14 March 2006

For the love of God, stand up for something

Yet again, the Democrats in congress are doing their best to dodge an issue. What a bloody shock. This time, the issue is Senator Russell Feingold's recent motion to censure the president for operating an illegal wiretapping program.

The Republicans, secure in their knowledge that their majority is sufficient (at the moment) to defeat any such motion, called for an immediate vote on the motion. The Democratic Leadership, proving yet again that they are incapable of demonstrating the leadership or moral courage needed to do light a match in a dark cave without first conducting extensive polling on the issue, are acting to postpone any vote for the moment. Essentially, they're filabustering Feingold's motion. The excuse for this inaction, as provided by Harry Reid, is that the motion deserves more thought and consideration.

Yeah, right. There are lots of things out there that deserve more thought and consideration. This really isn't one of them. What the president did is somewhat, but not entirely, known. Congress has attempted, somewhat pathetically, to extract more information. The administration semi-politely told them where they could stick their request. No further action has been taken, and no further action appears to be forthcoming.

Legal scholars have weighed in all over the place on the president's justification ("I'm a wartime leader.") for the program. Either you buy his argument or you don't. If you do, you don't think he did anything illegal. If you don't, you think he did soemthing illegal. If he did something illegal, he should be censured. If he didn't, he shouldn't. If you haven't figured out where you stand on this one by now, you haven't been paying attention.

What the Democratic delay tactics are all about is not taking a stand. They don't want to risk pissing off their base by going on record against censure, and they don't want to risk pissing anyone else off by (heaven forbid) going on record for censure. So, yet again, we find the Democratic leadership standing around trying to figure out which way the train's going - presumably so that they can jump in front and get run over again.

For crying out loud, why can't they take a stand. At this point, I'd settle for almost any kind of stand. OK, it's nice that they aren't the Republicans, but it would be even nicer if they were something more than the "not-Republican Party". The country is in deaparate need for leadership, and right now it doesn't look like anyone's willing to step up.


Ginger Yellow said...

With their respective actions, Feingold and the Democratic leadership have just sealed my vote in 2008. You're the opposition party facing the most unpopular president since Nixon, who has admitted that he's been spying on Americans in contravention of the law and intends to continue doing so, who sent officials to testify against a law that would have made similar spying legal on the grounds that it would be unconstitutional, and you can't even support a censure motion? Every single Democrat in Congress, and any Republican with integrity, should be screaming impeachment.

Anonymous said...

You're right - the Dems are absolutely hopeless and there's no possibility of reforming the Democratic Party.

As if that isn't bad enough, as it is, the entrenched 2-party system effectively shuts out independents. But I think I've come up with a way around that...
What we need is an Independent Party -- which will have NO party platform, and will instead say that voters should evaluate each Independent Party candidate individually. Such a party would get around the current 2-party lock-out by providing all independents (and any others willing to switch) a way to effectively participate in it.

Ideally, those forming this Independent Party would selectively approach some current Dems (and maybe a few Repugs) with the idea of changing their party affiliation - both to give those who are unhappy with the current mess a new 'home' and to provide a core of legitimacy to get the new party off the ground.

Btw, you sound like you'd like my friend Cernig's snarky but erudite political blog, Newshog, at