Rewarding unreasonable behavior.

On the anniversary of 9/11, Republican spokesperson and renowned liar, Rush Limbaugh, chastised President Obama for trying to turn 9/11 into a day of public service.  Wow!  How dare the President want to commemorate the attacks on U.S. soil with something positive!  How dare the President try to encourage Americans to serve their nation! 

Certainly, the past President never encouraged public service and sacrifice.  In the wake of 9/11, Bush asked us to go shopping.  And while our young people were serving and dying in Afghanistan and Iraq, he pushed for tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.  (I guess he believed that only the middle class and poor should sacrifice for their country.)  Bush refused to allow press coverage and photographs of the true cost of war.  Indeed, Republicans treated war much as the Wizard of Oz would.  “Pay no attention to what’s behind that curtain.”

But, in reality, Republican criticism has nothing to do with President Obama’s statements and actions.  He’ll be criticized by Republican pundits no matter what he says or does.   That’s not surprising.  After all, we’re talking about the same people who accused then-First Lady Hillary Clinton with murder relating to the so-called Travel-gate.  They’re the people who spent $60 million of taxpayers’ money to investigate Clinton’s investment loss in Whitewater.  They’re the same people who called Democrats “whack jobs” and “conspiracy nuts” for crying foul over the 2000 Florida election.   (Never mind the findings of an independent group of journalists who stated, “It’s clear that a significant majority of Floridians intended to vote for Al Gore.”)  And these are the same people who attacked the patriotism of a Vietnam War hero while supporting a candidate who got his powerful daddy to help him avoid the draft by getting him into the Air National Guard. 

Republicans are good at attacking.  In fact, they’re great at it.  Many of today’s Republican strategists learned at the knee of the masters; Tricky Dick Nixon and Spiro Agnew.  Republican attacks and tricks should not come as a surprise to anyone – least of all Democrats.

What is surprising is that Democrats continue to try to reason with them.  And, by doing so, they continue to encourage their bad behavior.  It’s astounding that Representative Joe Wilson can bellow “You lie” to President Obama in an address to a joint session of Congress.  It’s even more astounding that Democratic Senators reword the health care reform bill because of Wilson’s outburst.  (Despite the fact that the bill already clearly stated that health care coverage will be denied to illegal aliens, the wording was strengthened in response to Wilson.) 

The message to Republican extremists is that their extreme accusations and tactics work. 

So Republicans and their media supporters will continue to scare citizens with fabricated issues like “Death Panels”.  They’ll continue to raise fears that a Presidential speech to school children is an attempt to indoctrinate them.  And they’ll continue to compare a centrist African-American President who continues to search for bipartisanship to Adolph Hitler.  (How can anyone actually believe this stuff?) 

Someone once said, “You can’t reason with unreasonable people.”  Yet Democrats continue to try to reason with Republicans.  Why?