Friday, September 22, 2006

[Hi folks. Senator Bulworth here. Thanks to Steve for inviting me and the rest of us into his pad for the week.]

At the very end of an article with this headline:

White House, Senators Near Pact on Interrogation Rules

there is this conclusion:

Democrats sounded a cautious note about the Republican accord, calling attention to the past Republican division rather than taking a position on the compromise.

"...rather than taking a position..."

This has been a consistent problem in the Democratic caucus rooms of the House and Senate. Now, there are two reasons why we might otherwise excuse Democrats from speaking out about this: Democrats in this parliamentary Congress don't have a say in policy-making and aren't given a place at the negotiating table, so what's there to contribute? The other obstensible reason for not speaking out would be, The Republicans are arguing among themselves and shooting themselves in their collective feet, so why stop them?

Either or both of these apologetics might be reasonable under certain circumstances, but these times are of course not certain circumstances: the timing of the upcoming elections combined with the severeness of the policy implications simply don't permit a hands-off approach.

If Democrats aren't invited to the negotiating table or assumed to be a part of the policy-making process, than there is a legislative tool or tools to deal with that. Reid has already exercised one of them. There are others. Like a filibuster, for instance. If there's an occasion or condition that warrants uninhibited use of the filibuster, it is in cases where the minority party is frozen out of the political process.

Instead, as Sadly No has documented, Democrats in Congress still, Still, seem to have their heads in the sand and want to emphasize economic issues in the upcoming elections and can't be bothered to even attend hearings where the administration's torture and confinement policies are being voted on.

Democratic Congressmen and Congresswomen, if you want the country to respect you (and let me say, we, your Democratic constituents and supporters need you to do be so respected, or at least relevant) than do the right thing. Speak up. Make yours, and our, voices heard. Don't leave the governing, and the spinning, to the GOP. While the media deserves its share of condemnation for ignoring you, your antics and sheepishness, Democrats, haven't earned you much credibility. This is especially the case if you're afraid, or are perceived as being afraid to make an unpopular stand.

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