Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Tough sledding

"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country, but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.

"BritainThis president, with an army to enforce her his tyranny, has declared that she he has the right (not only to tax, but) "to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER," and if being bound in that manner is not slavery, then there not such a thing as slavery on the earth. Even the expression is impious, for so unlimited a power can only belong to God." - Thomas Paine, The Crisis Papers

With the self-immolation of the Republican Party, many liberal pundits are whooping and hollering for joy. Personally, I don't think Middle American is buying into the celebration, because they know that the scorched-earth social policies of the Repugs will take decades to repair, even if this president doesn't throw us all into a dark pit somewhere.

Especially troubling are the economic policies - out-sourcing, tax cuts, environmental sellout, etc. - that have left behind massive debt, a shrunken middle class, and a job-poor environment, all dumped on the Democrats to clean up - as they will - but at some cost, probably involving new, higher taxes. (You can already hear the "fiscal conservatives" screaming about that). And that's only assuming that they can get anything remotely resembling real fiscal reform past this president.

And while we're on the subject of jobs out-sourcing, let's not forget that the Democrats gave us that big "swooshing sound of jobs being sucked south," in the form of NAFTA.

The core issue of civil rights - habeas corpus - followed closely by privacy issues, will take a major fight to reaffirm, and that's going to be an uphill battle, unless and until it makes it to the Supreme Court, and quickly. Judge Stephens may step down - he's the oldest - and that would give the Senate a place to make a real stand, with a real, moderate jurist, and again only if they can muster the courage to fight the President to a standstill.

But even among the Dems themselves, issues divide the party, as evidenced by their voting history on some very critical issues:

· Vote to confirm John Roberts to the Supreme Court: Republicans (56-0) -- Democrats (22 -22)
· Cloture vote on Sam Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court: Republicans (54-0) -- Democrats (19-25)
· Vote on Authorization to use military force in Iraq: Republicans (48-1) -- Democrats - (29-21)
· Cloture vote on Bankruptcy Bill: Republicans (55-0) -- Democrats (14-30)
· Cloture vote on nomination of Priscilla Owens to appeals court: Republicans (55-0) -- Democrats (25-18)
· Torture/detention bill: Republicans (53-1) -- Democrats (12-33).

Remember those 'signing statements'? Bush is still guided by Gonzales' and John Yoo's truly bizarre reading of the Constitution. This is an especially troubling problem, requiring a truly concerted effort by Congress to take back their prerogatives, hell, the responsibilities mandated to them by the Constitution; no small feat, given their past performance and inclinations.

Speaking of which, when was the last time you heard Senator Hillary Clinton say Word One about Congressional responsibility in handing over duties and responsibility to the executive when it comes to the so-called "unitary executive"? Or a peep out of that new kid on the block, Barack Obama?

Whatever the outcome in November, it's gonna be tough sledding for a good while

Update: Link added to 'signing statements'


reddog said...

I don't really get those signing statements. Does Bush really think he can ignore the law if he chooses?

G. Randy Primm said...


i really can't speak to what might actually be passing through the decider's little pea brain, but we do know what he has actually done by his use of signing statements: simply told anybody who cares to read them that he (by virtue of the "separation of the powers" of the executive from congress) will 'interpret' legislation in any way he sees fit.[see the tome paine quote for relevence]

thus, if congress says that he can't spy on american citizens without a warrant, as required by the constitution, he will just interpret his "commander-in-chief" role to include spying on people without a warrant, and congress can go piss up a rope.

that's the short obnoxious answer. for a longer, less abusive explanation, you might want to check out glenn greenwald's fine blog, unclaimed territory, use his search box and type in "signing statements." the boston globe did an article about signing statements a few months ago that makes it very clear how bush is subverting the constitution.