For the last year or so I’ve been saying, to much abuse (when I could get anybody to listen at all) that there was nothing accidental about the Democrats’ giving in to Bush, that it had nothing to do with cowardice or political expediency or appeasement. Back last June, late in the process, I wrote this after the FISA betrayal:
Call it a prediction if you like. I knew the leadership would get FISA passed despite the numbers of ordinary Democrats who were against it because the leadership are all in the DLC/BD Alliance and the Alliance believes in modern conservative ideals like the restoration of a monarchy – or at least monarchic powers – in America…. [T]his was no accident. It was deliberate. It was design.
The Democrats aren’t pretending to be like the Pubs to get elected. They are like the Pubs. They’re under the thumb of a minority of conservative Dems who are, like the Likkud in Israel, warping the party to suit themselves and their conservative agenda. Like conservatives everywhere, they don’t care what the people want, they don’t care what the polls say, and they don’t give a rat’s ass what the majority in their own party thinks. Like Steny Hoyer and Nancy Pelosi, they’re going to do what they damn well please and if the membership doesn’t like it, fuck em.
And like the Pubs, these are no longer people liberals and progressives can compromise with. The FISA bill proves it. They will simply adopt the Republican trick of claiming a compromise when what they’ve really done is craft the right-wing conservative agreement the conservative minority demands.
That prediction has been borne out as well. We have just seen that trick played out over the stim pack, and the proof of the Democrat party’s monarchic tendencies came yesterday when, given an opportunity to return to the rule of law, Obama refused to rescind one of Bush’s primary “unitary president” moves toward giving presidents the power of kings.
The Obama administration failed — miserably — the first test of its commitment to ditching the extravagant legal claims used by the Bush administration to try to impose blanket secrecy on anti-terrorism policies and avoid accountability for serial abuses of the law.
On Monday, a Justice Department lawyer dispatched by the new attorney general, Eric Holder, appeared before a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco. The case before them involves serious allegations of torture by five victims of President Bush’s extraordinary rendition program. The five were seized and transported to American facilities abroad or to countries known for torturing prisoners.
Incredibly, the federal lawyer advanced the same expansive state-secrets argument that was pressed by Mr. Bush’s lawyers to get a trial court to dismiss the case without any evidence being presented. It was as if last month’s inauguration had never occurred.
As the NYT editors point out, this is the same argument Obama once found dangerous in a democracy.
Voters have good reason to feel betrayed if they took Mr. Obama seriously on the campaign trail when he criticized the Bush administration’s tactic of stretching the state-secrets privilege to get lawsuits tossed out of court. Even judges on the panel seemed surprised by the administration’s decision to go forward instead of requesting a delay to reconsider the government’s position and, perhaps, file new briefs.
But that was when he was a candidate. Now he’s president and he’s giving up NO powers, no matter how shabbily or illegally he got them. He never intended to. Neither did the Democrat party.
I hate being right about shit like this but we have to stop thinking that this political system – owned and operated by the rich – is going to afford us any protection from predators or even consider our needs. As the stim pack/bail-outs prove, we’re on the bottom of the list if we’re on it at all.
It was once a point of pride being a Democrat. I was proud of FDR, proud of Truman, proud of Jack. They weren’t perfect but they were moving in the right direction mostly and fighting some powerfully entrenched forces to do it. Kennedy was murdered for his sins, as were Bobby and Martin, all Democrats. Once it was the party of the future, the party that led the way to better times, more fairness and more peace.
Those days are gone. The Democrats are only slightly less the corporate whores and closet monarchists the GOP is, and if Rahm & Co have their way, what little difference there is will be wiped out before Obama’s first term is over.
What they did under Bush starting in ’06 (and before) WASN’T INCOMPETENCE OR SPINELESSNESS. It was AGREEMENT. They actually think he was right, basically, but that he went too far.
They don’t get it. They never will.
We have two choices: get the Blue Dogs unelected and more progressives elected as Democrats, taking our party back again, or build up a third party to challenge the conservative-run Dems.