Balkinization  

Thursday, September 28, 2006

And what did the Democrats get for selling out?

JB

The New York Times reports:
The [military detention] bill’s ultimate passage was assured on Wednesday when Democrats agreed to forgo a filibuster in return for consideration of the [Specter] amendment [on habeas, which lost by a 48-51 vote]. Any changes in the Senate bill, however, would have made it impossible for Republican leaders to meet their goal of sending the bill to the White House before adjourning on Friday to hit the campaign trail.

Underscoring the political stakes involved, White House spokesman Tony Snow said today that President Bush will emphasize Democratic opposition to the bill in campaign appearances.

“He’ll be citing some of the comments that members of the Democratic leadership have made in recent days about what they think is necessary for winning the war on terror,” Mr. Snow told reporters en route to a fundraiser in Alabama, according to a transcript provided by the White House.


So let me get this straight: The Democrats give up the chance at filibustering one of the worst bills in recent memory because they were afraid that the President would paint them as soft on terrorism.

After the bill passes, the President plans to paint them as soft on terrorism.

What a spineless, worthless lot the Democrats in the Senate are. They deserve every lost Senate and House seat that comes from this.


Comments:

When will Democrats understand that the GOP will swiftboat them no matter what they do? The swiftboating will be no worse if they stand up for principle. Indeed, it'll be less effective, because they'll be able to point to strong principles and solid accomplishments.

If the Democrats still want electoral success (about which I have some doubts), they need to realize that the path to it runs through the Valley of Assertiveness, not through the Valley of the Fear of Swiftboating.
 

JB - not that it will happen, but a friend of mine just visited senator kennedy's office. this is what he was told:

"I was just at Sen. Kennedy’s office. I’ll report more fully (I’ve got to run right now), but there’s one question that’s come up here a few times that I got answered. A filibuster is still procedurally possible. The “unaninmous consent decree” does not rule it out.

Politically possible is a different question.
"

http://www.firedoglake.com/2006/09/28/damn-straight/#comment-313798
 

They deserve every lost Senate and House seat that comes from this.

Amen. I hope they lose, lose big, and we see some new leadership.

But it won't happen.

Because if they DO lose big, they'll decide it's because they voted AGAINST the torture bill.

The Democrats: "Republicans Lite."
 

Further, any senator can withdraw unanimous consent, grinding procedure to a halt. Is any brave enough?
 

Yes, sir, perhaps they do lack spines and deserve defeat. But does the country deserve the cost of their lack and loss? And do we help *fix* this by our cavailing at their cowardice, in lieu of working to bolster their courage?
 

The Democrats have the same problem now that the Republicans had for so many years when they were the minority party. They don't actually stand for anything.

It's not enough to sit back and naysay the president when he makes bad decisions (and he does make plenty). You eventually have to come up with an acceptable alternative. That's where the party comes up short. What's their response to a bad situation in Iraq? The only serious one they're putting forth is withdrawal, which is even more unpopular with the public than Bush's flawed strategy. If they want to batter the president on Iraq, find a better way to fight the war. Hijack Bush's issue by finding a way to win. Otherwise, there's no reason to for people to vote for the Democrats over Republicans...because the Dems won't make things any better.
 

What a spineless, worthless lot the Democrats in the Senate are. They deserve every lost Senate and House seat that comes from this.

True.

But we don't.
.
 

It's truly sad that Alexander Hamilton had more wisdom at age 25 than at least some of the Dems in the Senate at twice that age. From a letter of September 3, 1780:

"The manner in which a thing is done has more influence than is commonly imagined. Men are governed by opinion; this opinion is as much influenced by appearances as by realities; if a Government appears to be confident of its own powers, it is the surest way to inspire the same confidence in others; if it is diffident, it may be certain, there will be a still greater diffidence in others, and that its authority will not only be distrusted, controverted, but contemned."

According to posts on Glenn Greenwald's site, the Democrats were two votes short of a filibuster. That means 6 Dem Senators bailed out (counting Jeffords as a Dem for this purpose). It's those individuals, not the party as a whole, who should be the targets of our anger.
 

The Dems who will vote for this legislation either :::gasp::: actually support it or their constituents do.

Nearly every Dem not in a safe district or state has or will vote for it. Such a vote innoculates them personally from most of the fallout from their party's majority vote against it.

The GOP can remind voters that the rest of the Dem Party voted against the bill because they favor granting increased rights to terrorists and that many of these people will be in charge if the Dems take over Congress, but that will mostly motivate the Elephant base rather than keep others from voting for Dems.
 

And we thought that ex-boxer Harry Reid was supposed to be a "fighter."

Oy.
 

One of the most amazing things about the rollover by the Democrats on the torture issue is that can't seem to find their backbones even when they are dealing with a President whose current approval rating is running at 37%.

Oy, Oy.
 

If the 6 Dems who wouldn't filibuster are stripped of their committee chairs and invited to run on the Republican ticket next time around, that would change my mind about the Democratic Party.

Ain't holding my breath, though.
 

As I said a few posts down.
they are going to distort what they say and cudgel them with it no matter what they say or do. Therefore, stop trying to tailor what you say and do based on the fear that it will be distorted and used against you.

Wow. That was hard to predict.
 

>because they favor granting increased rights to terrorists

Do you know the difference between a suspect and a terrorist? Do you know the difference between being charged with a crime, based on nothing but executive say-so, and a finding of guilt in a court of law? Anyway, we already know the answers to those questions...
 

porter29 said...

>because they favor granting increased rights to terrorists

Do you know the difference between a suspect and a terrorist?


Yes. I know, as do the vast majority of the American people, that foreign enemy combatants are not civilian criminal suspects.

Why do you think that the GOP is pushing this so hard before the election and every Dem in anything approaching a Red or Purple state is voting for the bill?

Do you know the difference between being charged with a crime, based on nothing but executive say-so...

My heavens, our soldiers are killing and capturing the enemy in Afghanistan and Iraq on nothing more than "Executive say so." If our military can kill the enemy, exactly why again can't they try them?

War is not some pie in the sky legal due process exercise. Rather, its entire objective is to kill the enemy and break his property in the most expeditious manner until the enemy surrenders or there are no more enemy left.

This bill is a gift to the enemy.
 

The ultimate issue, however, is not what the Democrats deserve, but rather what the country needs.

The Democrats may deserve to be thrown out, but in my view, the United States, at least as it has been known for the last century, simply cannot survive unchecked Republican domination for much longer.
 

If our military can kill the enemy, exactly why again can't they try them?

Bart, are you stupid, or do you think we're stupid?

I'm trying to figure out whether to feel pity or offense.

"If we can shoot the enemy on a battlefield, why can't we shoot them after we take them prisoner?" -- makes as much sense.
 

The Democrats deserve to lose every single race.

The Republicans deserve to have a Democrat take office, declare them all enemy combatants, ship them off to Guantanamo, and torture them.

We the people certainly do not deserve either.

Depressing days.
 

See a tongue-in-cheek visual of the Grand Opening of "Tortureland"...here:

www.thoughttheater.com
 

>>that foreign enemy combatants

And who is an "enemy combatant?" What standards should be used when designating individuals enemy combatants? Presidential whim? And why are you using the term "foreign?" Anyone (American citizen or not) can be declared an enemy combatant, disappeared, and tortured based on nothing more than presidential say-so. That is the definition of tyranny.

All of your other fallacies flow from this: believe it or not, just because Bush says you are a terrorist doesn't mean you actually are one.
 

By agreeing to skip cloture, the Democrats 1) demonstrated their respect for majority rule and 2) expediting passing a bill that history will call "President Bush's Bill."
My issue is with Congress punting public policy issues to the executive or the courts. Makes sense for them to do it. The public is polarized and incapable of carrying on reasoned debate.
 

And who is an "enemy combatant?" What standards should be used when designating individuals enemy combatants? Presidential whim? And why are you using the term "foreign?" Anyone (American citizen or not) can be declared an enemy combatant, disappeared, and tortured based on nothing more than presidential say-so. That is the definition of tyranny.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't the present bill retain habeas corpus rights for Americans?
 

"What a spineless, worthless lot the Democrats in the Senate are."

"The Democrats" in the House and Senate can't be lumped together on this one... although nearly all "the Republicans" can be.

34 House Democrats voted for torture and against habeas corpus; another 7 didn't vote; but 160 voted to oppose this evil bill, despite Bush's accusations of appeasement -- and these holdouts deserve our continued support. (7 Republicans and 1 Independent joined them in holding out.)

Likewise, 12 Senate Democrats voted for the torture bill, but 32 voted against (along with Independent Jeffords and one lone Republican, RI's Chafee).

Remember which of your elected officials voted which way, especially at the next primary.

House Roll Call.   Senate Roll Call.

Meawhile, let's get the majority control out of Republicans' hands this election.
 
 

"... doesn't the present bill retain habeas corpus rights for Americans?"

Nephtuli, if you're held prisoner, how can you object that you're being held wrongly or denied rights such as due process? By filing a habeas corpus.

If you can't file one, you cannot have any right whatsoever enforced: in other words, you have NO enforceable rights.

If your captors simply contend you're not an American, how could you prove otherwise?

Now you can't file a habeas corpus to assert that you're entitled to file a habeas corpus.

What they've just done is lock the only key to the safe inside the safe.
 

Bart: War is not some pie in the sky legal due process exercise.

First, our unprovoked invasions and occupations of the sovereign nations of Afghanistan and Iraq notwithstanding, the "war" on terror is not a war, which means your point, above, misses the mark entirely.

Second, and more damning, is that as an attorney one of your responsibilities is to look at all sides of a piece of legislation or a decision to see not only how it can achieve its stated objective but how it can be turned to other ends; the fear of unforeseen ramifications is the heart and soul of stare decisis. Even if you subscribe, and we know you do, to the "war on terror" fallacy, nonetheless you have a duty to vet the laws developed in its pursuit to ensure that they have no dangerous ramifications.

You not only fail that duty, you continually speak against those who would meet this duty head on. Stipulate that these laws, AUMF, H.R. 3162 (the so-called "patriot" act), the current habeas buster, stipulate they all can be of service in catching the bad guys (sorry, "pursuing the 'war' on 'terror'".) Each and every one of these pieces of legislation creates gaping holes in the system of rights and liberties and checks and balances that are of the class of inflexible principles alluded to in your Lincoln quote. But maybe you only chose that quote cynically, with an eye to Lincoln's flexibility?
 

Anderson;

"If we can shoot the enemy on a battlefield, why can't we shoot them after we take them prisoner?"

That makes pefect sense. Explain to me why we can't? Why is it OK to kill people at a distance only?
 

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