Dear Democrats: Please Get Off Your Asses

Why are Republican Senators the only people taking a visible public stand against Bush’s attempt to create kangroo courts? Check it:

Several Republican senators are stepping up their opposition to the Bush administration’s plan to authorize military trials for suspected terrorists, with one calling a key part of the bill “ill-advised.” […]

Among other provisions, the administration’s bill would redefine the U.S. interpretation of part of the Geneva Conventions — a move Graham called “ill-advised.”

“I’m begging we don’t cross that line, because we need not to,” said Graham, who serves as a judge in the Air Force Reserve.

McCain’s office also released a letter from retired Army Gen. John Vessey, who was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Reagan administration, opposing the administration bill. Vessey told McCain the measure “would undermine the moral basis which has generally guided our conduct in war throughout our history.”

“In my short 46 years in the armed forces, Americans confronted the horrors of the prison camps of the Japanese during World War II, the North Koreans in 1950-53 and the North Vietnamese in the long years of the Vietnam War, as well as knowledge of the Nazis’ Holocaust depredations in World War II,” he wrote. “Though those years, we held to our own values. We should continue to do so.”

Say, it’d be nice if a Democrat could forcefully make this exact same argument and stick to it. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

P.S.- I don’t want to hear any excuses from you guys about not wanting to look “weak on terror.” Y’know what makes you guys look really weak? Letting Republicans take the lead in keeping Bush in check. That is pathetic. Grow a pair and stand up for your beliefs.


Comments: 56


Grow a pair and stand up for your beliefs.

Uh, first they would have to grow some beliefs.


Kathleen Sebelius and Hilary Clinton,queen and high-priestess of the cockroaches.


Indeed. There’s a 10-year or more history of the Democrats in Congress having not a single solid belief. (There’s a germ of a counter-example in Social Security – one could possibly argue that there’s a faint belief, buried deep, that Social Security shouldn’t be abolished.) But no others.

Go ahead, make the counter-argument. List a belief that Democratic congresspeople argue passionately for. Anything.

Rahm Ahackfromhell

We appreciate the input, Mr. R., but we’re sticking to our tried-and-true approach of talking about the bread-and-butter issues that the American people really care about.

Unless interrogators have been shoving buttered rolls up detainees’ asses, in which case we’ll take a pass.


I know, you guys are right- it’s just wishful thinking. I hate the damn Democrats. The only reason I support them is because I think the GOP is wrecking this frickin’ country.


Thanks for this. It’s bad enough that they’re keeping silent on an issue that involves torture and due process, and that everyone know it’s fear that’s keeping them silent, they’re letting McCain, maybe the GOP nominee for president, be the star defender of liberty. This really makes me sick. National security is not Dems’ biggest problem; it’s their fear of looking soft on national security. Cowards. You know if I were running for the Democratic nomination and wanted to make headway with activists, I’d speak up. Now. I’d say something like, Even awful people deserve fair trials. The Nazis got them. So should Al Qaeda. These trials aren’t about them. They’re about us.


It doesn’t count unless a Republican says it.

Every news organization in America

Bill in Portland Maine

Just a reminder:

Democrats have NO POWER. Democrats have NO BULLHORN. Democrats who shout are derided as WHINERS.

The cards are hugely stacked against us and it’s easy to lose sight of that.

You go to Congress and see how much noise you could make that would actually get heard. I agree that we could do more. At the same time, we’re just gnats on an elephant.

The Republican dissenters are making headlines because Republican disagreement with the president is about as rare as Dennis Hastert remembering the words to the National Anthem. It’s like a new Panda being born. It’s a shiny object that fascinates the press. It NEVER HAPPENS.

Now, if the Dems don’t threaten to use the filibuster and then actually USE it, I’ll agree with everything you say.


Ann Richards died last night. Goddamn.


I work for the Democrats and I hate them too. What a big bunch of pussies. They’re utterly pathetic.


That’s the problem, they are standing up for what they believe.

They believe President Bush has the right approach. Sen. Kerry based his entire Presidential campaign on being a better manager of the Bush Plan than Bush himself. Sen. Clinton is running on the same track, as are most if not all national level Democrats.

And they wonder why they can’t win. A platform that says “I’ll be a better Bush than Bush” is doomed from the start.


I hate the damn Democrats. The only reason I support them is because I think the GOP is wrecking this frickin’ country.

Well, Brad R., the good news for the Democrats is that forty-some-odd percent of the American public more or less agree with you.

The bad news is that that’s about all the votes the Democrats can count on. They got nothin’ else. And if they were to somehow win, they’d have virtually no mandate to do anything, nor would they know what to do.

As for this old saw from Bill in Portland…

Democrats have NO POWER. Democrats have NO BULLHORN. Democrats who shout are derided as WHINERS.

First, I call BULLSHIT. Any party with more than forty Senators has real, measurable power, if they choose to use it. The Democrats, over and over again, choose to keep their powder dry.

Second, even without the power that forty votes in the Senate buy you, a party can exert power in other ways. As the minority party in the House (where the minority party truly has no procedural power) under Newt Gingrich, the GOP was able to articulate an ideology and make a political difference (remember Jim Wright?). Democrats are seemingly unwillingly to do so. The one exception is the Social Security debate, on which the Democrats succesfullyheld the line, which nicely illustrates the power that Democrats could exercise if they could be bothered to do so.

Bottom line: the Democrats perfectly combine an utterly inadequate agenda with near total political ineffectualness. America needs something better — whether in the form of a greatly reformed Democratic Party or a third party movement. And we won’t get something better if folks with Brad R’s feelings about the Dems continue to simply hold their noses and vote for these losers.


Go ahead, make the counter-argument. List a belief that Democratic congresspeople argue passionately for. Anything.

Keeping their jobs at all costs…


Like BIPM says above, they have no power to effect anything directly at this stage – they can only mount a filibuster when the time comes.

That said, even if our current system did allow them to have some power, they would probably still act the same way – why? Cause the modern national democratic party is beltway centric, which means they are (like the gang of 500) focused on process and not substance. In pure short term political calculation, letting the rethug apostates grandstand (without any loud, concurrent howls from the dems on the issue) hits Bush, widens the gap between the internationalist corporate moneymen and the wingnut base, and gets the issue out there while still “keeping the powder dry”. Longer term, it only further reinforces a wishy-washy democratic brand. Process, process, process. Bleh.

Bill in Portland Maine

Ben A,

Your points are duly noted. One of the reasons why the Dem leadership has become so politically weak is because they’ve allowed the Republicans to become so politically strong. The non-fight we put up during the 2000 election was probably the tipping point. Dems wanted to go so far out of their way to prove that there weren’t any sour grapes and “can’t we all just get along?” that they got completely shredded by the disciplined and wholly dishonest GOP.

As we saw in the filibuster kerfuffle that resulted in the ridiculous “Gang of 14,” the Republicans have no problem threatening to strip power from the minority party. They also have no problem shutting off Congress’s oversight function. That’s unprecedented, as is their uber-cozy relationship with the president. It’s become one big Executive Branch and that’s a very, very difficult nut for 40 Senators to crack. I think we’ll look back one day and say to ourselves, “Man, Washington really turned into the Soviet Union for awhile, didn’t it?” It’s a kind of politics I never thought could be practiced in this country.

And the fact remains that the traditional media—the machine that dictates what the public sees and often tells them what to think—is a lazy, right-leaning monolith. That’s why we get headlines like, “Dems claim evidence shows gravity exists. Others disagree.” It’s just lunacy these days. Thank God, at least, for the thorn in their side that is the netroots.


Um, yeah, maybe it’s because the corporate media isn’t really allowing Democratic spokescritters any face time.


And in the great state of Pennsylvania, the *Repubs* are the ones pushing a bill that would guarantee rape victims access to emergency contraception.

The Dems? Nowhere to be seen.

God, I *love* the Democratic Party…[sigh]


Rahm said: “We appreciate the input, Mr. R., but we’re sticking to our tried-and-true approach of talking about the bread-and-butter issues that the American people really care about.Unless interrogators have been shoving buttered rolls up detainees’ asses, in which case we’ll take a pass.”

Hee hee.

More than a hundred detainnees have died in U.S custody. Rendition. Secret prisons. Not a single senior officer or policymaker has been punished for enabling the toture that in turn endangers American lives. Big stuff. The worst stuff. And the Dems say nothing.

Where’s Russ?


I atill say the big tumor is the elite Beltway media — the lickspittles who follow Bush around and say, “Ooooh! A new series of speeches on Iraq and how it fits into the wider war on terrorism! Cool! And I bet it will result in a newly rejuvenated GOP! I’m squirming with delight!”

I don’t even think it’s the whole press corps — the reporters in Iraq, for instance (Thomas Ricks, Michael Gordon, Michael Ware, etc.) are clearly willing to call bullshit, and aren’t being silenced by the “corporate media.” It’s the Nagourneys and the Joe Kleins and the Mark Halperins who are the malignancy.

If I had the power of, say, Kos, I wouldn’t be trying to bum-rush the Democratic Party — I’d be trying to “work the refs” to try to put all of the Beltway press’s conventional wisdom under a cloud of suspicion. Until that happens, the Democrats can do whatever the fuck they want, even win the presidency (see: 1/20/93 – 1/20/01), and no one will take them seriously.


Democrats have NO POWER. Democrats have NO BULLHORN.

Maybe it’s too late — too close to the election, so it would simply look like a political stunt — but this is what I think the Democrats should have done as soon as the Republicans started jiggering the House and Senate rules to cut the Democrats out of the loop:

Every day, every last Democratic Senator and Congresscritter goes out on the front steps of the Capitol, in one big group, and one of them (different one each day) steps forward to make a prepared statement about being shut out of the process. They would say “We want to put forward laws to improve x, y and z, but the Republicans — who control every branch of the government — are preventing us from doing our jobs.”

I think that the press would cover that, but maybe I’m just deluding myself.


This isn’t a fair criticism. The fact is “Republicans oppose Bush” is considered a news story and “Democrats oppose Bush” is considered partisan bickering. Feingold, Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Al Gore. John Conyers has given numerous speeches on the floor vehemently opposing these policies. Maybe they’re ignored by the press, or maybe they’re terrible at P.R. but they aren’t avoiding the fight.


Remember also, that ,unlike most Democrats, these “opposition Republicans” have repeatedly voted to protect the president from any oversight on this issue and all others. McCain, Graham and the rest have always come back into the fold in the end.

In January, Specter was considered the independent minded Republican fighting against the president on illegal wiretapping. Now he’s considered the president’s lackey, drafting and forcing through legislation that would legalize retroactively, everything the president has done and give him more powers on top of that.


And it also becomes newsworthy because the Republicans, unlike the Democrats, can do something about it–they have the Congressional majority. So it therefore becomes like any other federal government news story–“The President wants to do something; Congress is opposed.”


They will not do this. Their big money donors have issued the orders through their consultants: ‘Keep yer mouth shut…we’re doin’ fine…’ Yeah, it’s a wonderful thing being the minority party. Do nothing and get paid.

The real fight is starting now that the weakedn ReThugs are losing their grip. The fight by the people of the United States to take back the Congress from the bought and paid for slaves of the Corporate State…

That’s almost everybody in Congress at present.

I propose a simple litmus test:

If you voted for the AUMF….you gotta go.

If you voted for the bankruptcy bill…you gotta go.

It’s as simple as that.

Get up off the couch and start working to take back the Congress, for the people, not the Democrat Party.


C’mon Brad. Democrats trying to stop the NSA stuff isn’t news, it’s a tautology. And tautologies belong in reference libraries. We all know newsies never actually go near libraries, Red or Blue.

Now the GOP attacking Bush on this during an election year, that’s *news*. News gets attention.


Mike said, “McCain, Graham and the rest have always come back into the fold in the end.”

Which makes it all the more urgent that the Dems take a stand. Everyone is focusing on the politics: let’s not forget the issue itself. Dems, by their silence, are enabling torture and sham trials. Bush’s bill says evidence gained through torture is inadmissable but doesn’t define torture. Is it too much for a Democrat to attempt to define torture? Apparently so.


I’m still waiting on a Democrat not named “Kucinich” to just come out and say that the entire “war on terror” is a sham. I think it’s going to take a statement that bold and counter to the coventional wisdom to really get serious debate going.

If the Democrats continue to discuss the issues in the terms set forth by the Republicans (“War on Terror”, “pro-life”, “faith-based initiatives”, etc) then they’re going to continue to seem irrelevant to the common voter (SUV driving breeders).


This whole Specter bill to legalize the wiretapping of american citizens without a warrant has me confused. You can’t do that. You swore an oath to uphold the constitution. Forget FISA, what about the fourth amendment? What court anywhere is going to be able to say that this legislation is constitutional? My gawd, how can we have gotten to this point?



We all know newsies never actually go near libraries, Red or Blue.

As a journalist-turned-librarian, I take exception!

But I was never a hard news journalist. And I plan on being a kickass librarian.


Travis said,
September 14, 2006 at 18:06

… the entire “war on terrorâ€? is a sham. …

You’re goddamned right it is.


I am so sick and tired of ignorant rants against the Democrats. I am assuming that you’re pissed off because some Dems (40%) voted for the Iraq war resolution, and from that, you are drawing the conclusion that they are the same as the Republicans. Are you seriously that ill-informed?!?!?

1) Anyone hear of the Out of Iraq Caucus in the House? No, because they’re Democratic. There are far more than 100 members. They’ve been trying to get us out for years now.

2) Anyone hear of John Conyers’ call for an investigation into Bush’s many crimes (INCLUDING WARRANTLESS WIRETAPPING) and impeachment as a remedy “if” they are true? No, huh? Guess what? He’s a Democrat.

3) Russ Feingold ALREADY SAID the war on terror was a misnomer. Other Dems are starting to say it too. He also made a motion for censure in the Senate.

4) Dems who run for President HAVE TO RUN on Bush’s record. They HAVE TO SAY that they would manage the mess better. Why? BECAUSE THEY WILL INHERIT IT. They had nothing to do with the mess BEING THE MINORITY PARTY, but unfortunately for America, the Bush administration pooped all over the national carpet, and as usual, the adults (the Dems) will have to clean it up.

Anyone who doesn’t watch C-Span or Olbermann will not see Democrats represented correctly. That’s the reality of today’s “Fairness Doctrine-Free” media, courtesy of Ronnie Reagan.

If there is still an American who cannot tell the difference between how a Democrat runs the country and how a radical right wing-nut does so, please do the following:

1) Check any Democrat’s history as a President.
2) Check any Repub’s since Reagan, when the wingers took over the party.
3) Repeat.



So because a few whiner Republicans want to look impressive, you all bash the Democrats more for not writing their suicide pact?

The fact is that the Democrat Party picked their side on Security when they tried to kill the Patriot Act in December.

This is basically a duel between morons who think the Democrat Party is too conservative and morons who think the media is too conservative.

Neither one of you is going to impress the other, and your total stupidity will show the world that the Democrat Party is the party of hate, not a party of ideas, like the GOP.


So what’s your role in this, Rupps? Is it to point out that your cat can eat a whole watermelon?


The fact is that the Democrat Party picked their side on Security when they tried to kill the Patriot Act in December.

Damn, lookit that, Gary’s right again. You’re damn skippy we picked our side when we resisted the most egregious portions of the so-called “Patriot Act”. We picked the side of defending the American Constitution, that quaint old document that SOME of us still think is important…



Mr Ruppert seems a little ‘on edge’ today.


Oooh! Gary Ruppert, spokeswussy for the Republic Party strikes out again. Scarey!!


Republicans like Gary have been known to strike out in T-Ball.


Travis is right.

If the Repubs can have a War On Terror, I’m going to have a War on Sprawl.

Death to the Suburbs.


I’m gonna have a war on goosebumps. I mean, that’s just creepy…



madamab: “I am so sick and tired of ignorant rants against the Democrats.”

Got to say, she’s right. Anyone who reflexively bashes the Dems for not getting the same high-profile coverage as the Republicans (who control house, senate, wh, etc…) is *incredibly* naive about how things work in Washington generally, and in the media that covers DC specifically.

I know it’s frustrating, but that’s just the way it is kids. And no amount of standing on the west steps of the capitol, and ‘whining’ about not getting a up-or-down vote on your amendment is going to get press coverage. Period. To any national reporting outlet, it’s either not news, or worse, it’s an occasion for ridicule. Google “milbank conyers” and read the first hit if you need to be educated further.



I’d like a War on SUVs


So Gary?
Former high-ranking career military types and former prisoners of war are “whiny Republicans looking for attention”?

Karl would be SO proud! You should send him that so he can use it in his next speech.


Anyone who reflexively bashes the Dems for not getting the same high-profile coverage as the Republicans (who control house, senate, wh, etc…) is *incredibly* naive about how things work in Washington generally…

I don’t think that’s the point. If a democratic politician were to stand up and challenge the administration without fear of looking “soft” or somehow being painted as “defeatist”, I assure you the coverage would be large. It’s not that they can’t get their voices heard, it’s that they are afraid to raise their voices in opposition.

Here in california, we have an incredibly unfair “three strikes” law, under which people have been locked up for life for stealing a bicycle in one case, and a pizza in another. Everyone knows it’s unfair and utterly wrong, but it’s political suicide to say so, because your opponent comes out and says you’re “soft on crime”. This is the problem. In the glare of the 24 hour news cycle, there is no such thing as political courage anymore, because they feel it makes them vulnerable. At some point, one hopes they’ll discover that the people are STARVING for political courage – from both sides…



mikey, I’m gonna change my mind.

Continuing the theme of my lunch today, I am hereby inaugurating the War on Sobriety.

If you’re not screwed up, you are objectively a simpering moralist, an prohibito-fascist.


And if you’re not with us, your against us. I’m off to Chilis for a beer and a sandwich and a beer and a beer…



upon further examination I think Ruppert’s gimmick would work better if he was also an Objectivist


mikey said,
September 14, 2006 at 20:57

I’m gonna have a war on goosebumps. I mean, that’s just creepy…

Do you suffer from the heartbreak of horripilations ?


Do you suffer from the heartbreak of horripilations ?

Well, yeah, but I have the Preparation H…



I fucking miss Paul Wellstone.


I don’t like it, but need to call BS on this one. Every Democrat voted to keep military tribunals under the Geneva Convention. Every. Single. One. The media likes intra-party squabbles, so that’s how they’re framing it.

Carl Levin can only do so much. Reporters can print it, or decide to write their little narrative fantasy story.


I’d like to see the war on war: when pacifists attack. “They’ve turned their last cheek…”


This is another reason why I’m an Independent, not a Democrat.


Well here ya go then.

“Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), for one, decided she’d had enough.

“In light of the rantings that went on for 30 minutes by two colleagues from the other side, I’d like to state for the record that America is not tired of fighting terrorism; America is tired of the wrongheaded and boneheaded leadership of the Republican party that has sent six and a half billion a month to Iraq while the front line was Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. That led this country to attack Saddam Hussein, when we were attacked by Osama bin Laden. Who captured a man who did not attack the country and let loose a man that did. Americans are tired of boneheaded Republican leadership that alienates our allies when we need them the most. Americans are most certainly tired of leadership that despite documenting mistake after mistake after mistake, even of their own party admitting mistakes, never admit they do anything wrong. That’s the kind of leadership Americans are tired of.”

“She concluded,

“I’m not going to sit here as a Democrat and let the Republican leadership come to the floor and talk about Democrats not making us safe. They’re the ones in charge and Osama bin Laden is still at loose.”

Though I doubt she will ever grow a pair, and apparently doesn’t need to.


“High-profile coverage” isn’t the issue. The Democrats as a party haven’t been opposing the war in their own position papers. One of my senators is on the damn Intelligence Committee, and he made a couple of statements about how he thought illegal warrantless wiretapping was maybe a bad thing but he was going to have to wait and see what Pat Roberts’s special investigation said about it, then he went and spent a bunch of time promoting his flat tax proposal — which did get into the papers. He was just testing the waters, waiting to see which way puyblic opinion was going to break before he came down on one side or the other.

His tax proposal sucks, too.


[…] As Brad R. at Sadly No! says, grow a pair. […]


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