Right votes, wrong reasons

January 29th, 2008 – 11:26 pm
Tagged as: Law,Politics

In case you find yourself thinking that the majority of Senate Democrats actually care about things like the rule of law, Glenn Greenwald puts Monday’s vote into perspective for you:

Senate Democrats today took a stand for their procedural rights, not against telecom immunity or warrantless eavesdropping. After all, many of the Senate Democrats who voted to filibuster this bill were more than ready last week to vote for that bill, and they will vote for it again soon enough. Moreover, while they were upset that they were denied the right to vote on these amendments, many of them intend to vote against those very same amendments and will ensure that most, if not all of them, fail, so that the bill arrives at the White House in a form acceptable to the Leader.

As indicated, it’s preferable for several reasons that the Cloture Motion failed today — and one can still praise Senate Democrats for refusing to capitulate fully (at least yet) — but it isn’t the case that Senate Democrats collectively took a stand here for anything more substantive than their own institutional customs. Many of the Democratic Senators whom you like today for voting against cloture will be voting soon enough in favor of telecom amnesty and for warrantless eavesdropping. The House is the real hope for stopping these measures.

Yes, better the right vote for the wrong reasons than the wrong vote, but it’s more than a little sad that apparently the only really important things for many Senators (good examples are Rockefeller and Specter) are their precious privileges. I’m sure though that more than one of the Senators who in the future casts votes in favor of telecom amnesty will issue a press release pointing to their vote on Monday as evidence that they stood up for the rule of law, when in fact they couldn’t really care less. For now, the important thing is to keep the pressure on, and give the Senate Democrats another chance to continue on the long road to redemption. I’m skeptical that they actually want to be redeemed, but there’s little harm in trying.

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    There are about 15 Senate Democrats who I’d be much happier with if they’d shake off their chains and join Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders…

    Comment made by B.Dewhirst on January 30, 2008 @ 8:40 am


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