Today's stunning legislation will go down in history as a turning point for the Republican Party. Every Democrat considering a run for President voted against it. Why? Because they want to be able to say "America doesn't endorse terrorism. We will reverse this policy." They're hoping that will be a winner.
But, this is not a national election year, which means it's a good time for Bush to pass a ridiculously tough war bill to bolster his image as emperor. Before we pass judgment on Democrats who voted to pass this tragic legislation, we must take some realities into account.
First, we must realize that no objection was going to stop this bill short of a filibuster and that decision was left to Reid. This law was destined to pass. The whole McCain protest was staged. He, and his cohorts, are running for President in 08, too, and they, like their Democratic counterparts, think this law will smell in the future. But, they couldn't afford to filibuster either, which means they were truly powerless. Otherwise, Bush would cast THEM as the obstructionists in his speech today (and don't think for a moment he wouldn't).
This legislation was deliberately delayed until right before the election so the Republicans could make a spectacle of 'weak' Democrats. They did the same thing in 02 with the Iraq War Act. But, it's all show. This legislation could just as easily have passed quietly months ago. This is simply the Republican script.
The timing also impacts the possibility of a Democrat filibuster. Have you noticed what Bush's meme was today? It was that Democrats are 'weak' on defense and are 'cut and run'. This script was written months ago. They just HOPED the Democrats would filibuster.
This Terror Law was a fait accompli.
The decision not to play into their hand must have been difficult for Reid. I sense he's a good man with a good heart.
But, the paramount focus should be on winning control. If the Democrats take control, this legislation will fade into the memory hole as the hearings and testimonials commence. THAT is the goal. It's likely that some races could be decided on this issue alone if a Democrat chose to take the heat.
As long as Republicans maintain control of Congress, NOTHING can be stopped that Bush wishes to implement. All of our screaming and ranting is for naught without the power to subpoena.
18 Democrats crossed a moral line today. I hope they did it for the right reasons. I hope they are taking a calculated political risk in the hope that they will be re-elected, whenever that day may come. These are the times that try men's souls, as Dickens might say.
I can't support a decision to endorse the suspension of habeas corpus, but I can look the other way - something I've learned to do well in the past few years. I can choose not to judge such an aberration, or at least delay my judgment. I can welcome strange bedfellows if it means winning. It's distasteful to be sure.
But at least this time, I have hope as I turn my head.
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