Since when did it become a bad thing to call a phony a “phony?” Well, since Rush Limbaugh referred to a phony soldier as a “phony soldier” and the antiwar crowd thought it could make hay with it. The idea that Rush Limbaugh would denigrate U.S. troops on the air for millions to hear, and in such an egregious way that it deserved congressional condemnation, is absurd on its face. What’s perplexing is how they ever thought they could get away with something so blatantly ludicrous.

Ask yourself a simple question. If you are a soldier fighting in Iraq and you need a bit of a morale boost, who would you choose to listen to? Would it be conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh, who daily and untiringly talks up your mission, its inherent nobility and the need for it to be seen through to successful completion, or . . .

Or would it be the rogues’ gallery of spineless Democratic politicians who on a regular basis say things like the following:

Harry Reid (in his usual lugubrious, hopeless tone): “Now, I believe, myself, that the secretary of state, the secretary of defense — and you have to make your own decision as to what the president knows — that this war is lost and that the surge is not accomplishing anything, as indicated by the extreme violence in Iraq yesterday.”

John Kerry: “If you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”

John Murtha: “Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood.”

Dick Durbin: “If I read this to you and didn’t tell you it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have happened by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags or some mad regime, Pol Pot or others, that had no concern for human beings.”

Seems rather obvious, doesn’t it? With congressmen like these, who needs Tokyo Rose? (Or Baghdad Bob? Or Al-Jazeera?) So there’s no need to even finish this column, right? Unfortunately, that’s wrong. If we weren’t all currently living on the planet Bazongo, where all logic and truth are turned upside down by a certain political faction, then maybe we could just let it ride. But the lies, smears and distortions just keep coming and, like a game of political whack-a-mole, one has to put the kibosh on them as they arise.

This time it all started when Limbaugh used the phrase “phony soldier” on his radio program one day in reference to a guy, Jesse Macbeth, who claimed that he and other soldiers had slaughtered innocent civilians in Iraq, but who, it turns out, had never set foot in Iraq and had never even completed basic training before being drummed out of the Army. Sounds like a phony soldier if there ever was one. And of course, before Macbeth was exposed as a phony, he became a hero to the antiwar crowd who perpetually turn over every rock seeking out any evidence that will allow them to portray American soldiers as war criminals.

Anyway, almost before you could say “turn tail and run,” Media Matters, a left-wing, so-called media watchdog group, posted a story which it headlined “Limbaugh: Service members who support U.S. withdrawal are ‘phony soldiers.’” Within hours, congressional Democrats were engaging in a rhetorical beat-down of Rush based on the Media Matters distortion.

How in the world could they not believe this would blow up in their faces just like the “General Betray Us” ad? Don’t they understand there’s an army of conservative new media out there salivating over the prospect of exposing left-wing lies and distortions? For crying out loud, Dan Rather got busted over a font. How, then, could the Dems (dims) think they would get away with smearing Limbaugh over this when it is so easy to simply go back and listen to what he actually said, which is not open to interpretation or spin?

There can only be two possible answers: 1.) The Dems assume either the stupidity or, to be kind, the intellectual laziness of their target audience for this latest dog and phony — er, I mean pony — show; 2.) they didn’t bother to check the facts and just took Media Matters’ word for it.

Either way they don’t look too swift, but, rather, like a crew that is almost deliberately plumbing the depths of what seems possible for congressional approval ratings, single digits now being within easy reach.

None of this is to say that Republicans are now shoo-ins for the ‘08 election. Many voting Americans are definitely stricken with war weariness and that is certainly tied to the Republicans. But most Americans aren’t inherently antiwar, they are anti-losing the war. Nor do they cotton to dishonest smears that try to make U.S. soldiers look like war criminals. Nor do they think much of craven, defeatist politicians who try to cash in on “phony” scandals for political advantage.

Lord help us if a majority of Americans give in to their more injudicious impulses and put a certain party in the presidency next year.

Greg Strange provides conservative commentary with plenty of acerbic wit on the people, politics, events and absurdities of our time. See more at his website: http://www.greg-strange.com/. Also, check out his “Religion of Peace” World News Round-up for all the latest Islamic absurdities and tidbits.

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