Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Go read the whole thing at Balkinization:
I am puzzled by and ashamed of the Democrats' moral cowardice on [the torture] bill. The latest version of the bill blesses detainee abuse and looks the other way on forms of detainee torture; it immunizes terrible acts; it abridges the writ of habeas corpus-- in the last, most egregious draft, it strips the writ for alleged enemy combatants whether proved to be so or not, whether citizens or not, and whether found in the U.S. or overseas.
This bill is simply outrageous. I doubt whether many Democratic Senators or staffs have read the bill or understand what is in it. Instead, they seem to be scrambling over themselves to vote for it out of a fear that the American public will think them weak and soft on terror.
The reason why the Democrats have not been doing very well on these issues, however, is that the public does not believe that they stand for anything other than echoing what the Republicans have been doing with a bit less conviction. If the Republicans are now the Party of Torture, the Democrats are now the Party of "Torture? Yeah, I guess so." Not exactly the moral high ground from which to seek office.
The Democrats may think that if they let this pass, they are guaranteed to pick up more seats in the House and Senate. But they will actually win less seats this way. For they will have proved to the American people that they are spineless and opportunistic-- that, when faced with a genuine choice and a genuine challenge, they can keep neither our country nor our values safe.
Amen. Sen. Levin says, "It’s hard to know how to vote on a bill that’s this much in motion.” This would be a good time for the Democrats' would-be moral leaders (Sen. Feingold?!) to start making some serious commotion before it's too late. An old-fashioned filibuster might help wake up the rest of the caucus as needed.
On the other hand, if you really do want to demoralize what should be your most ardent supporters in an election that will turn in large part on which party can best turn out its faithful, go ahead. But don't say we didn't tell you so.
The question remains whether it is anything other than Sound and Fury, which is where the betting line has to be after Landrieu and Ben "It's Good Bush is King" Nelson pissed on the American people again.