Friday, September 29, 2006

You Go to Elections With the Party You Have, Not the Party You Wish You Had

Yes, I'm disappointed. Yes, I'm angry. We're all disappointed, and we're all angry.

But for those who are ready to ditch the Democrats altogether because they failed to defeat the detainee bill--because twelve of them voted with the Republicans--I think Maha and Glenn Greenwald have wise counsel.

Here's Maha:
I see a Dem takeover of Congress this November as a stopgap measure. Even if Dems take both houses of Congress we face enormous challenges to pull the nation back from the brink and restore our pathological political culture to something approaching health. But if the Republicans keep control of both houses of Congress, the task of saving our nation may become impossible.

Time is short. We cannot afford to sit on our hands and wait for the Messiah Candidate to come and save us. We’ve got to work with the tools we have. Once we’ve pulled back from the brink of disaster we can take steps to get better tools.
And Greenwald:
But a desire to see the Democrats take over Congress -- even a strong desire for that outcome and willingness to work for it -- does not have to be, and at least for me is not, driven by a belief that Washington Democrats are commendable or praiseworthy and deserve to be put into power. Instead, a Democratic victory is an instrument -- an indispensable weapon -- in battling the growing excesses and profound abuses and indescribably destructive behavior of the Bush administration and their increasingly authoritarian followers....

For all their imperfections, cowardly acts, strategically stupid decisions, and inexcusable acquiescence -- and that list is depressingly long -- it is still the case that Democrats voted overwhelmingly against this torture and detention atrocity....

Continued unchallenged Republican control of our government for two more years will wreak untold damage on our country, perhaps debilitating it past the point of no return. There is only one viable, realistic alternative to that scenario: a Democratic takeover in six weeks of one or both houses of Congress. Even that would be far from a magic bullet; the limits imposed by Democrats even when they are in the majority would be incremental and painfully modest. But the reality is that this is the only way available for there to be any limits and checks at all.
This vote makes a Democratic victory in November more, not less, important. Go ahead and vent your anger at the people who have earned it--but when it matters, hold your nose (if you need to) and vote for the party that voted against torture.

[Cross-posted at If I Ran the Zoo]

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