He is kidding, right? Lecturing Putin about derailing democracy? Sorry, Mr. Bush, but Putin is doing exactly what you and Cheney and the Republicans have been doing in our country over the past six years. When the going got tough, you threw democracy under the bus. You and the Republicans are fair-weather democrats. You only believe in democracy when the going gets easy. When terrorists strike, when you fear for your nation’s safety, you are the first to roll back democracy, to spy on your own citizens, to take away their rights to a fair trial, to try them in secret courts – just like the Soviets used to.
Remember that cute little phrase that the Republicans in the Senate all liked to quote in order to justify revoking our democratic liberties at home? You have no constitutional rights if you’re dead. Here is the former Republican chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Pat Roberts, the guy who was in charge of making sure the Bush administration didn’t violate our democracy by illegally spying on us just like the communists do on their own citizens:
“I am a strong supporter of the First Amendment, the Fourth Amendment and civil liberties,” Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) remarked at yesterday’s Hayden confirmation hearings, “but you have no civil liberties if you are dead.”
Just a fluke? Hardly. Here are two more GOP Senators in the past year or two:
GOP Senator Jeff Sessions referring to the rightness of Bush’s domestic spying after 9/11 declared melodramatically:
“Over 3,000 Americans have no civil rights because they are no longer with us.”
…Senator John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, said on December 20, 2005:
“None of your civil liberties matter much after you’re dead.”
What they mean is, what’s the point of upholding the Constitution’s rights if we end up dying as a result? Well, I suspect Putin would argue that you have no fledgling democratic reforms if you’re all dead. So spare us the lectures directed at Russia, Mr. Bush, a country that has suffered the same kind of terrorism that America faces, and actually suffers from greater instability than we do by far (they’ve even got a serious separatist movement). That certainly doesn’t excuse Russia rolling back democratic reforms – I don’t believe that any country should roll back democracy for any reason. It’s not as if the Framers of the Constitution, the guys who signed the Declaration of Independence, were living during stable and secure times. Yet it was during times of trouble, times of uncertainty, times of danger that the founders of our country penned those very freedoms that Bush and Putin now believe aren’t required during times of danger.
George Bush and the Republicans don’t believe in democracy. They have no right to lecture Putin for doing exactly what they would do, exactly what they have done.