Thursday, October 18, 2007

Poll: Americans want Congress to Stand Up to Bush, But All They Get is This Lousy Move-On Censure.

by KathyinBlacksburg, Thu Oct 04, 2007 at 11:26:43 AM EST

[Note: This first appeared on October 4 at A slightly different version of the commentary is cross-posted at under a different title. I have decided to post it to my own blog as well.]

A new Washington Post-ABC poll here shows that Americans want the Congress to stand up to the Bush administration. That's in the real world, but in Congress World it's as "Bizarro-world" as a Saturday Night Live skit.
On Monday, the Senate voted 97 to 3 to give Bush everything he wants --again. Moreover, this WonderBread Senate doesn't know the difference between supporting the troops, supporting the safe redeployment of the troops, hyper-militarization, and military idolatry. Our military defends us, or it is supposed to. But now, it is being misused, and so are we.

We owe our military servicemen and women our respect and appreciation. We owe them honesty in recruiting, honest and sufficient equipping of their deployment, fair treatment, good medical care when they return. I also believe we owe them a GI bill for post-service reeducation, if they wish it. However, we do not owe each and every individual who has served a free pass. Given Petraeus' politcized history and recent Senate testimony, all bets are off. But too many Congressional Democrats think that, in order to support the military, they must give blind homage to the likes of Petraeus. And so they attack their own instead. If you accept the logic of the Congress, it's hard to see how the civilian side of this country is actually in charge. Reflexively giving the Bush Pentagon cart blanch is no civilian oversight. (The Webb Commission, and his efforts to rein in Bush on Iran, are notable exceptions to the utter Wasteland that is the Senate.) And reflexive subservience to authoritarianism is not the same thing as supporting a strong defense.
Dozens of retired Generals have come forward to protest what is going on in Iraq. But rank-and-file Democrats, even moderate PACs have no such right to challenge, albeit irreverently. We are only free to subscribe to DLC-wing orthodoxy.
"What the Hell Is Going On?" asked one blogger after the Senate censure of He continues:

"No impeachment proceedings, despite the Kucinich Impeachment Articles languishing in the House? A refusal to make the Republican Senators filibuster the Webb amendment that would http:have required a mandatory year's rest between deployments to Iraq or Afghanistan (which wasn't even an antiwar bill, but one crafted specifically to support the troops)? Twenty two Democratic Senators voting to condemn for exercising its right to free speech? No strategy for ending this war other than a vain hope to "peel away" a few "moderate" Republicans? Mealy-mouthed explanations for why nothing gets done?"

Speaker Pelosi hopes to back-burner such compelling issues as troop redeployment until January. Harry Reid demurs to Pelosi. Are either of them even breathing? Read more from Bradblog here .

The GOP relentlessly attacks and defames Democrats, their patriotism, their citizenship, even their right to exist in this Country. What do OUR elected representatives do? They attack us. Even Sen. James Webb, whom I personally went door-to-door for? They vote "yes" on a resolution to condemn us. "Nice."
Move-on was born defending Bill Clinton (a DLC, not liberal) Democrat against being thrown out of office. Numerous phony Starr investigations were framed to accomplish one thing: A perjury trap. Back then, along with other Move-on members, I spent my free time fighting impeachment. MoveOn is, essentially, me. I am not a major figure or donor, but an occasional small-change one. I haven't led a Move-On Meetup group. But I salute the organization's willingness to be firm, tough even, in their advocacy, something most Dems could learn. While previously one Dem after another rolled over and played dead, heroically fought an illegal war based on lies. Even the majority of Americans now see it. So, why punish a group that saw what most of the lazy GOP-appeaser Senators and US Representatives would not. But judging from the lopsided vote Monday, it looks like almost no one is really willing to stand up to Bush anymore. How will they then do so when he ups his authoritarian ante? And he always does.

When rubber meets the road,only a handful of our elected representatives do what we hired them to do. The others have been fooled or manipulated once, twice, three times --they've struck out. Every minute we are in Iraq we are less safe, not just over there, but here. We are supposed to have a Defense Dept., not an Offense Dept. And because our government continues in its campaign to hold the wrong people accountable for 9-11, we all pay the price. We are paying quite enough, Mr. Obey, who wants a "war tax." What will it take for them to turn off the spigot? There is enough money in the pipeline NOW to bring the troops safely home, and/or redeploy them.

This August, Congress couldn't even be bothered to conjure up the spine to see through Bush's false claim of a threat made to the US Capitol. And it granted Bush his extension to the upending of FISA. More spying on Americans. Unbelievably, after manipulating Congress already, just last week, an administration spokesman claimed in testimony before Congress that just discussing or questioning making the extension permanent would cause deaths! The extension doesn't end till February, but Congress is already being strong-armed into making spying permanent. Where is the oversight--and the Constitution? One false terrorism scare after another--three such pretenses rolled out in just the past two weeks. And the Congress fiddles, beats up on Democratic activists, and kicks 'em while they are down. Citizens are unjustly turned into "the enemy" with the turn of a phrase, when they are not (the enemy), but rather patriots.

As our government attempted to curtail civil liberties right and left, waged a massive letter-writing campaign, phone calling, and petition drives. It provided Al Gore with a forum for a series of remarkable and courageous speeches on foreign policy, security, and the Constitution. ran ads concerning the issues of our time. It defended Democrats against election fraud, and stolen elections. It worked to prevent real vote-count fraud, even as Congressional Dems sold us out with their cop to support the oxymoronic "Help America Vote Act. What is obvious to anyone who looks is that, despite the re-labeling and nastiness on the right (err wrong-wing) spin machine, MoveOn is mainstream. But Congress and even some here at RK clone the GOP spin, claiming is "radical.' For shame. There is a long list of accomplishments, but I will not list them all here.

Petraeus entered into the fair-game arena three years ago, when he defied military code to write a NY Times op-ed in 2004 to support President Bush's reelection. Generals still on active duty are prohibited from doing that. But we are led to believe he is above scrutiny. More recently, he let himself be used to front White House ghost writers' report--this after the Congress had deferred to Petraeus ("Let's wait to see what General Petraeus says...") and abrogated its oversight responsibility. That much is Congress's fault too, but Petraeus was only too happy to oblige in eliminating the line between the military and civilian authority. When Petraeus testified before Congress, it was clear to anyone who listened, that, despite whatever honor he brought to previous service, he did not do so in his testimony.

When given the opportunity to do so, Congress will default to their worst play book, every time. And, so, rather than condemn John McCain, who unbelievably called for kicking Move-On out of the country, as being the Joseph McCarthyite that he (McCain) is, the simpering congressional apologists for McCarthyism and authoritarian oiligarchy kicked it up a notch. In what universe is questioning an administration which undermines our country, unpatriotic? One which destroys our cherished Constitution? Or an individual military leader, whose own superior at CENTCOM, Admiral Fallon, condemned him as well? The military, like any institution of human beings, is not above reproach. And criticizing a single individual does not make a person or group "anti-military." God forbid!

How is it unpatriotic to care so much about our country that a group of citizens summoned up the thousands of dollars to run an ad in the truest exercise of our Constitutional liberties? How is it so to do one's homework and pay attention? We in the blogosphere are paying attention because the Congress and corporate media often refuse to do so? Why are not the enablers of such attacks on focusing their sights on the liars of the Century, perhaps the millennia? Why?

We now know, thanks to a blogger at MyDD, that a month before the war Saddam Hussein offered to go into hiding and leave peacefully. But Bush unleashed this terrible war anyway. This makes Congressional bending over even more pathetic and outrageous. This war was was completely unnecessary. But Congressional Democrats are conditioned to seek strength by flexing military might instead of spine strength. There's supposedly only one model for patriotism and it's the repressive GOP model, the authoritarian model, the scrap the Constitution model, the throw-money-at-the military model, the back-any-war-at-any-time, model; the leave- bases-open-even-ones-the-BRAC-Commission -wants-closed model, the never-saw-a-weapons-system-they wouldn't buy model. Oh, ya gotta play tough! Do they not know that that military prop-ism is the surest sign of weakness? Indeed, war hero, General and President Dwight David Eisenhower, knew better than that.
At first Hillary was the only Dem to back Move-On, but then, predictably, she caved and ...condemned Read about it here. Then she sicked Bill on the GOP (via his rant on CNN), so she could have it both ways. Now she, along with the rest of the Democratic pack, is just fine with attacks on the patriotism of Move-On. Bite the hand that feeds her, works to elect her, defends her when she is under attack. ARGHHHHHHHH!

We have reached a time when candidate Hillary Clinton won't take the "nuclear option" off the table against an ally (Pakistan). She "needs" to act tough. We condemn countries which saber rattle, conveniently forgetting that our own representatives and talking heads engage in the most reckless speech imaginable. They lust after the next war, and the next. They conjure up their dream war scenarios, nightmares if unleashed upon the world. Do they even understand geography? Have they looked at a map lately? They are the ones, Lieberman-like, talking about destroying countries and yet we are to believe that is hurting America!

And so, the trumped up case for war in Iraq now has a sequel --on the drawing boards in DC and in a newspaper or TV "news" program near you. And it looms as an unbelievable threat to our men and women in the armed services in Iraq. But Bush doesn't care about the troops. Boston Globe columnist James Carroll has written here:

It's hard to imagine that President Bush would actually order an attack against Iran, despite the drumbeat, since the assault would instantly turn 160,000 troops into Shi'ite hostages. But consider such a war, Bush (and Joe Lieberman et al) are. The wars ensuing will last the lifetime of those much younger than I. Americans aren't buying it as Sy Hersh points out:

First, the President and his senior advisers have concluded that their campaign to convince the American public that Iran poses an imminent threat has failed...

We've been lied into war before, after all. But Webb's efforts notwithstanding, much of Congress, apparently, is buying it. Hersh has some terrifying things to report about the newest proclivities of the Bush administration concerning Iran. Read it here.

Meanwhile, our illustrious Senate and House censure So little range of discussion is allowed on this subject, without some of us being trounced. Dummy up, it was suggested. It makes me sadder than I can say. "Things will get better," some say. "Just turn out the votes in November." But we've heard that one before, over and over for forty-plus years I've heard it. The thing is, our beloved party never seems to learn. Hubert Humphrey, the greatest appeaser to the GOP frame in my lifetime, the man who wanted "to win" above principle, sold his soul as heads were cracked (literally) in Chicago, 1968. And Humphrey lives in the person of most Dems voting yes on the Move-on censure. There is such a thing as wanting to win too much. Those who do (want to win too much) end up having nothing to offer. They smile broad smiles, but are dead inside.

Here's a hard truth: It's not just the Congress's fault. Many members of the organized party, your friends and mine, don't care about anything , except taking the safe path, and "winning" (what I am not sure). I am so sick of going to events where I hear folks who are willing to write off any issue, any and every ideal, just to win. They are out of step with most Americans. And the Washington Post-AP Poll shows it. What if play-it-safers have traded away everything important? Sure winning is crucial, but we don't win anything without a real agenda. We must take back a meaningful majority in Congress and both state legislative bodies.

It has also been asserted that those who contest the unforgivable censure of could cause a loss in November. However, national Dems censuring their own side of the aisle should have thought about that, for it is they who are responsible for any fall-out or loss of voter motivation. They did this, not Move-On, and not those supporting MoveOn. GOP-appeasing Dems care nothing of the big tent of their own party, attracting and keeping grassroots supporters in the party rank-and-file. We are dead to them. We are not a Big Tent Party, but a GOP-enabler party, a play-to-the-conservatives'-base party, a rub-elbows-at-the-theocratic-organization-The Fellowship party. (According to the new issue of Mother Jones, Hillary actually belongs to this group).

Along with Humbert Humphrey, the DLC lives in the hearts of the Democratic front runners,* and as long as it does, there is no broad Democratic party, only the Bush and Bush-lite Parties. Sound familiar? We must get our party leaders to be more inclusive, while showing tenaciousness at the same time. If they don't heed the message, they should be challenged with primaries--every single one of the GOP appeasers. Note that consensus seekers are not GOP-appeasers, but cowering Dems who allow the radical right to frame us are. When will they stop worrying about what they'll say at FAUX News?

David Brooks isn't right about much, but he's right when he asserts that Dems despise their netroots. And this controversy proves it. Meanwhile, as Congress shirks its responsibilities, MoveOn continues with it's share the heavy lifting, the work needed to refute the lie machine that is our government. And it holds public officials' feet to the fire. All Dems owe a debt of gratitude for their many efforts. But you won't find many doing the right thing and thanking them. No, they'll run for cover. Before long there won't be many critics with the courage to speak out about anything.

So, I am not going to do the supposedly obligatory scold about the wording of an ad I didn't write or pay for. I support them whether or not the ad was smart, whether or not I'd have written it the same way. To do otherwise misses the point. This is not about "disappointment." Nor is it about being unable to handle differences of opinion, or wanting everything "my way," as a couple bloggers elsewhere have argued. It's about getting nothing but contempt from my own national party, the party of my last forty-plus years of my voting life. is me and millions of dedicated patriots all over this country. And our national party sells us down the sewer for so little.


* One recent and courageous exception is Barack Obama's comments about a nuclear freeze.