy by those outside the Republican Party as treason, culminating in House Whip Tom Delay’s calling Daschle “disgusting” last week when he asked the President to clarify his war goals last week.
While unity is admirable in the accomplishment of war aims, full and broad based discussion is important in deciding what those aims should be. This is axiomatic in good decision-making, and true in normal times and perhaps even truer in times of crisis. In all previous wars, Presidents have kept leaders of both Parties informed and even involved in the strategic overview. President Bush’s father went so far as to have a full Congressional debate and declaration of war.
This Bush Administration apparently thinks so little of this perspective, that it didn’t even bother to ensure the survival of the Democratic leadership.
Democracy, apparently, now is something only Democrats believe in.