Monday, July 14, 2008

People Versus Power

Four years after John Kerry flopped, we are still having these stupid arguments about whether or not it's OK to criticize the Democrats during an election campaign. Today Glenn Greenwald racks up the Democrats' achievements since their historic 2006 midterm election vitory:
* Repeatedly funded -- at the White House's insistence -- the Iraq War without conditions;

* Defeated -- at the White House's insistence -- Jim Webb's bill to increase the intervals between deployments for U.S. troops;

* Defeated -- at the White House's insistence -- a bill to restore habeas corpus, which had been abolished by the Military Commissions Act, enacted before the 2006 election with substantial Democratic and virtually unanimous GOP support;

* Enacted -- at the White House's insistence and with substantial Democratic and virtually unanimous Republican support
-- the so-called Protect America Act, vesting the President with extreme new warrantless eavesdropping powers;

* Overwhelmingly approved the Senate's Kyl-Lieberman Resolution, to declare parts of the Iranian Government a "terrorist organization," an extremely belligerent resolution modeled after those which made "regime change" the official U.S. Government position towards Iraq;

* Deleted from a pending bill -- at the direction of the House Democratic leadership and at the insistence of the White House -- a provision merely to require Congressional approval before the Bush administration can attack Iran;

* Overwhelmingly enacted -- at the White House's insistence, and with substantial Democratic and virtually unanimous GOP support -- the "FISA Amendments Act of 2008," to vest the President with broad new warrantless eavesdropping powers and to immunize lawbreaking telecoms, all but putting an end to any chance for a real investigation and judicial adjudication of the Bush administration's illegal NSA spying program;

* Confirmed, with the indispensable support of two key Democratic Senators, Bush's nominee for Attorney General, Michael Mukasey, despite his support for radical Bush theories of executive power and his refusal to oppose torture;

* Stood by passively and impotently while Bush officials flagrantly ignored their Subpoenas and refused to comply with their investigations.
To his credit, Greenwald doesn't just bitch and moan, but offers some real and positive solutions - or at least efforts to solve - this problem.

He also points to the stunning election win of UK MP David Davis, who quit the Tories to run as an independent on civil rights issues, with the support of many on the Left:
Asked whether Davis would be returned to the frontbenches, the Tory leader said: "Obviously, I will talk to him about what the future holds, but I have a very strong shadow cabinet.

"David is a very strong Conservative and a very big figure in our party and I'm sure there are all sorts of ways in which he will be able to contribute in the future."

Speaking to the Guardian before the results were announced, Davis appeared to recognise this, saying he was cheerful about a future on the backbenches and had always realised that his startling resignation carried no career prospects.
Actually, I think that kind of public credibility has got to be very good for your career in the long term. More like this please.