The Latest Democratic Turncoat and the Impeachment Follies


In the days since Rahm Emanuel’s phone orgy, Democratic support for Bush/neocon policies in Iraq has strengthened and at least one Rep, Jerry McNerney from California, has already reversed his position. Now comes news via Think Progress of a second: Washington’s Brian Baird.

Baird was one of the few Dem Reps who voted against the invasion originally but has been relatively quiet about his opposition to the occupation since. Now that he is supporting the surge, though, as TP put it, “there doesn’t appear to be a camera or microphone that Baird will refuse to speak to.” And most of them are right-wing outlets – Tucker Carlson and the National Review, for instance.

Baird, nationally an unknown, is suddenly in the limelight, his turnaround trumpeted all over the media, after several years of all-but-invisible opposition. And all it took was a single phone call from Rahm.

Tell me again that the Democratic support of Bush, from economic policy to trade policy to foreign policy to illegal surveillance is the result of individual consciences or the Fear Factor.

One more slightly related observation:

Has it occurred to anyone yet that by legalizing Bush’s illegal wiretapping with the recent FISA bill, the Democratic Congress has virtually eliminated a main charge in a Bush/Cheney impeachment?

As Glenn Greenwald and other Constitutional experts have pointed out, the NSA wiretapping/data mining programs were clearly and unambiguously illegal. There is no question whatever that the Admin broke the existing law. None. Zero. Among the impeachment bloggers especially, the wiretapping scandal was gradually reaching the top of the list of crimes for which Bush had to be impeached. Since the FISA bill passed, all that talk has vanished and for one reason:

While the FISA bill doesn’t explicitly absolve the Bush Admin from its illegal wiretapping activity prior to the bill, in essence it would prove that the Congress would have approved if Bush had bothered to submit the program to them, effectively undercutting any argument that Bush should be impeached for breaking a law since the Congress would have legalized what they were doing.

I find the co-incidence of the timing to be suggestive. As groups around the country began to coalesce behind an impeachment effort built on the most unarguable Constitutional transgression, the Bush Admin submits a bill that would legalize the behavior the impeachment movement is centering on and the Democratic Congress dutifully passes it. The Congress can’t – and won’t – impeach Bush for activity it has sanctioned. Not going to happen.

This is more than suspicious, it’s a clue to what the Democratic leadership wants for itself and it’s one more sign that despite the increase of progressivism in the country as a whole, the conservatives of the BD/DLC Alliance have no intention of loosening their grip or bringing accountability to the Admin.

We’re on our own.

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5 responses to “The Latest Democratic Turncoat and the Impeachment Follies

  1. What do you think WE can do? I realize optimism isn’t your strong suit, but since you write, I’ll assume you hope. Any strategies you might recommend to lessen our Post Futility Stress Disorder?
    PS I’m pretty nervous about the seeming inevitability of an attack on Iran. Does Congress have to declare something or are we so far down the warpath already that we should just start medicating ourselves now?

  2. Pingback: So What Do WE Do About It? « Mick Arran

  3. Laura,

    I answered the first question in today’s post. As for the second, you’re right to be scared about a war with Iran – the drums are beating just like they did before the Iraq invasion and the Emperor keeps insisting we HAVE to do it.

    But there are significant practical difficulties this time that will constrain even this reality-challenged nincompoop.

    For instance, we’re broke. We’ve spent $$$BILLIONS$$$ in Iraq in the quest to privatize both the military and its support services; we’ve spent $$$BILLIONS$$$ more funding war profiteers in the so-called “reconstruction” of Iraq.

    We’ve strapped the military to the breaking point. They don’t even have enough ammunition. Troops are going three or more rotations without a legitimate break, and the National Guard is all but busted domestically. Another ground war invasion is literally and practically out of the question as long as we’re tied down in Afghanistan and Iraq unless we re-institute the draft, and even then, how do we pay for it?

    That leaves naval bombardment and/or an air war. Bombing is the only option we’ve got and it doesn’t work. The domestic and international blowback would be intense, like nothing we’ve seen so far.

    Even Bush seems to realize this. In yesterday’s speech, he was screaming about a “nuclear holocaust” supposedly threatened by Iran, but missed in the general brouhaha over his excessive language was his prescription: the imposition of “economic sanctions”.

    Finally, there’s a revolt brewing in the military. Junior officers are openly questioning the decisions of senior officers. Bush has decimated the upper ranks by removing generals who didn’t agree with him, and the sycophants who are left get increasingly less respect from the men under them.

    The possibility of military action against Iran is receding despite Cheney, but that doesn’t mean our Moron Emperor won’t do it anyway.

  4. I’ve always wondered how to spell nincompoop, thanks. And thanks again for the post on ‘what to do’; it’s really very helpful. I want to think your reasons listed above will keep military action against Iran from happening, but these jokers are playing a game I don’t understand. Do you remember Reagan using the US’s huge military build-up as an excuse for how the Soviet Union fell or would fall? I seem to remember him saying it was a plan to force them to overspend or maybe it was just Reagan lovers saying it to justify his crazy spending in the 80s. In any case, with the out of control spending and lining their own pockets with the treasury (well loans from China, etc..) that is currently happening here, is this war mongering a plan to take OUR budget into oblivion? We then can’t have healthcare, social security, or name the program no matter how much we need it because like jobs, the top isn’t interested in what we need. How far down conspiracy lane do we go; or do you see this more like a broken machine on auto-pilot? I apologize for the fuzzy memory on the Reagan years, but I do remember a lot of us being hugely pissed about his military spending.

  5. You don’t have to apologize. Your memory may be faded (and whose isn’t of those of us who’ve been alive long enough to remember the 80’s?) but it’s right on target. Yes, that’s what they claimed and when the Berlin Wall fell, they rushed to take the credit even tho Reagan’s break-the-bank strategy had nothing whatever to do with the collapse of communist Russia.

    In fact, I did a paper in 1964 for my high school social studies class about a report (in TIME, I believe) that 2 CIA analysts who were Soviet experts were fired for predicting that the Soviet system would collapse of its own weight sometime between 2000 and 2025. They weren’t far off.

    But then in 1984, David Stockman, Reagan’s economic adviser, got in trouble when he let the cat out of the bag to interviewer William Grider, saying that the real purpose of the huge deficits was to starve the govt of money that could be allocated by the Democratic Congress for the social programs Reagan despised.

    Stockman’s plan was the basis for Grover Norquist’s “starve the beast” remark, and for the first 5 years of Bush’s presidency I’d estimate that half the rationale for keeping the govt in debt was the fine excuse it gave them for disemboweling FDR’s legacy and crushing LBJ’s Great Society, both of which Bush and his rich friends think of as “socialist”. He even used that word, I think, when he was campaigning against SCHIP a couple of weeks ago.

    But at this point, with the budget bleeding money thanks to Iraq, they don’t need a war with Iran for that purpose. Our budget is already in oblivion and will be for the foreseeable future with or without an Iranian war, tho of course the numbers will be even worse.

    But that’s one of the concrete problems with making war on Iraq that no one is discussing yet: where the hell is the money going to come from? Not even the US can borrow yet another $$$half-trillion$$$. Apart from anyone else, the corporatocracy won’t stand for it (they can make huge money from an occupation, very little from a bombing campaign).

    How far down conspiracy lane do we go; or do you see this more like a broken machine on auto-pilot?

    I think to some degree it’s both. It’s a conspiracy, no doubt, but the conspiracy is on auto-pilot at this point. The foreign policy establishment is geared up, the neocons and right-wing pundits are pushing hard, and we’ve got a pres who’s not just a clueless moron, he’s a clueless moron with the religious conviction that God told him to start Armageddon so Christ could come back.

    Is all of this dangerous? You betcha. A lot of people smarter than me are getting terrified, and rightfully so. All the signs are going one way just like before the illegal invasion of Iraq. Maybe I’m being uncharacteristically pollyanna-ish, but I just can’t see it.

    There’s a difference between a propaganda assault when you have resources and a propaganda assault when you don’t. The warmongers can push all they want, write all the columns they want, live in fantasyland all they want while sitting comfortably behind their keyboards and in their easy chairs at the club, but the hard facts are that nothing tougher than a tepid bombing campaign is practical or feasible whether they like it or not.

    Rumsfeld said, “You go to war with the army you’ve got, not the army you wish you had.” But you can’t go to war if you don’t have an army of any kind, and at this point, we don’t. Even a mere bombing campaign is only barely possible; an invasion is out of the question. Period.

    I seem to be alone in this so far but I really think that if Bush tries to move militarily against Iran, reality is finally going to slap him upside the head.

    Of course, I could be wrong. Our Boy Emperor has some MAJOR defenses that have successfully prevented him from acknowledging even the most brutally obvious realities up to now.

    I’ll tell you this: if that fundamentalist cracker idiot starts a war with Iran, I’ll be in the streets with a shotgun. And I won’t be alone.

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