Time to swallow hard and defend the Democrats who did the right thing

This may not be popular in some quarters, but I calls ‘em as I sees ‘em. We wanted Senate Democrats to filibuster, but I guess that wasn’t in the cards. Still, 33 Democrats in the Senate and 160 in the House voted against the so-called antiterrorism bill — thereby voting to oppose torture and the indefinite detention of suspects without legal recourse. They didn’t oppose it as early, as forcefully or as diligently as many of us would have liked. But in the end the vast majority of congressional Democrats did vote against it.

And, yes, that does mean something.

At least in this one sense, they stood up for the constitution against a wholesale Republican attack against it. And almost certainly, many of them did so at least in part because they knew how strongly the Democratic base felt about the issue. And now, because of it, every one of them, to at least some degree, has a big target painted on his or her chest.

The gunfire has already erupted: This from a Bush fundraiser (what else?) in Alabama, “Five years after 9/11, the worst attack on the American homeland in our history, Democrats offer nothing but criticism and obstruction and endless second-guessing,” Bush said. “The party of FDR and the party of Harry Truman has become the party of cut and run.”

As mad as many of us have been at the congressional Democrats in recent days, it’s time to suck it up. We can’t afford to let the GOP get away with this. Most obviously, another two years of undivided Republican rule would cause this country incalculable damage. But even beyond that, if having taken a stand for constitutional rule (be it a depressingly halfhearted one) congressional Democrats now end up getting smacked for it at the polls, we won’t stand a chance of ever getting many of them to take such a stand (let alone a stronger one) ever again.

There’ve been a lot of complaints online that the netroots don’t get the respect, support and opportunities for coordinated action we deserve from the Democratic Party establishment — objections that, in my opinion, are very well taken. Well, here’s our chance to begin changing all that — an opportunity to prove once and for all that in addition to Crashing the Gates, we can also play a crucial role in defending them against the GOP.

This is a time of testing for the reform wing of the Democratic Party. We demanded, righteously and passionately, that our representatives in Congress stand up for the United States Constitution, and that they do so even at some risk to their political scalps; and they responded, not to the degree we would have liked, but enough to put them in the line of fire of the right wing attack machine. What’s more, there are apparently troubling early signs from focus groups that some of the bullets may be finding their targets.

This then is the opportunity for the netroots to prove once and for all that we can do more than complain — that we’re ready, willing and able to put our brains, our brawn and our hard earned cash where (for many of us) to this point only our mouths have traveled.

The big dog progressive blogs, like Daily Kos and Eschaton, are already doing yeoman’s work raising money for promising new Democratic candidates; this work must continue. But we need to do more: The netroots also need to take the lead in countering the evolving Republican strategy of attacking all Democrats as being soft of terrorism.

It’s the sort of work the Internet was born to do: For one thing, progressive blogs and websites, including The Last Chance Democracy Cafe’s parent site, BuzzFlash, must continue their great work in acting as a truth squad, laying bare GOP lies and flooding both local and national media outlets with demands that they speak the truth, rather than just repeating Republican lies.

But that’s also not enough. I suggest we also need to take the lead in quickly forming a high profile committee, preferably, given the diminishing time available, under the umbrella of an existing organization like MoveOn.org, dedicated to one and only one purpose — making the shameful way the GOP has been using the war on terrorism as a political weapon to divide Americans a major issue in the campaign.

As I’ve said before, of all the despicable acts committed in the last five years by Bush and the Republicans, none has been worse than the way they deliberately threw away the great sense of national unity that existed after the Sept. 11 attacks, choosing, instead, to use the issue as an instrument for partisan political gain.

It’s a crime, and a particularly ugly one at that. And this is the year to start bringing them to political justice.

Happily, doing so also happens to be the best way to refute unfair GOP charges that Democrats are weak on fighting terrorism. It’s an issue the netroots should claim as our own.

8 Responses to “Time to swallow hard and defend the Democrats who did the right thing”

  1. Weirdharold Says:

    I know it is shameful for somebody to vote for the torture bill. I think both Dems and Repugs voted for this bill to keep Faux New off their backs. They believe as I, the law cannot stand any longer than it takes ACLU to get in the courts.

    I do not believe any of the Supreme Court can let this stand. I think even Sam ( Let the police strip search 10 year old girls, if you think drugs my be on her) Alito will vote this down. Thank God we have this cushion

  2. bodo Says:

    Great idea if you can figure out how to get the information out to people who don’t read liberal blogs. My local paper still hasn’t said a word about the Rajiv Chandrasekaran araticle in the Washington Post article telling about the total mismanagement of the reconstruction of Iraq. Most people have no idea that young Republican loyalists were chosen to do things they were in no way qualified to do. I’d heard about this for the last couple of years on Al Franken and liberal blogs for years. I thought surely that when it hit the Washington Post, it would make the news here. How naive I am.

    One idea that I think can be done is to get word out to college campuses in time to get students registered to vote. Bush claims that if we end the occupation of Iraq, it will be the end of Western civilization. If he actually believes that, he has only one choice — reinstate the draft. After midterm elections of course.

  3. Chuck Says:

    Check out this article by Niranjan Ramakrishnan:
    (Jeez, I hope I got that right. I usually screw something up when I try those links.)

  4. Chuck Says:

    personal note to Steve: thanks for helping me with that link.

  5. Wye Knot Says:

    Okay, I’m here, I’m ready. I’m not a Dem, I’m independent, but I know the truth when I see it and I know depravity when I see it.

    So, tell me, what, exactly, do I do?

  6. DonnaWade Says:

    Steve: I realize you may not print this in the blog, but would still like your opinion on the idea…

    Republicans have managed to maintain control of our government because they focused tremendous resources to building their propaganda network. Liberals are only now beginning to catch on that we must build an information dissemination infrastructure in order to be competitive. KOS and others are raising funds for progressive candidates, which is terrific, but we have to keep KOS going in order for those efforts to continue.

    All of our progressive/liberal media and organizations are in need of funds. I know, particularly at election time, I get dozens of calls from various organizations asking for “just $25″ as though that sum couldn’t possibly seem unreasonable. But multiplied by a dozen, those “just $25″ donations add up, and I think it’s fairly safe to say that most progressives/liberals aren’t particularly wealthy (maybe that’s why we care so much about wage issues and the redistribution of wealth in this country).

    I was thinking a while back that we need a Plan B to finance our information (propaganda-rebuttal) and fundraising infrastructure. So I proposed PLAN B: the Progressive/Liberal Alliance of Netroots Businesses. Sent out dozens of emails to liberal/progressive sites about the idea, and got nary a response. But here’s the gist of the idea:

    Think Buy Blue but with small businesses .(If an organization such as this already exists, or if Think Blue wants to run with the idea, just tell me where to sign up.) We could raise money for The Last Chance Democracy Cafe, BuzzFlash, KOS, HRC, America’s Second Harvest, ONE, Center for American Progress, you name it….and though the donations will vary in size (probably most often small ones), there could be hundreds, even thousands, of them, coming in year-round and not just during fundraising drives.

    Here’s how I envision it: I own a full-color printing, graphic design and copywriting company. Let’s say Xena needs business cards. She goes to the PLAN B website (which she heard about from, say, your site) and sees a link to my printing business, and that I’ve agreed to donate 20% of her purchase to the organization of her choice. She goes to my site, buys 2500 business cards for $109 and designates The Last Chance Democracy Cafe as her recipient site. She gets the terrific product she needs, I get a new customer, she gets the satisfaction of contributing to something she believes in, we all get the satisfaction of doing business with people who share our political bent, and you get a donation (in both Xena’s name and Plan B’s) of $21.80 the day she places her order to help with your operating costs. It’s a win-win for all concerned, don’t you think?

    The Alliance businesses get new clients to help grow their businesses, purchasers get a needed product from someone who shares their political philosophy (and better yet, know their money WON’T be used to support the right-wing stranglehold on our democracy) and together we fund a new media/political fundraising infrastructure through every new customer.

    It’s similar to how the gay and lesbian community banded together and supported the first openly gay business ventures over two decades ago. The simplified version: Our “ghetto-ized” (mostly double-income-no-kids) economy soon flourished enough that our community’s purchasing power became a Madison Avenue target. As our businesses and organizations grew in number and size, we brought them out of the shadows, and started linking them across the nation through shared experience (mostly through our bars, coffeehouses, bookstores, churches and, later, community centers). What resulted is an expansive, diverse network of civil rights/social justice-minded, politically savvy, civically active people skilled in fundraising and rapid deployment. That network has only expanded with the internet.

    Our politics fueled our economy and now our economy finances our politics.

    Think it’s just a loony idea or that it could work? (not that they’re mutually exclusive)

    Suggestions or criticisms welcome.


  7. cowpieslinger Says:

    Remember the 9/11 commision was refused By Bush agressivly , Only untill after the 3rd attempt did he agree too one apone very cencored terms and cencorship of material used, , Bush refuzed this untill even more deals were agreed, Including a formed committy sworn too NOT FINGER PIONT?/ask for classified material unless pescreened/ and there were no high ranking member asked too give sworn testemonys.
    exept the one Condi Rice was given autherization too give
    detailes of Condi Rices questions were Part of the Deal Made before Bush allowed her too give statements, He used reasons of national security as a excuse for This?, and the committy was a By Law acountible for crossing this Line.
    Condi Rices act of testifying under oath was a mere PR move, After Bush and Rove stratigically for public purposes RIGGED the Committy to appear as a REAL 9/11 INVESTIGATION,
    And most importaintlly, The Media was Paid too act as it was some kind of Tell all committy, thuse ending any speculation that { In Fact!!! Bush was aware of the attack and alone with Cheney even Allowed it }
    There is even More evidence that Marvin Bush a relitive of Bush, Owner of A security firm contracted to secure the Trade center , Shut down the building for a UNSCHEDUALLED Matainance for weeks prior too 9/11. plenty of Time to plant bombs in the Trade center, Fact ?? its was BUSH and cheney rumfeild and Ohters who with the Help of AL>CIA>DaH, together Pulled off Operation North woods, Ok
    This Fact im sure Many demotted officials, wish were More informed as too why simple questions they asked got them Eighty sixted , normal House staffers were removed And many Indipendent journalist have been Killed since then??, more than the hole of veitnam, due too freindly fire. Anthrax letters were used to scare off the Rest. soo ask me this>>>>
    now that the fourth admendment no longer exists and the 1,2,3,5,6,7,8,9,10th, were are we now ? and what do you do? frankly i could give a shit less about CONDI rices cover up, this is a distraction from what is real and What is nessessary?, you ask Ok , and after you get only carted away to never have a trial for your alledged crimes as they will tell your family members? what then. Congress is bought out? Or scared shitless of these guys that is why there called the do nothing Congress.
    and don’t even say well elect a new congress in 2006 and Impeach bush, Ever hear of Debold voting systems ?? 2000 was just a ruze compaired too 2004 2002 and the upcoming election, and 2000 was stoled for fact is been proven and Geee litttle too late but guess wht its been ststed soo by Fox news that 2000 wsas indeed stoled, But they say it was just corrupt poll leader who frauded Bush in favor bought and payed loyal Electorioal college vote from the courts. H,mmmm. sounds like Crap ?? well it is .

    Comment by cowpieslinger — October 1, 2006 @ 11:06 am

  8. cowpieslinger Says:

    Must Uderstand its Not even an Issue why dems did not filibuster, as i piont out Its fear of life that silenced the Cogress and keeps them held as label states, {the do nothing Cogress}, this was not a issue like the Last threat of filibustering, It is a serious Issue that If Bush does not get his way is accountible for the torcher already committed, and Its a charge that carries the deaTH penalty for war crimes, This Exemption Bush seeks from habias corpus is writed in the Bill allowing no procecutions of on going war related cases?? and If you think Bush is not capible of Lashing out at congress for This with threats on there Lifes and carriers in any feild, Just ask who got anthrax letters???

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