April 14, 2006

Keep that Powder Dry, Brave Democrats

It's quite a track record the "opposition party" has compiled over the last several years:

The constitutional disaster of the Patriot Act, which practically everyone in Congress voted for the first time without even having read it. Russ Feingold voted against it -- and he was the only Senator to do so.

And then Congress caved on it a second time, as Feingold discusses here.

No serious opposition was raised to either the Roberts or Alito nominations to the Supreme Court (to say nothing of the nomination of Al "Torture" Gonzales to be Attorney General). The Supreme Court has been altered for the next several decades, in favor of untrammeled executive power and against individual rights -- but hey, that's not anything worth putting up a fight about.

Then we had the Real ID Act, voted for by every single Senator. It was buried in the bowels of an Iraq Supplemental Spending Bill. If you voted against it, you hated the troops! Can't have that. So within the next few years, all of us will hear the demand to "show your papers" whenever the powers-that-be want to make sure we remember that we live by their permission alone. If and when there is another major terrorist attack here in the U.S., look for a domestic visa program (among other things): you'll need permission to travel outside your own state. Congress will undoubtedly go along with that one, too. Have to be patriotic! Have to be sure we're safe!

Of course, Congress has long since ceded the power to make war to the executive branch -- despite what the Constitution says. Note this, please (and read the whole article by Jacob Hornberger, from August 2003):
Why has Congress been relatively quiet on the executive branch’s deception about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction? The answer is easy: By abrogating its constitutional responsibility regarding its constitutional power to declare war, Congress made itself a silent partner in the president’s wrongdoing.


[U]nder our system of government, one branch of government is precluded from delegating its powers to another branch. Thus, Congress cannot delegate its power to declare war to the president.

Yet that’s exactly what the Congress did last fall when it voted to give the president power to decide whether to go to war against Iraq. By authorizing the president to make that determination, the members of Congress abrogated their constitutional duty to make it. In so doing, they ensured that there would be no independent screening process by which the president’s justifications for war could be tested.


It’s true that prior to the war, President Bush made it clear that he didn’t care whether he had a declaration of war from Congress or not, citing the numerous wars that had been waged since World War II without a congressional declaration of war.

But the fact that previous presidents have waged wars in violation of the supreme law of the land does not operate as a grant of power to future presidents to do the same. If an act is illegal when committed by one president, it continues to be illegal when committed by subsequent presidents.

Given that the U.S. Supreme Court has long refused to involve itself in the enforcement of this particular section of the Constitution, there remains only one method by which the people can enforce it. That method lies with a clear pronouncement by Congress that if the president goes to war without the constitutionally required congressional declaration of war, he will be impeached.

By failing to do that during the run-up to President Bush’s Iraq war and by unconstitutionally delegating their power to declare war to the president, the members of Congress not only betrayed the oath they took to defend the Constitution, they also betrayed the American people.

That’s why they’re as culpable as the president with respect to the deception that was used to justify the war.
Now the Bush administration thinks it has the power to wage war anywhere and everywhere, and by any means it deems "necessary," as long as the "War on Terror" goes on -- which means for the rest of our lifetimes. And no one seems prepared to tell them otherwise. This is why -- if and when the war with Iran begins -- Congress will again be as guilty as Bush.

I have a couple of related questions. Has even one major Democrat spoken out against the monstrousness of an aggressive, non-defensive, unprovoked attack on Iran? Has even one national Democrat denounced the possible use of nuclear weapons, "tactical" or otherwise?

What in hell are they waiting for? The day after Armageddon?

Stupid, goddamned, miserable cowards. Guess what, brave Dems? NO ONE WILL BE LISTENING THEN. And even if a few people are, it won't make a damned bit of difference. You'll be far, far too late.

Christ Almighty. If there are any historians fifty or a hundred years from now, whatever judgment they make about our nation at this moment in time could not possibly be sufficiently damning. In one sense, I consider the guilt of the Democrats to be even worse than that of Bush and the Republicans: they supposedly represent the "opposition." That has to be the worst joke of my lifetime.

We are largely a nation of sniveling cowards, mindlessly lashing out at the world and at all our enemies, real or imagined. And we are led by a pack of cowardly, spineless politicians, with only a handful of exceptions.

If there is a God, may He have mercy on our souls. Frankly, I suspect He gave up on us long ago.

I wrote the following in my post about why Alito had to be filibustered:
I am not naive or unrealistic: the Democrats may well lose in the end. But when the stakes are this high -- and here, the stakes encompass everything that matters with regard to the future of our country -- you must fight, even if you lose. If the battle is waged with an understanding of the profound importance of the issues involved, at the very least the public will be more aware of the nature of the struggle by the time it is over. As a result, more people will be prepared to fight the next battle more effectively. Up until now, the Democrats have employed the opposite strategy: each surrender makes them progressively weaker, thus rendering them more incapable of fighting when the next crisis arises.


When you are asked to accede to that which you know to be deeply immoral and wrong, and to be ultimately destructive of what once made the United States the great nation it was -- and if you care about honor, decency, your own life and the lives of your fellow Americans -- then you must say no, even if you are almost certain that you will lose.

A very powerful "No" could provide us with more time, time that is desperately needed to right our nation's course. It might save us -- and at the very least, those who say "No" will save their own souls and consciences. If the Democrats in Washington are unwilling or unable to act in this manner, they will have damned themselves. They will no longer be any concern of mine -- nor, I would submit, should they be a concern for anyone who understands the nature of this battle and who gives a damn.
Some months later, and with regard to the increasingly likely attack on Iran, I can only multiply these judgments by a factor of at least one hundred.

Next to no one in Washington is offering anything even close to serious, sustained, principled opposition to this damnable administration. There is no forgiveness for any of those who now remain silent. None.