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Tilting at Windmills

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March 15, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

FEINGOLD'S CENSURE MOTION....Everyone wants to know how I feel about Russ Feingold's motion to censure President Bush over the NSA's domestic spying program. I'll give you two and a half answers:

First, substantively: Sure, censure away. God knows Bush deserves it.

Second, politically: I'm not so sure on this score. Anytime a congressman introduces a measure that's certain to fail, it's done for reasons of political theater: to make a point, to get some attention for an issue that's being ignored, or to reach out to some constituency or other. So the relevant question is: is this good political theater?

For example, when Harry Reid shut down the Senate last year to protest the slow progress of the investigation into prewar intelligence, that was good theater. He highlighted something that the press had been ignoring, he worked Bill Frist into a practically incoherent rage, and he embarrassed Pat Roberts into (sort of) promising to speed things up. All in all, a good day's work for the minority party.

Conversely, it's not clear what Feingold hopes to accomplish with his censure motion. Bush's shortcomings are already getting plenty of attention, so he's not galvanizing any new media attention. He obviously didn't bother telling his fellow Democrats about his plan, which has had the result of making the party look muddled and stupid. And Republicans, far from being nonplussed by his censure motion, are having a field day with it.

Political theater has its own rules, and fair or not, the only measure of success is success. So while I'd vote for Feingold's motion, I don't think I'd hire him as a political theater consultant.

POSTSCRIPT: And what about my half answer? It's this: all the people complaining about Democratic senators who are waffling on Feingold's motion even though they voted to censure Bill Clinton need to lighten up. As I hope everyone knows, the censure motion against Clinton was an attempt to derail the impeachment proceedings, not a genuine expression of censure. And Feingold, as I hope we also remember, was the only Democratic senator to side with Republicans and refuse to vote for dismissal of the impeachment charges. So let's keep the holier-than-thou stuff down to a dull rumble, shall we?

UPDATE: The Clinton censure stuff is complicated for a number of reasons, but Elton Beard points out that although the House censure motion was indeed intended as a way of derailing impeachment, the Senate censure motion was introduced after the impeachment proceedings were over. I still think it's important to keep the political background in mind here, but I was wrong to suggest that senators who sponsored the Clinton censure motion were trying to do Clinton a favor. Sorry about that.

Kevin Drum 12:37 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (222)

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All true, but it also keeps the NSA scandal in the news, where it belongs.

More to the point - if Dems can't agree to criticize a president who is at 34%, then what purpose do they serve?

This is a backbone stiffener, not just theater. It matters.

Posted by: craigie on March 15, 2006 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

Political theater has its place, but every once in a while Democrats should do the right thing because, well, it is the right thing.

Holding the President accountable for blatantly and repeatedly breaking the law would seem to be a time to do the right thing.

And the reason that the Democratic response is "muddled" is because too many Democrats are still afraid of being seen as "siding with the terrorists." It has nothing to do with Feingold.

If Democrats wait until they are sure of succeeding, they will be in the minority until the last vestiges of democracy are swept away.

Posted by: Doctor Gonzo on March 15, 2006 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

It would be one thing if the party had a clear message that it was trying to get across and Feingold was muddling it. Absent that, Feingold's action is better than no action. Republicans are having a field day with it only because the Democrats are running away with it.

For pity's sake, is there any reason that any Democratic Senator can't say that the censure resolution deserves a full investigation and hearing as to the underlying charges? Any reason at all?

Posted by: alkali on March 15, 2006 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

Bring it to a vote. ASAP.

Haven't seen the Democrats head for the tall grass this fast since the "immediate withdrawal" vote.

Posted by: tbrosz on March 15, 2006 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

Once again, vast majority of senatorial dems, lead and we will follow...

BUT FOR GOD'S SAKE YOU HAVE TO LEAD!!!!!111!!one!

This is what Feingold is doing, though he should have just told them before "Look, I'm going to introduce a censure motion this afternoon, take it or leave it." It's a great political move for Feingold and if the other dems were not fucking idiots it would be a good political move for them too. Instead they shot their own selves in the god damn foot.

HOW THE FUCK DID WE GET STUCK WITH THESE MORONS?!

Posted by: MNPundit on March 15, 2006 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

It's already been labeled "Feingold's Folly."

Heh!

Posted by: Paddy Whack on March 15, 2006 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum: Wonker of the Day

Posted by: lettuce on March 15, 2006 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

Democrats are sprinting away from Feingold's resolution as fast as their legs will carry them. Charles Schumer, who normally can talk for hours and hours if a camera is pointed at him, was uncharacteristically mum. "I have no comment."

Posted by: BigRiver on March 15, 2006 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

So now a vote for censure is not really a "genuine expression of censure?" That makes sense. Oh, wait, no it doesn't.

Posted by: Wishbone on March 15, 2006 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

craigie:

keeping the NSA thing in the news is a surefire way to help the Republicans in the midterms. I like Feingold in a lot of ways...but as a politican...he's a moron. When will people figure out that the NSA thing helps Bush?

I actually would prefer to see the Republicans bloodied in the midterms. They've certainly become complacent and corrupt enough. However, the sheer incompetence that Democrats have shown in the last couple elections makes me wonder whether they wouldn't be even more inept than the current government if they were in power.

Abramoff, Abramoff, Abramoff, Abramoff....if I was running the party ... Congress/lobbyist corruption would be the centerpiece of my campaign....

Posted by: Nathan on March 15, 2006 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

"If Democrats wait until they are sure of succeeding, they will be in the minority until the last vestiges of democracy are swept away."

I thought we have been living under a fascist police state since 2001??

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on March 15, 2006 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

Feingold just set off a stink bomb within his own party.

Makes me wonder if somehow Karl Rove was somehow orchestrating this.

Posted by: BigRiver on March 15, 2006 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

I have a dream.

The dream is that this kind of thing causes Democrats to say "what the fucking fuck is being done in my name?" and run for office. And so, we may just get a new political generation of Dems who aren't just willing to be GOP-Lite, but who actually are willing to say something.

Maybe.

If not, there's always New Zealand. We've got our passports ready...

Posted by: craigie on March 15, 2006 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

Dear Kevin: Feingold's motion has solidified his standing as the one congressional Democrat with the guts to fight a criminal administration on the most significant grounds of all-unconsitutional behavior. This makes him very, very popular with many Democrats, including myself, all of whom will be voting in primaries and giving money come '08.
That strikes me as quite an effective bit of theater for a man thinking of running for president. It will be even more popular when the Beltway cowards squander their big lead and lose seats this November.

Posted by: JMG on March 15, 2006 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

Couldn't agree more with MN. For once drop the political correctness and get busy with bashing this administration. It shows backbone. As far as the vote goes, I have no doubt that if all the Democrats rallied and supported this measure that it would send the first strong message for the Midterm. I would love to see a party line vote on this thing. What would that say? Something I believe the republicans wouldn't count on.

Posted by: DA on March 15, 2006 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

According to Busy Busy Busy:
-----
Update: A Timing Note. Commenter markbernstein suggests that Sen. Feinstein's proposed censure resolution against President Clinton should not be held against her because it was offered as an alternative to impeachment. Alas, this was not the case. A completely different censure resolution proposed by House Judiciary Committee Democrats in early December 1998 was, in fact, intended to substitute for impeachment (it was voted down in committee). But the quotes above are from a resolution of impeachment censure Sen. Feinstein attempted to introduce on January February 12, 1999, after President Clinton's impeachment had already ended in acquittal. -----

So Kevin, I think your postscript is not correct, at least so far as Feinstein is concerned.

Posted by: EmmaAnne on March 15, 2006 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

Everyone wants to know how I feel about Russ Feingold's motion to censure President Bush over the NSA's domestic spying program.

Really? Everyone? Someone's a little full of himself.

And why not vote for it? Bush proudly violated the Constitution, and the most he might gain from this is to possibly crawl back up to a 38% approval rating before dropping even further again after that.

Posted by: Ringo on March 15, 2006 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,
Feinstein's censure resolution, with numerous cosponsors, was introduced after Clinton had been acquitted in the senate.

Posted by: Atrios on March 15, 2006 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

The Post article you refer to where you say Feingold supposedly didnt bother to tell any of his fellow Democrats doesnt even say that - where exactly did you come up with that? It says none except Harkin are willing to take a stand or comment on it but it doesn't say anywhere in the article Feingold didn't tell anyone about it. In fact, it says:

"Most of us feel at best it's premature," announced Sen. Christopher Dodd (Conn.).

"Most of us feel..." sure sounds like a consensus as a result of some kind of previous discussion.

The fact that the majority are unwilling to commit to censuring Bush or even make a comment (how utterly spineless) because Dems might lose seats in GOP states and that the GOP is making hay with it in the press...sorry but, *eyeroll.* What a lame ass piss poor excuse. The GOP make hay in the press with *everything* the Dems do. Everything.

The rollover and play dead trick is really old - these dogs need some new tricks.

Posted by: lellis on March 15, 2006 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, Kevin, I think you're letting the pro-censure Dems off way too easy.

After all, this is a party whose leadership felt the best way for Al Gore to win the election was to take on Joe Lieberman for the sole reason that he'd been Clinton's harshest Democratic critic.

This is, in fact, what separates Democrats from Republicans. We follow beltway wisdom when it comes to playing the politics. But Beltway wisdom is "Democrats are losers," so we always end up losers. Republicans believe they have the power to shape beltway wisdom, so they do insane things like impeaching a popular president in a time of peace and prosperity. And it ends up costing us, and not them, the next Presidential election.

It's time for the Democrats to take a lesson from the Republicans. Start shaping the conventional wisdom instead of following it.

Posted by: theorajones on March 15, 2006 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

Drum: Just another milquqetoast, tone deaf, sackless coward, of a kind with the entire DLC.

Grow some balls you fuckin' coward.

Posted by: Alaskan_Pete on March 15, 2006 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

Why don't people trust Democrats? Because Democrats have -- by following Clinton's playbook without Clinton's personal political charisma, managed to convince the electorate they will say or do ANYTHING to be popular.

When was the last time the Democrats -- or even a substantal minority of them -- voted based on their conscience rather than political calculation?

Wonks like Kevin just enhance that trend.

Posted by: Morat on March 15, 2006 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

I disliked Clitnon - I hate the bushbots.

Bush makes Clinton look like more than the sleazy southern hack that he is and was -- I won't forgive him for that.

This administration should be impeached! If Clinton endured impeachment for Monica - this bastard should be tried and hung for crimes against the constitution and the republic.

I am looking for new leadership from the dems - so far I see nothing tempting - George Clooney maybe.

I want LEADERSHIP - Feingold at least had the balls to do SOMETHING!

Posted by: gail on March 15, 2006 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

The opposition must seize every opportunity to publicly denounce the Bush Regime. Opposition Democratic politicians included. If the president broke the law, then he should be prosecuted and punished, just like he would presecute and punish a fourteen year old crack dealer.

Posted by: Hostile on March 15, 2006 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

keeping the NSA thing in the news is a surefire way to help the Republicans in the midterms.

Absolutekly, Nathan.

Because, where I'm from, despite electing Russ Feingold to the Senate, we're all for having our phones tapped without a court order; even after the fact.

And the fact that the President lies to us about it, and tells us these things require a court order? Up here in the upper midwest, we're all with Sully on that Sometimes they have to lie to us or they couldn't get us to go along with what they want.

Go flog your papers.

NSA ain't helping Bush, not on this planet.

Posted by: lettuce on March 15, 2006 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

Paddy Whack: It's already been labeled "Feingold's Folly."

Similiarly, Alaska was labelled "Seward's Folly".

Posted by: alex on March 15, 2006 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

Wrong on the poitical theater I think.

First, making the GOP Congress rush to embrace 34% Bush is always good for Dems.

Second, debating Bush's lawbreaking is ALWAYS good for Dems.

Third, The uncertain Dems can take a storng position without endorsing censure.

Here's a funny example - Leahy's sppech endorsing Roberts where he gives every reason in the book why should have opposed Roberts.

Posted by: Armando on March 15, 2006 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

Second, politically: I'm not so sure on this score. Anytime a congressman introduces a measure that's certain to fail, it's done for reasons of political theater: to make a point, to get some attention for an issue that's being ignored, or to reach out to some constituency or other. So the relevant question is: is this good political theater?

Like we couldn't tell what you were gonna say the instant our eyeballs saw, "Second..."

All the "political calculation" from guys like you has got us precisely nothing. No, that's wrong -- it got us an Iraq war, a financial industry gift called "bankruptcy reform", a fiasco called "No Child Left Behind", a half-trillion dollar clusterfuck called "Medicare Part D", and most recently, a "Patriot Act" that's here to stay (and about which you and other prominent "liberal" bloggers remain silent).

Quite a record. I can't wait for the "political calculation" that says, gosh, yeah, we have to say yes to bombing Tehran, or we might look like pussies. As if the Dems don't already -- in spades.

Nader was a nutcase megalomaniac, but goddam if he isn't look positively clairvoyant nowadays.

Posted by: sglover on March 15, 2006 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

Nathan:

You should read this.

Key paragraph:
"Yesterday--while all this was going on--Gallup reported that the President's approval rating hit 36%, an all time low. Those are close to Nixon levels. And a recent Zogby poll found that 52% of Americans support impeachment if the President is found to have wiretapped American citizens without court approval (which, by the way, he has admitted to doing). If that many Americans are willing to support impeachment, doesn't it stand to reason that even more would be willing to support the far less drastic step of merely declaring, for the record, that it's not okay for the President of the United States to openly defy a criminal statute?"

Posted by: craigie on March 15, 2006 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

Anything that even remotely might bring a poor light to King George, Vanquisher of Peace and Prosperity, Hater of Gays, and Lover of Blastocyst-Americans, is Pure Evil.

Posted by: Freedom Phukher on March 15, 2006 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

Nader said we'd be no better with Gore. Um, OK. Dean's firebreathing couldn't even win him the Democratic primary. He had way more money and had been campaigning longer than anyone but did poorly. Ciro Rodriguez was endorsed by the lefty blogosphere and got pummeled. I don't think I'd trust the left bloggers to be my political consultants. But that's me.

Posted by: gq on March 15, 2006 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK


KEVIN DRUM: I'll give you two and a half answers: First, substantively: Sure, censure away. God knows Bush deserves it.

This is the only answer that matters. Your other 1 1/2 answers are based on bullshit. Politics is why we're in the mess we're in, if by politics you mean politicians making deals with each other to benefit themselves rather than the people.

You want to dismiss substance in favor of your other 1 1/2-assed answers? That's what neocons and cons of all types do. Please get real.


Posted by: jayarbee on March 15, 2006 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

The Democrats can't do much to oppose Bush. What they can do is state their views. Voting to censure Bush is a strong statement, regardless of whether the resolution is adopted. Democrats should do what they can do, and that is to vote for censure. It's the right thing to do.

On the question of tactics, my sense is that it would be a winner. It underscores (a) this shit is serious and (b) the Republican party will not hold this guy accountable.

I see nothing to lose by pushing censure as hard as possible. By hanging back and nervously twitching their noses, though, the Democrats reinforce the generally held view that they are spineless, weak-kneed sissies who either don't know what they believe or are afraid to stand up and speak out.

This is bad political theater all right -- but only because the DC Dems are cowering in the wings. I'd have trouble naming five Democrats in congress who I could whole-heartedly support just on grounds of character and personal strength, setting policy differences aside. The Republicans are equally as spineless and sycophantic, if not more so, but I don't vote in their primaries.

Posted by: tom on March 15, 2006 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

you said.... people don't trust democrats - because Democrats have -- by following Clinton's playbook without Clinton's personal political charisma, managed to convince the electorate they will say or do ANYTHING to be popular.

BINGO!

I don't automatically love Clinton because I hated Bush... this isn't party politics. Our fucking country is being run by tweedles dum and dee -- parties don't matter. So I have ZERO party loyalty.

Until and unless BOTH parties understand that some of us out here don't forgive sleaze from the right or the left.

The Ports deal is a case in point. What a STUPID move by Dems and Republicans... against DUBAI!?!!?

Now that both parties have conditioned the American Public that Arabs are evil [courtesy of the ruling Jews in media and government]

our representatives on both sides were obligated to demonize one of our more important allies in the Middle East.... Does anybody REALLY think alienated DUBAI was a smart move?

I think it was more an unintended consequence of Jews controling information on the Middle East... even Jews must know this is BAD BAD politics.

When the dollar collapses and oil is traded in Euros instead of Dollars - remember all those Hollywood movies conditioning the grass eaters to hate Muslims - all Muslims.

Even New York reps expected to be shot down in their phoney protestations... but they WEREN'T!

dumb fucks.... all of em... us too...

Israeli first neocons and complicit secular leftist jews have inflicted a FATAL blow on our diplomatic options with this little bit of brainwashing....

All of the above will suffer a backlash when the hand wringing begins.

Posted by: TJ on March 15, 2006 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

If Clinton endured impeachment for Monica - this bastard should be tried and hung for crimes against the constitution and the republic.

You must support the death penalty. I know I don't. And I thought I was the GOP-lite person in the comments section...

Posted by: gq on March 15, 2006 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

Feingold's pushing this to warm up to the democratic primaries. I'm liking him less and less.

Posted by: tomeck on March 15, 2006 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

Nader said we'd be no better with Gore. Um, OK. Dean's firebreathing couldn't even win him the Democratic primary. He had way more money and had been campaigning longer than anyone but did poorly. Ciro Rodriguez was endorsed by the lefty blogosphere and got pummeled. I don't think I'd trust the left bloggers to be my political consultants. But that's me.

Hey, I voted for Gore, and I knew then as I know now that he was clearly the better choice. But I do not believe that the Dems are gonna do as well these next few elections as you seem to think. The national Democrats are hammering the morale of their own core supporters -- and who do you think wins off-year elections?

Posted by: sglover on March 15, 2006 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

You must support the death penalty
I suspect the death penalty is only supported for Republicans. After all, they're a bigger threat than the terrorists.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on March 15, 2006 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

The reason why the Republicans are "having a field day" with Feingold's censure is because this particular scene makes Democrats look more willing to attack the president than willing to attack the Terrorists. Everyone knows that the Bush administration is in a hole, so attacking him makes Democrats look opportunist.

A much more effective strategy would be to make a fuss over the "emergency" behind another 90-billion "emergency" military spending bill. Put Republicans on the defensive and make them embarrass themselves by justifying continued blood and treasure to their constituents. It makes Republicans sound like all they care about is saving the legacy of an feckless President.

Posted by: Jon Karak on March 15, 2006 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

I used to give the Dems the benefit of the doubt on things like this -- e.g. perhaps it is for the best to let what might be a single senator's grandstanding pass without comment or without committing political capital -- but increasingly I believe (along with most of those commenting) that the unwillingness to "count coup" on the Reps on the censure issue shows a shocking lack of cojones. I have never called D.C. before, but yesterday I called my 2 Illinois senators' offices yesterdays to urge them to get behind this censure motion! Every additional minute of inaction and waffling only increases the net cynicism in the country, esp. about the Dems. When oh when will we finally have a viable 3rd party ....??

Posted by: ptb on March 15, 2006 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

Nathan: I like Feingold in a lot of ways...but as a politican...he's a moron.

Other advice for Dems: roll over and play dead. Keep you lips glued to Bush's butt. Be so cautious that you're afraid to get out of bed in the morning.

In other words, more of the same. Been working well, hasn't it?

Abramoff, Abramoff, Abramoff, Abramoff...

Why pick and choose - do both.

ATTACK!

I'm starting to like Feingold '08 even more. I questioned his chances of success because he's a Senator, Jewish and twice divorced. But what the heck. Throw the dice.

Meanwhile between the Ohio fiasco and this, I'm starting to like my own state's Sen. Schumer less and less. Chuck, grow a pair.

Posted by: alex on March 15, 2006 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

As long as you and your ilk dither from the wings about the lighting, makeup, and props, the spotlight will continue to be dominated by the most abominable political actor ever to tread the boards. Whether from stage left or stage right, someone must finally take the initiative, get out the hook, and drag this cut-rate thespian off the stage.

Posted by: athos on March 15, 2006 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

sg,

I'm not saying that the Dems are going to be winning the next few elections. All I'm saying is that the left or "liberal" bloggers have an extremely poor record. Could be because they are young, but I wouldn't want them running or vocally endorsing a campaign of mine (if I had intentions of running or was a campaign manager).

I've spoken personally to thousands of voters while canvassing--in blue, purple and red states over the last couple years. In no way would I say that this country is as gung-ho liberal as people who post to blogs seem to think. Center-left? Definitely. But not liberal-blog liberal.

I'm of the opinion that the only real "core supporters" of the Democratic Party are African-Americans. Whites have not voted a Dem for president in many, many years. A-A's consistently vote 85-90% Dem. Now that's a core constituency. And there is a reason that they love Clinton (Hispanics, too--they trust Bill Clinton more than the Pope). But that's another story.

Posted by: gq on March 15, 2006 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

gq said "You must support the death penalty. I know I don't. And I thought I was the GOP-lite person in the comments section..."

Clearly a case of two people in agreement talking past each other. You see, gail's word choice was 'hung', implying one of many things: 1) hung out to dry (figurative), 2) hung from someplace (literal but not necessarily fatal), or 3) a well-endowed president (no comment).

Now if gail had said 'hanged' then there might be genuine disagreement as to the severity of punishment due for presidential crimes committed.

:)

Posted by: Matt on March 15, 2006 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know how I feel about the Feingold censure. On the one hand, it's great to see anyone censure Bush. He more than deserves it, and we can chunner away to our hearts' content about Feingold's balls and the empty underwear of all the other Dems. On the other hand, as I watched Cheney smirking and shrugging his lethal way through his "have you no shame" response to the censure, I wished Feingold hadn't handed this gun to the Republicans.

Posted by: ExBrit on March 15, 2006 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK


KEVIN DRUM: As I hope everyone knows, the censure motion against Clinton was an attempt to derail the impeachment proceedings, not a genuine expression of censure.

In other words, it was the political theater you're so fond of, not a "genuine expression" of anything. And to what substantive effect? Zilch.


Posted by: jayarbee on March 15, 2006 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

This 'opposition' party will guarentee Republican majorities for decades to come. Maybe they want it that way. I say vote these current batch of Dems out on thier asses, except Fiengold who was the only Dem to vote against the war and against the PATRIOT Act, and get some Independents in there. Anyone would have more guts than these losers.

Posted by: Michael Buchanan on March 15, 2006 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

Boy, Frist wanted to put this up for vote, and the Democrats ran. What's wrong with you Democrats, don't you believe in democracy any more?

Let's get that vote, the people want to know!

Posted by: conspiracy nut on March 15, 2006 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

ExBrit: I watched Cheney smirking and shrugging his lethal way through his "have you no shame" response to the censure

Dickless has a lower approval rating than the devil himself. He makes Nixon and Kerry look positively charismatic.

Posted by: alex on March 15, 2006 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

I feel the need to remind some people here that MoveOn.org took its name from its original statement of purpose, which was to lobby Congress to "censure the president and move on." Republican shills that they are.

Posted by: Viserys on March 15, 2006 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

Feingold's censure proposal is entirely consistent with every other principled move the man has made. For goodness sake, he doesn't do this for political reasons, he does this because it is the right thing to do. When we start getting more democrats to do the right thing, we'll start winning.

I doubt Feingold will run for president but I think he will make a stellar attorney general.

Posted by: karin on March 15, 2006 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, with all due respect, I can't help but feeling you're missing the point.

When Democrats are "muddled" and in "disarray," the answer is a principled stand that is at once substantive, clearly understandable, and demands redress of grievances.

Theater? The substantive, principled insistence that Bush be accountable before the law IS ONE AND THE SAME with political theater. If you didn't catch how clumsily and ineptly Frist and Reid jumped in and got in the way of Russ to limit his impact, get underfoot, and delay the moment, you weren't paying attention.

ALSO, reconsider your rather off-base (erroneous) comment that
Feingold, as I hope we also remember, was the only Democratic senator to side with Republicans and refuse to vote for dismissal of the impeachment charges. So let's keep the holier-than-thou stuff down to a dull rumble, shall we?

Feingold stood for the due process, Constitutional process, balance of powers, Congressional oversight -- in both cases.

By what possible measure is he hypocritical or "holier-than-thou"?

All he did was rightly hear the evidence and vote down a transparently insufficient case against Clinton.

Further, if Clinton deserved censure, then so be it. There's no 'holier-than-thou' contradiction here. Feingold's political theater is substantive, and will shame his colleagues even if nothing is done. It may well ignite a debate or push events towards critical mass -- and lead to impeachment.

Posted by: SombreroFallout on March 15, 2006 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with the commenter above, who pointed out the Dems act like they are more ready to attack President Bush than attack terrorists.

Posted by: BigRiver on March 15, 2006 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

What good would impeachment do other than distract everyone from the work that needs doing? If the Dems take back the house and the senate I hope to God they don't engage in this nonsense. It was dumb when the Republicans impeached Clinton. It drove Clinton's numbers into the stratosphere. It was a waste of time and the whole country knew it. I hope the Dems don't fall into the same trap.

Posted by: ExBrit on March 15, 2006 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

The inability of democrats to discern the difference between domestic and foreign is understandable. Their insistence that government must blind itself to the obvious they way they did before 9/11 is a real good reason never again to let democrats drive.

Posted by: Walter E. Wallis on March 15, 2006 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

In twenty or thirty years environmental change is going to radicalize many college students. Your granddaughter is going to disappear. You will think it is because she is a member of Greenpeace (declared a terrorist organization in 2020). As you sit in the lobby of the local federal building, taking your turn, day after day with your son and daughter-in-law, the months passing, trying to wrestle some word about her whereabouts (Guantanimo?), you will think about our Senators today and the responsibility they held to their office.

Posted by: wetzel on March 15, 2006 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

Your granddaughter is going to disappear.
Ohhh, scare tactics. I like those, please go on.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on March 15, 2006 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

Wrong about the "derail" thing, Kevin. Check out busybusybusy.com for the real facts. DiFi introduced a censure resolution AFTER impeachment had been defeated.

Posted by: JoshA on March 15, 2006 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

Ohhh, scare tactics. I like those, please go on.

Here's one of my all time favorites: "We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."

Posted by: Killjoy on March 15, 2006 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, is it too late to get a censure proposition on the California ballot? That's the one and only proposition I would vote for.

Posted by: craigie on March 15, 2006 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

The Dubai port deal provided an opportunity for Republicans to "distance" themselves from the President.

Feingold's censure resolution has forced those same Republicans to climb back in bed with the 34% approval commander-in-chief.

The idea that the Republicans are enjoying all this discussion about the NSA wiretapping reminds me of those silly news articles about how bombing the Taliban while they were holed up at Tora Bora was actually hardening their resolve.

Posted by: David on March 15, 2006 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

Feingold's censure motion is to NSAgate what the
Rather memo was to AWOLgate.

Posted by: ogmb on March 15, 2006 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

Challenge of the Day-
To those who disagree with Senator Feingold's censure motion - Defend Bush's warrantless wiretap program without mentioning the words "al qaida" or "terrorists". Since the constitution and FISA do not make exceptions for these groups, they should not be allowed to be part of the argument.

Posted by: lk on March 15, 2006 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

gq -- Thanks for the lengthy reply!

I'm not saying that the Dems are going to be winning the next few elections. All I'm saying is that the left or "liberal" bloggers have an extremely poor record. Could be because they are young, but I wouldn't want them running or vocally endorsing a campaign of mine (if I had intentions of running or was a campaign manager).

Very good points, and impossible to disagree with. Political tactics aside, I note that many of them were pretty gung-ho about charging into Iraq -- though your set of "liberal bloggers" may not be identical to mine.

I think the observation about blogger age is spot-on. In particular, most or all of them seem to have zero life experience beyond a carefully arranged college prep-->college-->internship vector. True, Kos (whose blog I can't stand) did a stint in the army. But "cloistered" doesn't begin to describe many others...

I've spoken personally to thousands of voters while canvassing--in blue, purple and red states over the last couple years. In no way would I say that this country is as gung-ho liberal as people who post to blogs seem to think. Center-left? Definitely. But not liberal-blog liberal.

I'll go along with that. But I don't think ideology is nearly as important as perceived character, and in that arena, most Americans gravitate toward a guy who knows what he believes in and isn't afraid to talk about it.

In this case, what would real, tangible effects would censure have? None, that I can think of. Hell, it wouldn't even pass. But I don't think the real dangers that this administration is bringing can be denied, and if the Dems can't even try to state their dismay, if they gotta run to their focus groups to see how it plays -- why the hell should anyone trust them to actually govern?!?!

I'm of the opinion that the only real "core supporters" of the Democratic Party are African-Americans. Whites have not voted a Dem for president in many, many years. A-A's consistently vote 85-90% Dem. Now that's a core constituency. And there is a reason that they love Clinton (Hispanics, too--they trust Bill Clinton more than the Pope). But that's another story.

Well, I dunno. Fortuitously, E.J. Dionne has another breakdown of voting habits today. His take jibes with mine, that the parties are more regional entities than anything else.

Thanks again for the reply!

Posted by: sglover on March 15, 2006 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

"I agree with the commenter above, who pointed out the Dems act like they are more ready to attack President Bush than attack terrorists."

That's just utter bullshit. I don't see the problem with wanting us to fight terrorism with every legal method at our disposal and objecting/attacking those who want to spy on us by illegal means. We still want to fight terrorism but we also want to protect those civil liberties & the rights to privacy that makes being an American mean something. Freedoms taken away by terror or freedoms taken away by our government to protect us from terror are still freedoms taken away. Democrats & Republicans should all be more vocal in calling this administration out on the carpet. It should not be a partisan issue, it should be an issue of patriotism and preserving what it means to be an American.
And for anyone who cares, Tom Harkin came forward to co-sponser the censure motion.

Posted by: Nathan on March 15, 2006 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

This clip from The Daily Show pretty much sums up the "strategery" of Beltway Insiders and wannabe's like Kevin:

http://movies.crooksandliars.com/TDS-Hackett-3-14-06.wmv

Plus, its damn funny.

Posted by: athos on March 15, 2006 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

BigRiver, Bush and his administration are part of the terrorists!

Two thousand American service personnel died who didn't have to die because they started a war they didn't have to.

They've repeatedly tried to keep the American populace in a state of terror to achieve their political goals. The color alerts always came before elections, remember?

If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it's a duck.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on March 15, 2006 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

I've cited the line from A Man for All Seasons every year since 9/11. When we abandon our laws to get the enemy, we in effect become what we are pursuing.

The censure motion is on target to bring into public debate for the first time, Bush's violations of the law. It should be supported by by all Democrats and responsible Republicans.

Posted by: moe99 on March 15, 2006 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

Alex:Meanwhile between the Ohio fiasco and this, I'm starting to like my own state's Sen. Schumer less and less. Chuck, grow a pair.

i agree, last night i saw Hackett on The Daily Show and thought to myself, "they refused to fund this guy!?" i'm writing Chuckie a letter today.

Posted by: e1 on March 15, 2006 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

Nathan - sorry, but believing something is true does not make it true.


You disagree that the Dems appear weak on terror. And you probably think that is unfair. But that doesn'[t change the reality of how the Dems are perceived.

Posted by: BigRiver on March 15, 2006 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin's reaction demonstrates why moderates have no place in the leadership of political affairs or movements. The only real political function a moderate has is to tip the balance one way or the other once the heavy lifting and risk taking has been done by others. Because they feel strongly about very little, moderates tend to be pragmatic and political about matters of priciple. Once it became dominated by moderates, the Democratic party lost direction and ceased to have value to the country. Still under the influence of moderates, the party has not rediscovered its way. But Kevin and other moderates will one day have a useful purpose. Once the way is found they can help the movement be cautious and avoid the errors of exhuberance. Until that time they should be tolerated, not heard.

Posted by: chad on March 15, 2006 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

Jayarbee nails it again.

"KEVIN DRUM: I'll give you two and a half answers: First, substantively: Sure, censure away. God knows Bush deserves it.


This is the only answer that matters. Your other 1 1/2 answers are based on bullshit."

For heaven's sake, political theater or not, Feingold is finally doing the right thing, just as Jack Murtha finally did the right thing and Democrats had to backtrack and support him after initially turning up their noses at what he had to say.

Democrats should get behind Feingold on this one, and if it's even remotely possible to run him for President, should do so forthwith.

Posted by: erica on March 15, 2006 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

Kevins gets a major smackdown from Glenn Greenwald Ouch! Kevin, are you going to respond?

Posted by: Doofus on March 15, 2006 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

There's a term in hockey for players who take cheap shots rather than lead by example of playing hard: gutless pukes. I rarely use that kind of language, but this craven, dishonest display has pushed me over the edge.

Kevin, you and every one of the spineless Dems who'd rather avoid the tiniest speck of "political damage" (i.e., criticism from rightist enablers of our new system of elected monarchy) than stand up and fight for the Constitution: you are gutless pukes.

Posted by: Nell on March 15, 2006 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

I'd like to add to what Glenn Greenwald says in the post linked above.

Suppose the Democrats do lose. Suppose they lose on a party-line vote, 55-45. That will have been an important, even crucial, reaffirmation of the Party's belief in the rule of law. In proceeding to that vote, it will spark important debate in the country about whether the President may violate the laws.

But, of course, this requires that Democrats actually take a stand. The will gain immeasurably. If they do not, their loss will also be immeasurable.

Posted by: DAvid in NY on March 15, 2006 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

Nell... Those are some tough words!
Spot on. Thank you.

Kevin is nothing if not consistant.
I'd sure hate for him to have my back in a fight.

Posted by: Guy on March 15, 2006 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

...

Way to go HARKIN!!

....

Posted by: wellstoner on March 15, 2006 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

Greenwald bitchslaps the King of the Moderate Handwringing Capitulators but good.

And it couldn't happen to a more deserving motherfucking asshole.

Posted by: dave on March 15, 2006 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

Note to all Vichy Dems:

Stop thinking like politicians for once and start thinking like AMERICANS!

Posted by: Guy on March 15, 2006 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

Tom Harkin has signed on to Feingold's resolution as a co-sponsor, bringing the total number of co-sponsors to..... uh...... well.... ummmm...... uh.... ONE!

One, folks! Just one!

Can you feel the groundswell, Dems?

Posted by: Paddy Whack on March 15, 2006 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

Drum gets brutally pwned by Glenn Greenwald.

Hey, why is it again that Washington Monthly, a self-identified progressive magazine, has a non-progressive moderate as their frontispiece blogger?

Fire Drum, hire Greenwald. Do it for Jeebus.

PWNED

Posted by: ehtan on March 15, 2006 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

Question for Kevin, Vichy democrats, etc, on this issue -

Why does it simply not matter that:

a. Bush broke the law, and should be held accountable?
b. The unitary executive theory this rests on - even if "legally allowed", which it is not, but the RepCons might change the law to allow it - is fundamentally destructive to the system of checks and balances?

Anybody?

And yes, Glenn gives Kevin a much needed corrective on this.

Also, from a few days ago, Anonymous Liberal, on the same site, has a very good post on the six reasons why vocally opposing this whole NSA spying thing is the right thing, AND good politics.

Posted by: JC on March 15, 2006 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin:

We should only fight the battles we stand a chance of winning???? WTF is an "opposition party" for, particularly in this age of Republican hegemony (and lawlessness)????

Cheers,

Posted by: Arne Langsetmo on March 15, 2006 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

That is it. I refuse to read this site any longer. Kevin's explication de politics is so mind bogglingly stupid and craven that it scarcely deserves to be noted, let alone fisked. But I'll draw everyone's attention to glenn greenwald's masterful takedown: read it and weep.

aimai

Posted by: aimai on March 15, 2006 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

I think the Democrats can convince the American people of their fitness to lead by running away from some more battles with Republicans. Could you maybe outline some more battles the Democrats should NOT fight? Maybe some more things they should NOT censure Bush for? Maybe some more principles they should cut?

It might just be possible for the Democrats to avoid any principles whatsoever by the time the next election comes around.

Except Health Care. We all like that, right?

Posted by: Little Heroes on March 15, 2006 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

It's about leadership, Kevin.

Perhaps its been said, but my Senator, Levin, as well as others, have used the wiretap investigation to run interference for them as to why they aren't coming forth on the Feingold resolution. But wait, an independent investigation was shot down. What they are refering to is a dog and poney show.

Finally somebody stands up with the stones to face down the majority concerning the Preznit. Clearly Feingold is right to bring it. Theater? Ok. Doesn't all politics involve theatre?

Democrats are blowing a chance to show some spine and gather together all those who agree. That, presumably, would include a whole lot of people who respond to the surveys which say Bush is not trustworthy, and is an unpopular President. It's not just about the Democratic base.

The wiretap scandal as well as others can easily be included in the discussion. And just maybe we will begin to see real oversight and investigations. Well, moreso anyway.

Posted by: ww on March 15, 2006 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

This is the kind of wimpy and illogical conventional wisdom that led to the debacles in '02 and '04. Dems afraid to question or stand up for the truth because they're afraid of being attacked by the illogical arguments of the right, arguments that characterize the Dems as weak. How the hell can standing up for the Constitution and holding an imbecile accountable for breaking the law be seen as anything but patriotic and strong?

Finally someone is standing up to the punk and the wimpy Dems don't have the brains or the guts to back him up.

Instead of running away, the Dems ought to be telling Feingold "we've got your back".

Any Dem with presidential ambitions will find this wimpiness come back to haunt them. Like Biden and Clinton for instance.

Posted by: Chrissy on March 15, 2006 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not sure why people haven't figured it out quite yet:

While Russ Feingold cares about what you think, at the end of the day, Russ is gonna do what he thinks is right.

There were people who loved him (and people who didn't) when he voted against the Patriot Act back in 2001, when that was a VERY tough thing to do polilically.

There were people who were very upset with him (including many readers here) when he voted in favor of John Roberts' Supreme Court nomination. But Russ had his reasons, he told us what they were. And you gotta respect a guy who votes against "his base" when he thinks its the right thing to do, and stands up and tells you so.

So all of the discussion of 'political theatre' and 'smart/dumb tactics', while interesting, is beside the point. Russ thinks that censure, as opposed to impeachment or nothing, is the right thing to do. So that's what he's gonna do.

And I respect the hell out of him for it.

Posted by: Robert Earle on March 15, 2006 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

Hey! Looky that! Bigwig Glenn Greenwald has caught on to See-No-Evil Drum's cowardly Chaimberlin-style appeasement of the republicans.

Posted by: cdj on March 15, 2006 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

this kind of nonsense is a good reason to avoid publications such as Washington Monthly

Posted by: Doug on March 15, 2006 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

"...the only causes worth fighting for were the lost causes."
- Jefferson Smith, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington

"Oh, you only fight the fights you can win? You fight the fights that need fighting!"
- A.J. MacInerney, The American President

Posted by: Robert Earle on March 15, 2006 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

The bipartisan Iraq Study Group -- led by former Secretary of State James Baker, a Republican, and former Democratic congressman Lee Hamilton -- is designed to focus "fresh eyes" on the war debate from people who "love their country more than their party," said Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Virginia, during a Capitol Hill news conference.

Obviously, a group which would never include Pat Roberts or Bill Frist who've both done all that they could to obstruct any critical review of the war or this administration's so-called "GWOT" (aka, George's Waste of Time).

Posted by: Advocate for God on March 15, 2006 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

Bush is violating the Fourth Amendment to our Constitution, dammit! What mode are we in: IOKIYAR 24 x 7 ?

Posted by: Hedley Lamarr on March 15, 2006 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

Sorry, but you are pwn3d!

Posted by: Baldrick on March 15, 2006 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

Their insistence that government must blind itself to the obvious they way they did before 9/11 is a real good reason never again to let democrats drive.

And Bush was told that al Qaida was going to use planest to attack us and did nothing.

Your point?

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on March 15, 2006 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

Spineless, brainless and useless...

That was the Duke of Wales, referring to Sir Percy Blakeney, aka, the Scarlet Pimpernel.

Now it has become the fitting epitaph for Kevin Drum.

Goodbye and good riddance, Mr. Drum.

Posted by: phein on March 15, 2006 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

The senators in favor of that censure resolution were trying to do themselves a favor, to give themselves a chance to be on record as deploring Clinton's behavior without actually doing anything about it. Which is why the Republicans voted it down.

Posted by: Brainster on March 15, 2006 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

If I were Feingold, I would introduce a measure to censure other Democrats for being spineless wusses.

I would also change party affilliation. Immediately.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on March 15, 2006 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, Kevin. I've been reading you since the Calpundit days, and I don't think I've ever disagreed with you more. Not a very good post at all. Please think about this a little more. Do you really think we should just let executive lawbreaking go on without any attempt at official action? For political reasons? Are you really saying we shouldn't even try? Because it looks bad?

Posted by: Kiril on March 15, 2006 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

I have to tell you, Kevin, that the reason my two Democratic Senators look muddled and stupid is that, as far as I can tell, they both _are_ muddled and stupid. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell are the next best thing to electing a couple of store mannequins to the Senate--at least mannequins wouldn't talk.

Posted by: Michael on March 15, 2006 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

The Democrats got brutally hosed on the Senate Intelligence vote, and they do need to react to that, loudly. A censure resolution seems like an appropriate response. To make matters worse, dems like Feinstein who want to wait to learn more about the program are clearly being foolish -- they lost. There's not going to be any serious investigation, and if they expect the silly briefings that were agreed upon to be of any value, then they clearly don't realize just how screwed they were on that vote.

Posted by: Royko on March 15, 2006 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

Burn.

People like Kevin -- who believe that Democrats must "prove" to the country that they can be strong -- should most understand the value in having Democrats take a stand regardless of whether they ultimately prevail. Strong and resolute people fight. Weak and spineless people run away from fights -- or fight only when their victory is guaranteed in advance. The Democrats have been running away from fights for five years now based on the Kevin Drum theory that fights are only worth fighting if you know in advance that you will win. It is beyond irrational to think that the Democrats are going to look strong by simply crawling away meekly and allowing George Bush to break the law.

http://glenngreenwald.blogspot.com/2006/03/stirring-defense-of-indecision-and.html

Posted by: montlake on March 15, 2006 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,
Fight only if you can win?
What kind of BS is that?
If we wait for something we can win before we fight these people we will end up comrades.
Step away from the kool aid.

Posted by: ac on March 15, 2006 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin-

Sometimes you do a thing simply because it is the right thing to do, not because it's likely to succeed or because it makes you popular. Bush broke the law and violated his oath of office. There is no neutral ground in this, you either object to it or you acquiesce.

In introducing the censure motion, Feingold demonstrated integrity; the last I knew, the problem with our politics was the dearth of integrity, not its surfeit. . In failing to support his motion, the craven Senate Democrats demonstrated once more why they are the minority party; when it push comes to shove, they are more concerned with protecting themselves than defending the country. Three years ago, they refused to vote against the invasion of Iraq because for the same reason, consequently, effective opposition to the war on the part of Congressional Democrats (with the exception of Feingold) has been blunted.

Instead of standing up in support of the censure of this president, being counted and taking their lumps for it, they folded yet again. Getting the Republican controlled Senate to censure a Republican president may have been a lost cause, but it would have been better had this battle not been lost without a fight.

Posted by: Chesire11 on March 15, 2006 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

Well, Drum, at least you nicely set Greenwald up for his on-target riposte.

Posted by: sglover on March 15, 2006 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

Also, jesus christ on a diving board, you have attracted the fucking trolls with this comment! Maybe in the future you'll think again before parroting Karl Rove's talking points?

Posted by: Baldrick on March 15, 2006 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

FYI: Speaking of courage and spine - go see Andrew Sullivan's blog today. He's got a link to a petition. If you sign this petition, you are saying that you support free expression, you support the Manifesto of 12, and you recognize that this clash is of democrats versus theocrats.

You also are saying that you are not afraid of islamic terrorist death-threats intended to silence free expression. Sign it. We are all combatants in this war of ideas. Put your name on the death list as I have, and show the theocrats that you are not afraid of them.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on March 15, 2006 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, you've just jumped the shark. Bye.

Posted by: bonkydog on March 15, 2006 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, how come no trackback for Greenwald's screed? And aren't you going to respond? Your reputation's at stake, man! Stand up for yourself, or be further accused of sniveling hand-wringing and equivocation.

Posted by: Doofus on March 15, 2006 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder what possessed Feingold to sandbag other Democrats, and then turn around and hand the Republicans a clip they can all use in their re-election campaign commercials?

I mean, if he was standing on principle and I assume he was, since he had the balls to vote against the Patriot Act, he still coulda planned it a lot better.

Posted by: kc on March 15, 2006 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,
As usual, you are one step behind.

Keep up the good work!

Posted by: Karl Rove on March 15, 2006 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

gutless..no maybe chicken..no just trying to be in the game not really caring if you win the game. That is where Kevin, Hillary and Leberman are at.

Posted by: jerry on March 15, 2006 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

So Kevin got it wrong...what else is new?

Posted by: coffeequeen on March 15, 2006 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

Ditto. Shark sucessfully jumped. Off my bookmarks.

Maybe Lieberman has a staffer spot for ya Drum. You and the Bullshit Moose like peas in an inane and irrelvant pod.

Drum: Winner of the Milquetoast Irrelevant Clown award. Congrats big guy, you earned it.

Posted by: Alaskan_Pete on March 15, 2006 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

Pew has Bush approval at 33% now--but God forbid, don't censure this wildly popular president for shamelessly violating the Constitution.

Posted by: Ringo on March 15, 2006 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

I predict a big lose in 2006 for Dems. People will stay away from the polls because there are absolutley no Dems worth voting for. And then who knows how creepy it will get.

Should we start hoarding food?

Posted by: Michael Buchanan on March 15, 2006 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

Jeebus people, relax. I agree with much of Greenwald's criticism, but chill out. Kevin is the man. Plenty progressive on social issues and consevative on fiscal issues: just what all Dems should be. He has a unique business-wise take on things that should be heard. I am sure Kevin will respong to Greenwald, and I am sure I will be satisfied with his honesty and insight. Maybe we won't agree, but...

Posted by: Teej on March 15, 2006 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

[K]eeping the NSA thing in the news is a surefire way to help the Republicans in the midterms. I like Feingold in a lot of ways...but as a politican...he's a moron.When will people figure out that the NSA thing helps Bush?
-Nathan

The President is breaking the law. The President is claiming that he has the authority, via a 'signing statement' to interpet the law. The President is claiming that he has the ability to judge for himself which laws are unconstitutional. These are the legal underpinnings of dictatorship. We cannot let this stand: if we do, then it doesn't matter if we win in 2006 because the President will have the recognized authority to disregard Congress. The NSA scandal does not help Bush: he's at 33% in the latest poll, for God's sake. If it was helping him, wouldn't he be seeing a bounce? If we can't take on Bush now, then when? When he's retired, and been replaced by McCain? When he's dead of natural causes? When the statues we'll put up to his memory so the Republicans don't call us traitors are rusted and crumbling? At what point do we act like an opposition? Quite frankly, it doesn't matter if the NSA scandal helps Bush: we have a duty to oppose this seizure of power, we have a duty to our country, and our elected representatives have a duty before God and the Constitution to defend our democracy and the American Revolution. If we abdicate that responsibility, as you are advocating, then we are all cowards. We will burn in the Hell that is reserved for the cowardly, which is quite simply living with the knowledge of our own cowardice. How on earth can you argue that opinion polls outweigh defending our democracy? And you dare call this strength?

Some dare call it cowardice.

Posted by: Padraig on March 15, 2006 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

I wish I knew how to quit you, Kevin.

(p.s. your check is in the mail.)

Posted by: Joe Lieberman on March 15, 2006 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

"...we have a duty to oppose this seizure of power, we have a duty to our country, and our elected representatives have a duty before God and the Constitution to defend our democracy and the American Revolution."

EXACTLY! Padraig hit the nail on the head. Some things are not matters of political posturing, some things are a matter of duty!

Posted by: Chesire11 on March 15, 2006 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

I am so glad Glen Greenwald so took you to the cleaners Kevin. He stated every reason for observing that Senator Feingold, my Senator Kevin, is the leader of the Democrats. A leader of courage, values and direction. You have no idea what a great leader is Kevin. You are truly a committee wanker. Your premise is..."hey can we get consensus on this? No? Well ok then. Next item..." Find a spine please Kevin.

Posted by: Poncho & Lefty on March 15, 2006 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

"More to the point - if Dems can't agree to criticize a president who is at 34%, then what purpose do they serve?"

Well, they can get his approval back up over 50% if they really get behind Feingold.

The NSA story is a loser for Democrats. It reminds everyone that Clinton tried to fight terrorism (Militant Islam) as if it were the Mafia for 8 years and we ended up with 9/11.

Anyone who really wants a thought provoking treatise on the 20th century and its pathology should read Robert Conquest's "Reflections on a Ravaged Century." The eerie thing about it is to keep Daniel Pipes' analogy of the terrorists, as one more utopian totaliatarian ideology, in mind. Pipes describes them as educated young men who are not really devout Muslims but who are using Islam as Hitler used Teutonic mythology and Marx used distorted history of Germany to justify a pure power-seeking ideology. If you accept the Pipes theory, the Conquest book expands that and really shows how similar they are to the Bolsheviks and Nazi storm troopers.

Conquest points out that the Nazis got their first support from students. The Bolsheviks were not workers or peasants. They were theorists. Mohammed Atta was an engineering student.

Feingold's attempt is irrelevant but shows how far he is from reality. I fear he has lots of company.

Posted by: Mike K on March 15, 2006 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

Mike K: It reminds everyone that Clinton tried to fight terrorism (Militant Islam) as if it were the Mafia for 8 years and we ended up with 9/11.

Which reminds everyone what a persistent liar conservative lemmings like Mike K are.

Harkin has also signed on to Feingold's censure.

I guess he's divorced from reality also.

Or, could it be that Mike K is?

Well, we all know the answer to the last question is a resounding "in spades".

Posted by: Advocate for God on March 15, 2006 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

Why the heck should Feingold consult any other Dems on this issue?

The genetic eunuchs that comprise the current Dem line-up in D.C. are scared of their own shadow.

Telling them that the censure action was going to be introduced would have caused physical pain to those people. He did them a favor by going it alone.

Posted by: meade on March 15, 2006 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

Wow. Have I stumbled upon the mirror image of freerepublic. Take a big chill pill people.

Posted by: pathetic on March 15, 2006 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK


Wow. With friends like you, who needs enemies.
The fact that you can find any justification for not supporting Feingold's motion is appalling. I wonder, what was your position on impeaching Clinton for a blow job?

Anyone who isn't appalled by your - and numerous other dems - Rovian approach to this matter simply isn't paying attention.

God save us from liberals like yourself. You've lost touch with reality.

Posted by: R Singer on March 15, 2006 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

The NSA story is a loser for Democrats. It reminds everyone that Clinton tried to fight terrorism (Militant Islam) as if it were the Mafia for 8 years and we ended up with 9/11.

Mike K, I really have to say--though it pains me to do so--that you are a blind fucking fool.

We ended up with 9/11 because George Bush and his crew of dolts were asleep at the switch. Since waking up, they have taken hold of the switch and are furiously determined to drive the train off the edge of the known world. While doing so, they are bent on eliminating all rights to privacy (it's no coincidence that the conservatives judicial philosophy is based on the assertion that "there is no right to privacy in the Constitution").

To all others, forgive me for feeding the troll. I take solace in the fact that I'm feeding him troll-poison.

Posted by: Baldrick on March 15, 2006 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

Beautiful, Kevin! You and me should have lunch sometime so we can decide what's best for Democrats.

Look me up,
Bill

Posted by: Bill Keller on March 15, 2006 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

Fire Drum, hire Greenwald. Do it for Jeebus.
I agree, drive the Democratic Party as far left as you can. You don't need any of that moderation, what you need is everyone thinking alike. Internal debate just leads to learning and you sure don't need any of that, you have your dogma and there's no need to stir the pot.

You go.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on March 15, 2006 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

About two months ago, Kevin said, essentially, to Downing Street Memo, Part 2: "Move along, nothing to see here. We know Bush planned to go to war. What can we do about it now. Move along."

I was the first to post on that thread, and I said he was a mushy Bush apologist. He responded right away: "Have you ever read this blog before?"

Yes, I replied often.

Yet, here he is again with his nothing to see here pose against Bush. It's the soft, mushy middle the Dems keep trying to find and hold onto only to see themselves sink more deeply into the quicksand as the sand in the hourglass continues to slip through their fingers.

I only come here now to see the indignation in the comments (Well done, people!) and when someone else points me here.

We need feckless, spineless bloggers like Kevin Drum like we need to invade Iran.

Posted by: Rob on March 15, 2006 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

You're right. We've got the lock step Republicans who act like a pack of dogs. Let's employ shoot from the hip politics which leaves everyone scrambling and looking like fools. Who needs planning or coherence.

Posted by: pathetic on March 15, 2006 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

Wow. Have I stumbled upon the mirror image of freerepublic. Take a big chill pill people.
And may I be the first to welcome you to the swamp.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on March 15, 2006 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

My only question is how Kevin manages to sit upright at his PC without a spine.

Bush broke the law. Bush continues to break the law. Bush is weak and unpopular (thanks in part to the Dubai Ports deal that Kevin would have given Bush a pass on).

And Kevin still opposes taking a stand and calling out the GOP law-breaking machine.

Posted by: Sean on March 15, 2006 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin:
Screw you. Thanks for undermining the progressives in this country. You won't be, but you should be ashamed. Dickhead.

Posted by: coldH2O on March 15, 2006 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

Wow. Have I stumbled upon the mirror image of freerepublic. Take a big chill pill people.
Posted by: pathetic

Kevin, stop posting under other names. Coward.

Posted by: observer on March 15, 2006 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

Mike K: The NSA story is a loser for Democrats.

Advice for Democrats from someone who hates Democrats is like advice from Satan about what's a sin and what isn't.

As I recall, consistently calling Bush a liar and incompetent wasn't going to work - the liberal strategy was DOA!

Wow!

You were right!

Bush has skyrocketed to an approval rating of 33%, a full 20 points below Clinton's worst second-term approval rating.

Smokin'!

The strategy was DOA.

You heard it from the Mike K's of the world first.

Crow about it, Mikey!

You were right all along!

Not.

Posted by: Advocate for God on March 15, 2006 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, stop posting under other names. Coward.

Check the IP you fool. Unless Kevin lives in Rhode Island, it isn't him.

Posted by: pathetic on March 15, 2006 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

Why would Feingold bother bringing this to his spineless caucus first? He obviously knows that they'd all try to stop him.

Unfortunately this is what leadership in the Democratic Party looks like these days. One lone voice trying desperately to drive his colleagues forward.

Pathetic...

Posted by: A Hermit on March 15, 2006 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

Come on Kevin, Glenn spanked you bad and you continue to get blasted in these comments. Care to respond?

Posted by: Clouseau on March 15, 2006 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

Congrats Kevin!

You finally made it into our little club.

When you first started blogging, we weren't sure about you, but you've really pulled it together over the past few months.

All the best.

Posted by: The Beltway Insiders on March 15, 2006 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe Feingold has a crystal ball and he can see minorities, women, gays and poor Americans waking up and taking the power from the rich white guys and he wants to be the one to lead them.

It won't be in 2008. Maybe 2012.

Posted by: Michael Buchanan on March 15, 2006 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

Jayarbee renails it yet again:

"KEVIN DRUM: I'll give you two and a half answers: First, substantively: Sure, censure away. God knows Bush deserves it.


This is the only answer that matters. Your other 1 1/2 answers are based on bullshit.

Posted by: koreyel on March 15, 2006 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

Gee, You think it could possobly be just an honest and heartfelt effort to call this cocksucker on the carpet for being the worst criminal bastard tp ever occupy the goddamn white house?

Posted by: angryspittle on March 15, 2006 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

Prez breaks the law. He gets caught. He sends his AG to lie and evade about it. The Intelligence committee votes on strict party lines not to investigate (must be cause it's such a great political issue for the Republican, eh?)

Dem complaints are met by Repubs blatantly lying about their position. So blatant, that even the American people can see that it's a lie.

As the Times put it today:

"..the Republicans who dominate the House and Senate generally intervene only to change the rules so Mr. Bush can do whatever he wants. (If the current Congress had been called on to intervene in the case of Mr. Allen, it would probably have tried to legalize shoplifting.)"

Feingold is keeping the spotlight on the issue. Democrats need to get some backbone, stop the f-ing triangulation and take a stand.

Posted by: lewp on March 15, 2006 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

Doing the right thing doesn't play well in the south.

Posted by: Michael Buchanan on March 15, 2006 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

I'll still read you Kevin, but never again without thinking about this post- which sucks out loud. "Insulated" is not an attractive quality. Reminds us of Fukuyama.

Posted by: jf on March 15, 2006 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

The time has come (actually it's long past) that those of you who call yourselves "moderate democrats" take a long, hard look at what you truly believe.

The idea of joining and supporting a political party represents a tacit admission that said party embodies a platform of ideas and concepts about the world in which we live that one agrees with. At least agrees with to the extent that one is willing to pledge time and treasure in the effort to see those values enacted.

In order for those values to become reality via policy it goes without saying that the party one is supporting must first win elections.

The Democrats aren't winning elections.

There's much to debate as to what the Democrats need to do to win elections but I'm as certain as I am that the sun will rise in the morning that the strategy we've been employing these last several election cycles of rolling over on our backs and hoping the media and Republicans will scratch our bellies isn't working.

If you're in a boxing match you're going to have throw a few punches to win.

Do you want to win Kevin? Then stop hiding under the bed.

Posted by: Dean Wormer on March 15, 2006 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

Description of Gitmo detainee:

Zaman Gul, a shopkeeper accused of links to the Taliban and possessing weapons and communications equipment, was detained along with his father, uncle and a village elder by U.S. soldiers who claimed someone fired on them.

So, US soldiers were in a area known to be inhabited by hostile forces.

Somebody fired on them, but they don't know exactly who.

They found somebody with weapons in an area inhabited by, well, lots of people with weapons for lots of reasons other than to fight Americans, and decided to arrest them and hold them indefinitely, even though apparently there is not a shred of evidence that these people were the people that fired on the soldiers.

Yes, this president and his entire administration need to be censured and censured hard.

Posted by: Advocate for God on March 15, 2006 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

Conquest points out that the Nazis got their first support from students. The Bolsheviks were not workers or peasants. They were theorists. Mohammed Atta was an engineering student.
Posted by: Mike K on March 15, 2006 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

Yes!

Only simple country-folk like George Bush should be allowed to run things. Anyone with an IQ over 60 or a High School diploma is likely to lead to totalitarianism.

Fucking dumb shit.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on March 15, 2006 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

The time has come (actually it's long past) that those of you who call yourselves "moderate democrats" take a long, hard look at what you truly believe.

The idea of joining and supporting a political party represents a tacit admission that said party embodies a platform of ideas and concepts about the world in which we live that one agrees with. At least agrees with to the extent that one is willing to pledge time and treasure in the effort to see those values enacted.

In order for those values to become reality via policy it goes without saying that the party one is supporting must first win elections.

The Democrats aren't winning elections.

There's much to debate as to what the Democrats need to do to win elections but I'm as certain as I am that the sun will rise in the morning that the strategy we've been employing these last several election cycles of rolling over on our backs and hoping the media and Republicans will scratch our bellies isn't working.

If you're in a boxing match you're going to have throw a few punches to win.

Do you want to win Kevin? Then stop hiding under the bed.

Posted by: Dean Wormer on March 15, 2006 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

The lack of concrete evidence cited in the transcripts against detainees -- many of whom were captured in Afghanistan in the months following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks -- might create the impression they're being held unjustly, said John Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.org, a military policy think tank.

"I think it is going to strengthen the perception that we've rounded up a bunch of bystanders -- that we just rounded up a bunch of Muslims to torment them," Pike said. He pointed out that pursuing shadowy enemy combatants is completely different from nailing common criminals.

Yet more evidence that the White House fascists aren't protecting America, but protecting Amerika, and that they are the ones giving aid and comfort to the enemy by providing the enemy with just cause to oppose American policy and American occupations.

Posted by: Advocate for God on March 15, 2006 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

Ed Helms
Daily Show:

I got mugged the other day... and this bum was beating me with a bottle. And I said, you know what? I'm going to sit back and wait for him to accidentally hit himself with the bottle. Sure enough, he did! I mean, I was unconscious, but I think I won that battle.

Posted by: pongsak on March 15, 2006 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

Nov 10, 2008

As we listen to yet another stirring concession speech by a Democratic Presidential candidate, it occured to me that the biggest problem the Democrats have is that they can't differentiate themselves from the competition.

Perhaps if the Democrats had taken a stand against Bush, voters would take them more seriously now.

Sigh.

Kevin Drum

Posted by: The Future on March 15, 2006 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

Greenwald just took you out behind the shedhouse and "schooled" you good and proper. Imagine your cheeks, all four of them, must be bright red by now. Stop hiding under the bed.

Posted by: coffeequeen on March 15, 2006 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

OBF: Fucking dumb shit.

F*cking nazi.

Conservatives are always looking in the mirror when they criticize liberals.

Just look at Jay.

Virtually every criticism he's proffered up againt liberals actually applies to the conservatives he supports.

Mike K is no different, as far as I can tell.

33% Mikey.

The liberal strategy is working, despite your efforts to derail it with your conservative-serving advice that it is wrong-headed and will never work!

Damn, don't you just hate it when that happens.

Posted by: Advocate for God on March 15, 2006 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

Not this time Kevin, sorry. Greenwald got you good im afraid. Go ahead, get behind it. You know you really want to.

Posted by: Thentro on March 15, 2006 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

Add me to the list of folks giving up on this place.

Kevin, here's a clue: folks outside power gain support and influence and finally power by being willing to challenge the prevailing wisdom. They do things that communicate, telling those in power "we challenge your authority on these grounds" and those without power "here is an alternative; join us". This will always seem strange to those comfortable in the prevailing system. It may in fact be folly - there are plenty of ideas which have no influence because they're stupid and wrong. But it may not be. And there's very little better for testing an idea than, well, testing it.

I have no idea what it will take to convince people like you that the time to act is now, because we have nothing to lose. You're like the apocryphal frog being broiled to death slowly. I would like to think that well-meaning Democrats would finally get tired of it and hop out, but by now I don't see any reason to hope for it. Those of us willing to try anything will be glad to see you when you come to your senses, though.

Posted by: Bruce Baugh on March 15, 2006 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans are nervous about Bush's declining approval ratings and a string of White House woes. They include the administration's fumbled handling of Hurricane Katrina; an uproar over a secret eavesdropping program; unhappiness about Iraq; opposition to the now-abandoned Dubai ports deal; the failed nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, and Bush's failure to achieve the centerpiece of his domestic agenda, an overhaul of Social Security.

Hey, rdw, even the GOP faithful are admitting that Bush has failed virtually every test put before him.

You're going to get as lonely as a lemming left out in the cold, rdw.

Posted by: Advocate for God on March 15, 2006 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

You clearly upset some people here. The next time the Republicans talk of us being overly tolerant; I'll refer them to the comments to your post. Glenn is wrong, very wrong, and actually proves how wrong he is by mentioning the time it took to develop the narrative about Nixon.

Posted by: bbbustard on March 15, 2006 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

Bush's personal image also has declined, according to a poll released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center. Until now, the most frequently offered word to describe Bush was "honest," but now the word most often associated with the president is "incompetent," the survey said.

Yes, rdw, Bush's chances of becoming the greatest president ever keep growing all the time.

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!

I guess the American people just don't see things as clearly as you, eh?

BTW, Mike K, that strategy of "Bush lied" and "Bush is incompetent" appears to be working.

Guess you are not such a good predictor of political strategy as you've proclaimed yourself to be.

Posted by: Advocate for God on March 15, 2006 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

God, Kevin, you're such a horse's ass sometimes.

Posted by: Bill on March 15, 2006 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. Drum:

If this Administration ever decides to make good on its veiled threats to deal with what little organized opposition to it remains in this country, and we need a place to hide from the police, we'll know not to bother knocking on your door, looking for a hiding place.

Posted by: Steve Watkins on March 15, 2006 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

I predict a big lose in 2006 for Dems. People will stay away from the polls because there are absolutley no Dems worth voting for. And then who knows how creepy it will get.
Should we start hoarding food?
Posted by: Michael Buchanan on March 15, 2006 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

It could get plenty creepy.

I'm convinced that Americans are not going to fight for their privacy. Though, I'm fairly certain that we're all about to lose Roe V Wade. It's probably 06 grandstanding, that's going to have the (most likely) undesired side-effect of actually working.

Do you suppose that will wake Americans up?

Posted by: *-O(:~{> on March 15, 2006 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

You should address whether Bush deserves to be censured. If he does, why aren't the democrats voting for and supporting it?

Do you really think not standing up for what you think is right wins votes? It doesn't. Voters respect courage, not cowardice.

Dems like Lieberman should vote against it, because they really do think constitutional protections for individuals are trumped by presidential authority. Most dems do not, and should vote for, argue for, and support the censure resolution.

Posted by: exhuming mccarthy on March 15, 2006 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

Feingold was the ONLY Senator to vote against the Patriot Act, thus becoming by default the premier defender of the constitution.

Feingold was at the forefront of the filibuster to derail the PA from being passed in its original form.

Consider his censure motion an attempt to demonstrate precisely why he was skeptical of the PA in the first place, and to highlight the fact that he remains the leading Senator in the fight to defend civil liberties.

Senator Feingold has expended political capital again and again to fight what must have seemed like a lonely battle to curtail the march of fascism in our country.

He's earned the right to engage in a little theater to advance his presidential ambitions.

Posted by: smedleybutler on March 15, 2006 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

BTW, Mike K, that strategy of "Bush lied" and "Bush is incompetent" appears to be working.
Posted by: Advocate for God on March 15, 2006 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, it's not fair - we had the cards stacked in our favor by the fact that Bush really did lie, and really is fucking incompetent beyond all rational belief.

One thing he's been very competent at though, is convincing people that he's incompetent. Good work on that.

Posted by: *-O(:~{> on March 15, 2006 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

Feingold needs to abandon the Democrats.

Those of us yearning for good US government, or at least a decent oppositon to the current bad US government, need to abandon the Democrats.

I regret voting for Kerry. It is better to vote for a candidate that represents one's views even if you lose. I hope to never vote for another lesser of two evils again.

Posted by: Hostile on March 15, 2006 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

Well, it's nice to know the liberals here have a sense of humor on this, even in the midst of outrage - my favorites so far:

Kevin,

Great tips on leadership! You are brilliant!
Posted by: Dick Cheney

I wish I knew how to quit you, Kevin.

(p.s. your check is in the mail.)
Posted by: Joe Lieberman

Congrats Kevin!

You finally made it into our little club.

When you first started blogging, we weren't sure about you, but you've really pulled it together over the past few months.

All the best.
Posted by: The Beltway Insiders

Of course, the serious issue, that slaps me across the face is - it really is the case that democrats simply don't seem to care that Republicans broke the law.

They really do seem "principle-less", "spineless", etc - thus living up to all the republican caricatures.

So where is a law-abiding, constitution-respecting liberal to go? Who to vote for?

Posted by: JC on March 15, 2006 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I'm with Glenn Greenwald on this, but more than that, I think this is a debate we ought to have, and I look forward to a well considered response from you. Let me mention one point I haven't seen elsewhere. We "lost" the vote on Gonzales' confirmation as AG, but don't you think it sent a message that a lot of America heard? Without that, he might be on the Supreme Court right now, no? How did the Democratic Party suffer as a consequence of that bit of theatre?

Posted by: Andy McLennan on March 15, 2006 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

Via Atrios, from the just released PEW poll description:

The single word most frequently associated with George W. Bush today is "incompetent,"and close behind are two other increasingly mentioned descriptors: "idiot" and "liar."

I can hardly wait for the time when the word "idiot" becomes the word most often used for Bush.

Imagine having to listen to Bush being pronounced, in all seriousness, as an "idiot" by the American people -- scientifically proven.

How delicious the day!

Posted by: frankly0 on March 15, 2006 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

The pitcher winds, he delivers, Kevin swings.... and he MISSES. Steeeerike one on Drum.

Time to admit your mistake, get back into the ol' batters box and keep your eye on the ball next time.

Posted by: Tim on March 15, 2006 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

[Let me try that post again with proper html]

Via Atrios, from the just released PEW poll description:

The single word most frequently associated with George W. Bush today is "incompetent,"and close behind are two other increasingly mentioned descriptors: "idiot" and "liar."

I can hardly wait for the time when the word "idiot" becomes the word most often used for Bush.

Imagine having to listen to Bush being pronounced, in all seriousness, as an "idiot" by the American people -- scientifically proven.

How delicious the day!

Posted by: frankly0 on March 15, 2006 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

Imagine sober news anchors trying to keep a straight face while observing that the most common term the American people used for Bush was "idiot".

I guess the anchors and Bush will still be able to thank their lucky stars it isn't "wanker".

Posted by: frankly0 on March 15, 2006 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

Suppose the Democrats do lose. Suppose they lose on a party-line vote, 55-45.

To imagine this is to imagine Joe Lieberman voting for censure (and pigs flying).

Posted by: anandine on March 15, 2006 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

In a democracy people get the government they deserve.

You get the government you deserve, Kevin.

Posted by: cab on March 15, 2006 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

As many of the other posts have pointed out, what Feingold did is right and he would argue that when he voted to impeach Clinton, he did what was right. To put it in the kind of terms that people seem to like to use in their posts, how in the f*** can you be critical of a politician who does something right? I do not care what Feingold's motivations might be--he is just about the only politician who does things because they are the right thing to do--like vote against the Patriot Act when initially proposed. By the way in a state that is blue by only the number of votes you can count with your shoes on, he was reelected after being the only senator to vote against the Patriot Act with over 60% of the vote--and he did not spend a fortune doing it either. Surprise, even fairly conservative voters like somebody who tries to do the right thing. So do not make fun of his lack of political aptitude, it is a hell of a lot better than all those wannabes out there who will wonder why they could not get elected when they tried so hard not to give the other side talking points and changed their positions with every new poll.

Posted by: terry on March 15, 2006 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

Woohoo! I get to be repeated! Thanks Drum!


The Future said:

Nov 10, 2008

As we listen to yet another stirring concession speech by a Democratic Presidential candidate, it occured to me that the biggest problem the Democrats have is that they can't differentiate themselves from the competition.

Perhaps if the Democrats had taken a stand against Bush, voters would take them more seriously now.

Sigh.

Kevin Drum

Posted by: The Past, Nov 10, 2004 on March 15, 2006 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin:
You
are
full
of
shit.

Talk about your dead armadillo...

Posted by: mac on March 15, 2006 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

"I want LEADERSHIP - Feingold at least had the balls to do SOMETHING!" Gail, your comments sum it up for me. I'm tired of gutless democrats.

Posted by: Jersey-Missouri on March 15, 2006 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, he did it because it was THE RIGHT THING TO DO, and because he is the only Democratic Senator with any balls.

The rest are USELESS, including my Senator Rubberstamp Leahy (Dimwit-VT).

USELESS.

USELESS.

USELESS.

USELESS.

USELESS.

USELESS.

USELESS.

They're all cowards, and I repeat, USELESS.

Posted by: N. Murray on March 15, 2006 at 7:34 PM | PERMALINK

Ohh ! What a Greenwald enema !
Damn shame it couldn't be revisited to those who don't live up in any way to the title of opposition !

Posted by: opit on March 15, 2006 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

I have to say that I agree with most of the rantings...er..comments here. Anything that Tom Harkin and Barbara Boxer sign on to has to be reasonable and substantive. I could be disingenuous and say, "Please don't throw me in the briar patch," but I respect the intellects(cough-cough)around here too much for that. I used to think that the politically naive and immature comments here were due to the young age of most of the commenters, but then Kevin had everyong post a bio. I was shocked to see so many older than 19--which is about where I inaccurately had the average pegged. Now, I am beginning to realize one big reason Democrats aren't winning any elections is that they don't understand the basics of politics and electioneering. So, by all means, get behind Feingold and his politically asinine censure movement. If those are your principles, and they obviously are, then you should stand up with them. Just remember that such actions have consequences--often unintended and unforeseen. And continue to castigate your own. I spoke to Kevin last year, and warned him that this bunch would end up eating their own, which included him. In fact, he might be the main course at the banquet. You folks have no patience for sober reflection, or measured disagreement.

Posted by: Billy Bob Shranzburg on March 15, 2006 at 8:03 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

your post would have been much better if you'd ended after the second paragraph. The rest is the kind of hand-wringing, over-thinking nonsense that dooms Democrats with the public. It doesn't matter _why_ Senators supported Clinton's censure but oppose Bush's censure. What matters to me is

a) what Bush did was much worse
and
b) these Senators appear to disagree

As far as I'm concerned, this is a non-negotiable matter. So-called representatives who sit back and do nothing when the President breaks the law are utterly useless to me. My disgust level is reaching the breaking point here. The Dems will lose my support, and the support of countless others, if they continue to play the wimp role. Because it's becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate them from the Republicans.

If you think there's a political downside to standing up to a President who's breaking the law, then the Republic is in deeper trouble than I think it is. Personally, I think the downside is _failing_ to oppose the President. Remarkably, when the President is completely in freefall in the polls and in public opinion, this is the only possible way for the Democratic leadership to screw the pooch, to take the unthinkable step of defending an unpopular president from the opposing party who has been caught breaking the law.

It's a monumentally stupid idea. WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO STAND UP TO BUSH?

Do you know what a two-man con is? It's when two parties pretend to be enemies of each other, and repeatedly con a third party (or multiple third parties) into doing what they collectively want. If the Democratic leadership continues to roll over for the Bushites, I'll be convinced that they are merely the second man in a 2-man con game, and that the corporate money that found its way into the party via the DLC has corrupted the party irredeemably.

Posted by: RickD on March 15, 2006 at 8:04 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum said:
"And Feingold, as I hope we also remember, was the only Democratic senator to side with Republicans and refuse to vote for dismissal of the impeachment charges. So let's keep the holier-than-thou stuff down to a dull rumble, shall we?"

-- HHUUHH? What on *earth* does that have to do with Feingold's resolution to censure the President for violating the constitution? Not everything in Washington has to fall in line with your tit-for-tat model of political posturing -- sometimes, um, you know, it's for real.

Sometimes a banana is just a banana.

Posted by: capnCanCanMan on March 15, 2006 at 8:16 PM | PERMALINK

Drum -

I can't decide who's more useless - you, or the Senate Democrats who are terrified to do the right thing for fear of displeasing Bush. This blog is shit. Your political "insight" is shit. You are a coward who really doesn't understand what motivates people. At all.

Just pull the plug on this embarrassment and go back to growing avocados, or whatever it was you did before you started blogging.

Posted by: sexual harrassment panda on March 15, 2006 at 8:18 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with the commenter above, who pointed out the Dems act like they are more ready to attack President Bush than attack terrorists.
Posted by: BigRiver on March 15, 2006 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

You, sir, are a class A twit. I've lived in two cities that were hit with terrorist attacks (DC 2001, London 2005). Don't you dare suggest any softness against terrorists. Bush broke the law.
Considering he was the fucknut who let the terrorists attack the US in the first place, in spite of ample warning, in what way does it make sense to give him carte blanche to break the law? If "spying on Al Qaeda" was all that he wanted to do, he could have done so legally.

As far unwillingness to attack terrorists, Bush was the imbecile who pulled out all the troops from Afganistan, where the terrorists were, to invade Iraq, where the terrorists were not. He was the village idiot who let bin Laden and his top deputies escape at Tora Bora.

Getting rid of Bush _is fighting terrorism_. He needs to be replaced by somebody competent, who doesn't ignore the actual fight against terror in favor of using them as political theater whenever his ratings are dropping. Taking advantage of rubes like yourself.

If a Democratic president had pulled all the nonsense that Bush has done, the media would have been down his throat years ago, and he would have been impeached already, even if the Democrats controlled Congress. You wouldn't see Republican politicians talk about how opposing the President meant aiding the enemies of the country. (Do a bit of Googling to find out how the GOP leadership behaved during Clinton's attacks on Serbia/Kosovo).

That's because the GOP knows how to behave like an opposition party. And, small wonder, the path of principled opposition actually led them to power.


Posted by: RickD on March 15, 2006 at 8:23 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin you seem to be forgetting that this is not the nice collegial political environment that your civics teachers lead you to believe. This is the world of Atwater and Rove. No holds barred, old fashioned schoolyard beat down politics and only one side seems to have noticed. There is no attempt to come to compromise or give and take, this is an environment of total war. Try to remember all the games played over the past few years. And you think that standing back and trying to play nice is a recipe for success?

Sure, Reid threw an elbow with his half day shutdown of the Senate but what was the real outcome: another (now broken) promise by Roberts to complete the report he has been stonewalling since 04 for purely partisan reasons. Thats it, no follow up, no repeated calls of Where is the report/hearings, Sen. Roberts. Hell there should be a resolution proposed each and every week demanding that the report be completed. But that would take a pair.

At what point should the Dems stand up, Kevin? Take a stand for a DHS that might work, no lets have this disaster instead. Take a stand against the war, no pres is too popular. Take a stand against the gutting of The Bill of Rights in the Patriot Act, no lets play politics as usual. Enough. If you wont stand up for the country, wont stand up for yourself and wont stand up for what is right then why the hell should the voters trust Dems to fight for them.

From your argument it would seem that you like handing over your lunch money, getting your milk poured over your head and getting pants by the bully every day. Why, do you think that the teacher(media) is really going to do anything about it? They are all so damn burnt out that they think (loudly) that all the kids are little monsters that should be treated with distain, especially you for whining. If you dont stand up, it will just keep happening, and no one will have any respect for wimp. Fight back, even when you loose you send the message that you will not be an easy mark, that you are worthy of the respect of your fellow classmates(citizens) and the bully make have to think twice about doing it in the future.

Posted by: clyde on March 15, 2006 at 8:24 PM | PERMALINK

ExBrit, don't you know that doing what's right far outwieghs the annoyance of having to listen to the screeching of the flying monkeys once you've done it!?

What have you learned, Dorothy?

Posted by: capnCanCanMan on March 15, 2006 at 8:26 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin-

Now you've done it. Glenn Greenwald is perhaps the best and most thorough legal analyst on the scene today, so I would not want to be in his gunsight. Run for cover. Run...

Posted by: Eric on March 15, 2006 at 8:28 PM | PERMALINK

Feingold reminds me strongly of Bill Proxmire whom I knew and liked. Both are (were) mavericks. Proxmire had a conscience and so does Feingold. Proxmire cared not for authority as authority and I don't think Feingold does.

Both Feingold and Proxmire are in the same tradition as Bob LaFollette. Liberal attire does not truly fit any of them: they are or were Progressives. And do not forgh\et that "The Progressive" magazine is still being published.

Robert R. Clough - Thorncraft
Muskego, WI

Posted by: Robert R Clough on March 15, 2006 at 8:37 PM | PERMALINK

Note that the cowardice of the *Republican* party goes without saying.

Posted by: Boronx on March 15, 2006 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK

All that needs to be said about what is wrong with Kevin's view has been said very cogently by Glenn Greenwald.

Kevin's position would be reasonable in a parallel universe where both parties play by the rules and say what they mean and vice versa. Alas such is not the case, and therefore a strong support of the censure motion by the Democrats is the prudent thing to do.

But the Democratic leaders are Monica Whitingtons of America, sucking up, being splashed upon, and apologizing for what them master has done to them.

Posted by: lib on March 15, 2006 at 9:10 PM | PERMALINK

The rest are USELESS, including my Senator Rubberstamp Leahy (Dimwit-VT).

Are you suggesting that when Cheney said to him:
"Go fuck yourself" he should have gotten in Cheney's face with some hot breath?

If so... I agree...
But liberals are for the most part panty waists brie snorters...

And that folks...
Is why they keep getting stepped on when it comes to security issues.

You want to show people you care about protecting the public from terrorists?

Begin by showing that you won't tolerate "fuck offs" from Cheney or Swiftboats from Rove.

Begin by protecting your own character first...

Posted by: koreyel on March 15, 2006 at 9:16 PM | PERMALINK

Even from the standpoint of politics, its very hard to see anything but upside to Feingold's call for a censure.

The neglible downside of Feingold's act is evident in the utterly lame counterattack the Republicans have been able to muster against it. The best they have come up with is generic attacks on Feingold's patriotism because he's supposedly undermining our Commander in Chief. Look, NOBODY has faith in our "Commander in Chief" anymore. NOBODY. Nobody is going to rally to his defense -- just look at his numbers.

And the upside is considerable. It opens up a very legitimate attack on Bush's behavior. It gets the American people to realize that there is indeed something VERY seriously wrong in what Bush has done. It is after all ONLY by such calls that the American people EVER can acknowledge that there's a deep problem -- the matters themselves are inherently confusing, and a motion for a censure cuts through that Gordian Knot, exposing the gravity of the offense.

Posted by: frankly0 on March 15, 2006 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK

Feingold's resolution already has taken on meaning beyond the question of censure itself: The Big Question (http://vichydems.blogspot.com)

Why was every senator's office today slammed with telephone calls, and almost impossible to reach? Because we, unlike most of them, know what it means to fight. Why is Russ Feingold the man of the hour? Because he, unlike most of his colleagues, knows we expect our leaders to fight when principle and patriotism demand it, and he is striving to meet our expectation.

Feingold's censure resolution isn't even about George Bush anymore. It's about us, our representatives and the essential nature of the Democratic Party. Are we appeasers who cower and calculate when our nation's essential liberties and values are under attack, or are we willing to take a stand and do battle for the principles our country represents? We know what the Republican propaganda says about us; the Senate Democrats' initial response to Feingold's motion suggests that propaganda is true. But there is still time for our leaders to redeem themselves.

Feingold has finally called the Big Question. In the Senate Democratic Caucus are Patriots who love the Nation and the Constitution that defines it, and Politicians who hoard their perquisites and their power. The two will now be separated, pols from patriots, goats from sheep. Thanks to Feingold, there is no longer a place to hide: sooner or later censure must be voted on, and on that day every Democratic senator will be weighed in the scales, his or her worth measured and recorded.

Our nation, endangered from without, embattled and divided within, requires leaders with extraordinary courage. Feingold's resolution, which imposes no penalty on the President other than opprobrium and exacts no cost from its supporters other than political capital, has become the test of which Democrats possess the requisite courage, and which do not. Those who fail that test -- who conform themselves to less strenuous principles than those their consituents hew to -- will pay a steep political price for their failure. Not, as the pundits will claim, for failing to "pander" to their base, but for being unworthy of it.

Posted by: Thersites on March 15, 2006 at 9:29 PM | PERMALINK

As I hope everyone knows, the censure motion against Clinton was an attempt to derail the impeachment proceedings, not a genuine expression of censure. And Feingold, as I hope we also remember, was the only Democratic senator to side with Republicans and refuse to vote for dismissal of the impeachment charges. So let's keep the holier-than-thou stuff down to a dull rumble, shall we?

Possibly the saddest set of sentences I have ever seen posted on this site....

All in three sentences, Kevin 1) gets rationale for censure wrong, 2) Contradicts himself by insinuating that Feingold is a hypocrite because he is consistent (maybe in the DLC, Washington Monthly dictionary and 3), and poo-poos on those who have the audacity to question him....

A very sad display...seems like someone struck a nerve...

wow....

Posted by: justmy2 on March 15, 2006 at 9:34 PM | PERMALINK

Go Feingold!

Posted by: Dave Amos on March 15, 2006 at 9:59 PM | PERMALINK

I gave up on Drum after I emailed him some years ago about the attempted U.S. coup in Venezuela. He replied that he didn't keep up with that stuff and so wasn't interested. (Who cares about the crap that goes on in inferior countries? Certainly no one in the elite press. So why should Mr. Drum? It's all so boring and brown and poverty stricken and just plain *boring*.)

Posted by: Bacon Shake on March 15, 2006 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

One positive result from Feingold's motion: the language of the debate changed from "Why can't the Democrats support the president on national security," to "What should be done about George Bush's criminal behavior?" That has got to be a good thing.

Posted by: pjcamp on March 15, 2006 at 10:50 PM | PERMALINK

What is Feingold looking to accomplish?

Maybe to stop the legalization of what Bush is continuing to do - wiretapping Americans and turning the 4th amendment on its' head.

Unless Congress does something to declare that what Bush IS doing (I keep hearing the media describe the wiretapping in the past tense, as if it's over, that it's not being done any more) is unlawful, Congressional Republicans (both in the House and Senate) have expressed the willingness to pass legislation making it legal for the government to spy on its' citizens.

And more.

We have heard that this is only the tip of the iceberg as to what other domestic spying programs the NSA is up to.

Whenever Kevin Drum says, "I don't know if it's such a good idea...." I know it's a damned great idea!

I only heard about Drum's comments while I was at another weblog, and wanted to disabuse his sycophant lapdogs of the notion that he and they matter to the discourse. It's because of this wishy-washy capitulation to Republicans by Drum that we're in this minority fix in the first place.

I intend to work to bench the Drums of the Democratic Party by driving them back where they belong - to the Republican Party.

Posted by: Steve on March 15, 2006 at 11:30 PM | PERMALINK

One thing I will say about Feingold's censure resolution: it strikes just the right note, politically. A call for impeachment would simply have been a bridge too far. Not only would it not come to pass, it would have seemed far too extreme at this juncture.

Censure makes the same political and constitutional point without going over the top.

Of course, if more transpires of relevance, impeachment could be taken up at a later stage.

Posted by: frankly0 on March 15, 2006 at 11:57 PM | PERMALINK

As I read the personally insulting comments issued forth from what appears to be a nearly post adolescent screechy voiced, pimply rabble, I couldnt help but consider that if these fine specimens are the new foot soldiers of the Democratic Party that I am a part of, we are deeply fucked.

Posted by: Keith G on March 16, 2006 at 12:04 AM | PERMALINK

Next year on Faux News: Hannity & Drum

Posted by: authority_stealing on March 16, 2006 at 12:57 AM | PERMALINK

Gutless.

Posted by: KevinA on March 16, 2006 at 1:19 AM | PERMALINK

Makes me wonder which of the trackbacks brought the moron brigade out here.

Posted by: ogmb on March 16, 2006 at 1:32 AM | PERMALINK

Conversely, it's not clear what Feingold hopes to accomplish with his censure motion. Bush's shortcomings are already getting plenty of attention, so he's not galvanizing any new media attention.

He's getting exactly what he wants...
He is now the leader of the "loony left".

As I've seen elsewhere earlier,

You have Hillary.-----

and then you have the-
("not- Hillary"- right division)Warner, Lieberman, Bayh, maybe Clark, etc...

and also the larger---
("not -Hillary"- left division) Feingold, Clark(maybe 'right' in this group- looking for the "near-left"?...), Conyers, Boxer, Kerry, Gore?, etc. ad nauseum...

The major success of a "Feingold for President" campaign would be to rehabilitate Mondale's image...(anyone can lose 49 states... it takes a "true asshole" to lose all fifty...)

Posted by: fletch on March 16, 2006 at 1:47 AM | PERMALINK

Comments by frankly0 get my vote.

Kevin, what is wrong with you? Something must be going around and I guess you caught it from the Repub Lites.

Glenn Greenwald's and Digby's posts about censure are spot on.

Gutless.

Amen to that!

Posted by: Apollo 13 on March 16, 2006 at 2:23 AM | PERMALINK

Way to go, Russ!

Now where the hell are the Democrats? They are cowering in dark corners, totally intimidated by a criminally incompetent president who deserves to be impeached.

Congressional Democrats are a profile of cowardice. They wimper and moan whenever a Republican demagogues the national security issue (you criticize the president? well, you must be a traitor in league with Osama) instead of standing tall and united against a president who has violated numerous statutes, failed to faithfully defend and protect the Constitution and have whittled away our rights.

Bad politics to bring up the censure motion? Well, it wouldn't be if Democrats stood squarely behind Feingold and use this opportunity to launch a real debate about the harm the Bush administration has inflicted on the American people (and overseas).

Posted by: Evan on March 16, 2006 at 2:59 AM | PERMALINK

If you all want to to do something and not just talk, check out this post and to support Feingold's resolution for censure of the President!

Posted by: Tahoma Activist on March 16, 2006 at 5:07 AM | PERMALINK

Steve @ 11:30pm--"I intend to work to bench the Drums of the Democratic Party by driving them back to where they belong-the Republican Party."

Now there's a winning political strategy which I highly encourage. As those who think this way make up(for now)a small minority of the Left, I doubt it will accomplish even this short term goal, but, just in case, Kevin, you are welcome to join us anytime--even with some of your misguided ideas.

Posted by: The Republican Party on March 16, 2006 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

The point is to take a stand for what is right, and let the voters know you're not afraid to do so.

Why should anyone otherwise on the fence vote for a party that's scared of its own freakin' shadow? I can see the ads now:

"Vote Dem, we're craven cowards, but the GOP's even worse! But we're too scared of what people might say about us to even tell you why they're worse!"

Yeah, that'll get us back in the majority. Right after koalas become the dominant form of life on Earth.

Posted by: RT on March 16, 2006 at 9:31 AM | PERMALINK

Ayiyi!!!!! I guess we can all wait for volunteers from the Senate to step up to the challenge on this....... We're still waiting!

Posted by: bandit on March 16, 2006 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

Drum's position is disappointing. Not letting the administration's NSA actions go unchallenged is critical, and Feingold's resolution is one of the few remedies available to the Dems.

Posted by: truth4achange on March 16, 2006 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

You people are scary. A guy voices an opinion and you call him names like a bunch of kids...which I guess you are.

Welcome to the real world, where debate and strategy reign. I may not agree with Kevin's opinion at the moment, but who's to say he isn't right? Where will this Censure lead us? Will it simply energize the loony right and lose us some seats in the Fall? We don't really know.

Posted by: KW on March 16, 2006 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

I think it is useful to go on record being for freedom and democracy.

Stand for something noble.
Stand up for yourself.
Stand up for America.
Stand with Feingold.

Posted by: Nemesis on March 16, 2006 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

This is one reason we get accused of not having an agenda. When the conservatives came in, they made aggressive plays with relish. There's no reason the Dems couldn't all flock to support Feingold and try to have their censure. In the course of failing, they could point out that it is the corrupt Republican controlled Congress that won't let justice prevail. The Dems we have had in Congress for the last decade or two have been much more worried about their own personal ability to keep their jobs than in following their ideology. But why should we want these people in there representing us, if they won't bother to follow their ideology in a crunch? We might just as well have voted for Republicans.

So what's this about Feingold favoring impeaching Clinton? All I've been hearing about Feingold is how great and liberal he is. It's troubling to hear that he thought impeaching Clinton for the Lewinski scandal was reasonable. Does it mean he's a stiff-necked moralist or a political opportunist or what? I'd like more info, given that he's being talked about so much right now as a potential candidate.

Posted by: catherineD on March 16, 2006 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

ATTENTION APOLOGISTS: Wake Up!

The "other side" has no interest in honest, reasonable debate, nor in compromise. The sooner you realize that we must fight back, the sooner you will understand the real issue here.

It's amusing that the milquetoast brigade here, pooh poohing the pissed off commenters, crying that they are oh-so-uncivilized and MUST be pimply teenagers. They think that the current GOP is a honest and willing to compromise opponent.

WAKE UP. You cry about how the roots don't understand "real politics" or "electioneering". And my question to you milquetoast beltway consulant class types is this:

WHAT HAVE YOU WON LATELY?
Nada. Zilch. Zip. Zero.

The Dems will remain the "party of pussies"/"Weak"/"appeasers" (to put it in GOP terms) until they stand up together and get shrill if need be to call these GOP assholes to the carpet. STAND UP AND FIGHT.

Joe Sixpack does not vote based on wonkish policy details, he votes on gut perception developed by the media narrative. FIGHT.

Posted by: Alaskan_Pete on March 16, 2006 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

America is already deeply fucked because Democrats were spineless in 2000 and 2004.

Posted by: Hostile on March 16, 2006 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

Well spoken, KW. I posted upthread that I don't know where I stand on the censure. After reading all 216 posts I'm more convinced it wasn't a smart move. Yeah, yeah, I can hear ya'll now, "this is why Dems lose elections! We're afraid to stand up and get counted." No. Not afraid, but as any general would tell you - pick your battles. Pick your battles. And this criminal administration has given plenty of other reasons to stand up. Why did Feingold chose this one? Because it's illegal? And this administration hasn't done anything else illegal?

You know, there's fighting, where you go down with your head handed to you, and there's fighting smart where you land a couple of whacks that count, and manage to stay on your feet and have a solid chance at winning. Don't get me wrong. I admire Feingold for having the cojones to censure the incompetent idiot boy, but it won't make a bit of difference, and it has demoralized and divided the opposition even more.

Convince me I'm wrong.

Posted by: ExBrit on March 16, 2006 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

americanresearchgroup.com/

Do you favor or oppose the United States Senate passing a resolution censuring President George W. Bush for authorizing wiretaps of Americans within the United States without obtaining court orders?

3/15/06 Favor Oppose Undecided

All Adults 46% 44% 10%
Voters 48% 43% 9%

Republicans (33%) 29% 57% 14%
Democrats (37%) 70% 26% 4%
Independents (30%) 42% 47% 11%

Based on 1,100 completed telephone interviews among a random sample of adults nationwide March 13-15, 2006. The theoretical margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points, 95% of the

Posted by: Tennessean on March 16, 2006 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

Steve @ 11:30pm--"I intend to work to bench the Drums of the Democratic Party by driving them back to where they belong-the Republican Party."

Now there's a winning political strategy which I highly encourage. As those who think this way make up(for now)a small minority of the Left, I doubt it will accomplish even this short term goal, but, just in case, Kevin, you are welcome to join us anytime--even with some of your misguided ideas.

Posted by: The Republican Party on March 16, 2006 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

If We The People lose this fight for the Democratic Party and the DLC (with Bill Clinton and Al From pulling the strings from behind the curtain), it's you who will be joining the Democratic Party. You and all other 'moderate republicans' who consider yourselves 'fiscal conservatives and social liberals.' All of you who are republicans because you think the rich pay too much in taxes, but you aren't fundamentalist Christians and don't give a shit who gets an abortion or who can get married.

Moderate Republicans and 'centrist' (conservative) Democrats will be the ruling, controlling faction of the Democratic Party, AND in control of the nation if We The People (the greatest majority of American citizens) can't get rid of the DLC. If you think the U.S. is a fascist country now, you ain't seen nothing until you've seen uber-fascism.

Bill and Al and Joe and Terry and the architects of Bush 1's New World Order are all working to eliminate We The People from the democratic republic equation of the U.S. That's what's going on now, behind the scenes. It may be too late for liberals to prevent them from stealing the party. With We The People not having access to the media, or our elected representatives, or legitimate voting (and ballot counting) equipment, it's an uphill battle and we may be too late to take the country back. When the Institutions of America (what we called 'the Establishment' in the 1960s - the corporations, the media, the 'in-crowd') can still get away with describing the Clintons (and most of the Democrats in Congress) as 'liberals,' like I said, it may be too late.

The fact is, most Americans are liberals. Most Americans, whether they know it or not and without being told "that's liberal" believe in liberal positions. In order for the Establishment to prevail (because the Establishment doesn't support liberal positions), the proponents of the conservative Establishment had to, first, separate We The People from identifying with labels such as 'liberal' and then demonize the word itself.

When We The People are educated about the issues, they break with the conservative Establishment's positions most of the time. Conservatives can't prevail in that environment. They can't pollute the environment, they can't implement corporate windfall schemes, they can't impose their twisted morality and ethics, and they can't eliminate Constitutionally guaranteed rights. When We The People learn the facts. Therefore We The People must be neutralized as far as having any authority in government decision-making.

You see, We The People, we're too unpredictable for conservative-think. We're too evenhanded and fair-minded. We look thoroughly at problems, all aspects and contingencies, toward longterm solutions that benefit most of us, if not all.

We ask questions, and expect answers in this democratic republic. We're not satisfied with "Trust me," and other empty rhetoric that tells us nothing about what our government is doing to others in our name.

We're willing to sacrifice for good causes, so that our children and other people's children don't have to die. We know that alternative energy is possible and the only barrier to getting alternatives is that it will cut into the rich's profit margins.

We The People reject the conservatives' and Reagan's mantra of "It's every man for himself" and recognize that we are all in this together, sharing the world's resources among ourselves, our children, grandchildren and their children.

The world through Republicans' glasses (conservatives, neoconservatives and moderates) is a hostile, deadly place where very few face lives of freedom and plenty, and that includes Americans. It's grim, and it's not a world where there is room for any but 'true believers' as your neighbors next door.

The world through Liberals' glasses is a world of plenty, with challenges that human beings are equipped to meet and prevail over.

Yeah, democracy 'liberal-style' takes work, but what we accomplish, the country that we created, is the model for democracy envied around the world. The Republicans' model for democracy = Al Qaeda's recruitment tool.

I'm out of here, and suggest to any other liberals still visiting this site that you're what keeps Kevin Drum, Washington Monthly, Republicans and the conservative hold on this country alive. Stop patronizing this place and Drum will quickly be hired by those masters he really serves - the conservative movement.

The sooner that We The People get educated as to who is what (the Clintons aren't liberals, Harold Ford isn't a liberal, Ram Emanuel isn't a liberal, Barak Obama isn't a liberal, Dianne Feinstein isn't a liberal, Barbara Boxer and Russ Feingold are just barely liberals, and Kevin Drum is not a liberal), the faster We can understand the differences and figure out who We are and who we want making decisions for us in government In Our Name.

Posted by: Steve on March 16, 2006 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

This is just one more proof that the DC Dems overwhelmingly are out of touch with Democratic voters.

They do not believe that President Bush is wrong; that's why they can't get on board with Sen. Feingold. That's why any criticism of President Bush is so tepid as to be embarrassing.

They really believe that the only problem is incompetent management. On broad strategic issues, they are fully on board with the GOP.

It's time we faced up to it.

Posted by: zak822 on March 17, 2006 at 9:10 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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