Saturday, August 04, 2007

"Meet the new boss; same as the old boss."

Pete Townshend wrote the words and Roger Daltrey sang them more than 35 years ago, but the words are just as apt today.

Last year at this time, Congress was nothing more than a White House lapdog, ecstatic over whatever tablescraps were thrown its way and cowering at the mildest furrowed Presidential eyebrow.

Less than a year ago, more than 40 Democrats won election to the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time. They were part of a 'Blue Wave' that came about in major part because of the nation's disgust with the Republican culture of corruption in Congress and the White House.

They were supposed to bring about a change in D.C.

They were supposed to repair some of the damage to the country that has been wrought by more than 7 years of Republican contempt for the Constitution and the rule of law.

Failing that, even with an evenly-divided Senate and a veto-pen wielding President, they were supposed to at least stop the bleeding; they were supposed to stop the 'worst of the worst' legislation from reaching the President's desk.

Thousands of people worked for hundreds of thousands of hours to help them get where they could do the most good for their districts and for the American people.

So how did nearly a third of the 'Blue Wavers' thank their supporters?

By joining the Republican drive for an imperial presidency.

Last night, 41 Democrats, including 'Blue Wavers' Harry Mitchell, Joe Donnelly, Brad Ellsworth, Baron Hill, Tim Walz, Heath Schuler, Charlie Wilson, Zack Space, Jason Altmire, Chris Carney, Nick Lampson, and Ciro Rodriguez paid back all of their voters, volunteers, and contributors with a knife right through the Constitution.

By a vote of 227 - 183, 23 not voting, the House passed S1927, a bill amending the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to give the President and Attorney General carte blanche to wiretap and otherwise electronically eavesdrop on foreign terror suspects' communications and any Americans suspected of being associated with them.

The kicker: As long as they say that the "primary target" of the surveillance is a 'foreign' terror suspect, there's absolutely no judicial oversight required, not even by the super-secret FISA court that never says 'no' to the President.

Even if the surveillance is of an American's communications, in America.

Could someone explain to me how obtaining a warrant within ten days after the onset of such surveillance activities from a secret and rubberstamp-in-all-but-name court helps terrorists?

And if anyone in D.C. should understand the meaning of phrases like 'checks and balances' and 'separation of powers' and why they are so vital to our system of government, it's the guy who taught government at Tempe High for nearly three decades, CD5's own Harry Mitchell.

Whatthehell was he thinking???

I've disagreed with Harry on a number of issues, but they were all 'policy' types of issues, subject to change as the times change. The sorts of things that 'reasonable people of good intent' can disagree about, but disagree reasonably and respectfully.

Those differences were mere window-dressing compared to our difference of opinion on fundamental issues such as the Constitution and civil liberties and Bush's incessant attacks upon both.

With this vote Harry Mitchell, and the 40 other Democrats who joined him, have run the risk of no longer being 'reasonable people of good intent'; instead, they run the risk of being active accessories to Bush and his cronies in their grab for power.

They only change brought about by the vaunted 'Blue Wave' is now that it takes a full-blown stern look to make Congress cower.

Washington Post coverage here.

Good night....

1 comment:

texex said...

"They were supposed to bring about a change in D.C."

It's all a matter of balls. They're easy to have in front of a bunch of campaign supporters at home. But they seem to shrink to the size of bb's once they're sworn in and are just one in 435.

Every now and then the folks at home need to grab 'em and squeeze real hard to get the blood flowing again.