Grand Old Protest

A Republican Web site even Bush-bashers can love:

If you hurry, you can get in on the best giveaway contest since Pepsi Points and that Harrier jet. The Republican National Committee’s “online toolbox for Republican activists,”, awards “GOPoints” to members who sign up and perform grass-roots actions for the party. E-mailing a local newspaper garners you five points, for example, and getting the letter published adds two more. The points are redeemable for hats, bags, jackets, and other swag, all emblazoned with the site’s logo. “There is no limit to what you can accomplish, or what you can earn”!

Egged on by prizes ranging from a GOP bumper sticker (75 points) to a leather portfolio (525 points), eager partisans used the site’s automated e-mailer this month to spam just about every newspaper in the country with a letter to the editor that begins: “When it comes to the economy, President Bush is demonstrating genuine leadership …” (Try it yourself by signing on as member “,” password “slate.”) To the thinly masked glee or disdain of bloggers everywhere, nearly 50 papers—including the Boston Globe and the Financial Times—actually ran the thing, each one under the name of a different, and presumably genuine, local author.

Now, here’s the important part:

Instead of getting mad, though, why not get even? An option on the site allows letter-writers to compose and send their own messages in lieu of the canned statements, meaning the technology used to push Bush’s agenda can be used to bash it as well. For an ironic Gen X-er, what better reward for e-mailing 100 anti-war letters to the editor than a GOP Team Leader fleece pullover? Slate

Do we have the goods on Saddam?

Fred Kaplan: “If we do, then it’s time to come out with it, now. As a last-minute pitch before U.N. Inspector Hans Blix delivers his report to the Security Council on Monday, Bush has been sending war’s most eloquent advocates out on the hustings—National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice to the New York Times op-ed page, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz to the Council on Foreign Relations, even Secretary of State Colin Powell to perform prodigal-son penance in the wake of betrayal by his new ex-best friends, the French. Yet these addresses leave the reader dizzy in dismay. Is this really, one wonders, the best our leaders can do?” Slate

Europe’s declaration of independence

“Frustrated with the warmongering and arrogance of the Bush White House, Germany and France are making a historic break with the U.S. Relations may never be the same.” Salon Dubya’s most lasting legacy on the foreign policy front may be less the illustrious WoT® than the climactic dismantling of the Atlantic Alliance. Ever heard the dysadministration whistle lin the dark? Listen: “You’re thinking of Europe as Germany and France. I don’t. I think that’s old Europe,” says Donald Rumsfeld.