and who “they” is depends on who you are. If you’re a partisan liberal, like the vast majority of political writers at the Washington Post, “they” is the Rove-inspired GOP. No sooner did the Supreme Court strike a major blow at “a signature” part of the Bush administration’s anti-terrorism policy, then the unscrupulous Republicans are “seek[ing] advantage” from the Court’s ruling. How? By accepting the Court’s invitation to go to Congress in search of new rules on how to try terrorists and, to the extent that a disagreement emerges, making that disagreement a political issue.
If you’re not a partisan liberal, “they” is the MSM, hoping once again that their champions in the Democrat party can receive an exemption from the democratic process, and crying foul when they don’t get one. The Republicans, of course, can gain political advantage only to the extent that they take positions supported by the public and the Democrats don’t. Our system is designed precisely to confer a political advantage in that circumstance so that the people, not the self-appointed media elite, can have the final say.
In this case, moreover, the issue — detainee policy — is one that the Post itself (indeed, especially the Post) deems fundamental. Thus, the Post can’t complain that the Republicans are trotting out a trivial (to the Post) issue like flag burning for political gain. If, as the Post maintains, detainee policy lies at the heart of the administration’s anti-terrorism policy and goes to the heart of our national values, then there can be no legitimate objection if this becomes a major a political issue to the extent the parties take opposing positions.
But the Post isn’t concerned about legitimacy. At this point, its political coverage is driven by little more than raw fear that Republicans won’t do badly enough in November to suit the Post.