How do we Pick the Time and Place for Battle?

12 February 2001

By Jock Gill for


As Confederate General Robert E. Lee proved in the Civil War, the army that gets to pick the time and the place for a battle has a victory already half won. So far the New Confederates are being allowed to pick the the time and place of today’s political battles, which is why an inferior force continues to win.

It is long past time for the Democrats to stand their ground and force the GOP to engage them on hostile and dangerous territory -- the true center of American politics.

When the Union forces picked the grounds and the moment for battle at Gettysburg, they won! When will Democrats force such a rout on the New Confederates?

It is time to recognize that what the GOP calls the center is really only the center of their political universe, which is skewed far to the right. Even someone as far right as John Ashcroft, for example, can be seen in this way to be a dangerous centrist.

At the true center of American politics a woman's right to control her own body is both respected and protected, the environment deserves careful stewardship and attention, fair wages enable a family to both eat and put some money aside, and people are judged by the content of their character, not by the color of their skin or the size of their campaign contributions.

This is the vital center that received 500,000 more votes than the GOP. But if you read the papers or watch television news today, you’d never know it!

Take, for example, the trashing of the Clintons with respect to pardons, furniture and gifts. If the press were providing perspective and context on the pardons, furniture and gifts of the last dozen or so presidents, I would say they were doing their job of giving citizens a good set of yards sticks for evaluating behavior of current politicians.

But are we comparing Clinton’s pardons to Bush the Elder’s pardon of Casper Weinberger, who could have offered damaging testimony against him? Are we asking about the behind the scenes role of Chief Justice Rehnquist in blocking investigations of the unsavory characters of this era? Rehnquist’s corruption of the Special Prosecutor process is certainly not in the media today. But it should be! It is the context for his corruption of the election of 2000.

Are we comparing and contrasting the speaking fees and gifts bestowed on Ronald Reagan to the chump change for Bill Clinton? What did Reagan earn in Japan for two talks? How much was his gift ranch worth? What sort of speaking fees did former President Bush collect and from whom?

But where is the history and the context to help us put all of this in to perspective? The so called “media of record” are failing us. The media are giving us no history and no context, only skewed reporting from the distortion field of the GOP center. This leads me to ask what is their agenda? Who is picking the ground and the time for this battle?

What is the true agenda here? What are we being distracted from? Perhaps our 50 Senators better start asking the questions which will give us the context and the history we need to truly evaluate the this Bush administration.

More than one careful reader of this column has written to me along these lines:

I am getting really tired of reading about W's shortcomings and scandals (funeralgate) etc., only on If it isn't in the mainstream media no one knows about it--no one has any idea about W's military record, Dick Cheney costing the taxpayers billions of dollars--All the people know is Bill & Hillary took gifts, Bill pardoned a criminal, Bill rented expensive office space, yadda, yadda, yadda---will any of this information about W be in the mainstream media and just how long will the Republicans be able to keep the focus off of W and this fraud of an election by keeping Bill Clinton in the spotlight and headlines with his "shortcomings". Is Bush going to be like Reagan--another republican teflon president?? I read nothing negative about Bush in the newspaper, I see nothing negative about Bush in the TV News. Still all they want to talk about is Clinton!

And these are only some of the skeletons in the Bush closet which are being allowed to sleep undisturbed in the dark, for now.