Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 20, 2009

MAYBE DURBIN READS POLITICAL ANIMAL.... Yesterday, I argued that if congressional Democrats were smart, they'd turn the Guantanamo Bay issue around and go on the offensive. They might even try to look at this the way Republicans would.

If the situations were reversed, and Dems resisted a Bush plan to bring Gitmo detainees onto U.S. soil, I suggested this would be the talking point: "If Democrats have proof that the nation's prisons are incapable of housing 241 suspected bad guys, or have evidence that these guards who protect us from the bad guys are untrustworthy, they should offer it. Otherwise, they should apologize to the wardens, guards, and security teams, who do important work day in and day out, and who've just been insulted."

A few hours later, Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) was on the Senate floor, responding to Sen. Robert Bennett's (R-Utah) argument that U.S. prison guards would "have no idea what they're getting into" if Guantanamo detainees were held in U.S. prisons. Durbin responded:

"Some of my Republican colleagues argue that Guantanamo is the only appropriate place to hold the detainees and they said, and I quote, 'We don't have a facility that could handle this in the United States,' end of quote. And American prison guards, they went on to say, quote, 'have no idea what they're getting into,' close quote.

"Well, I would just say to my colleagues who made those statements, you ought to take a look at some of our security facilities in the United States, and you ought to have a little more respect for the men and women who are corrections officers and put their lives on the line every single day to keep us safe and to make sure that those who are dangerous are detained and incarcerated. The reality is that we're holding some of the most dangerous terrorists in the world right now in our federal prisons, including the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the shoe bomber, the Unibomber, and many others." [emphasis added]

See? Was that so hard?

Steve Benen 12:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (45)

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Comments

Why yes, as a matter of fact it's like pulling teeth to get the spineless -- stereotypically so -- demos to "speak truth to teh stupid burning power" ...

as we usta say back when we were dfhs and throwin' these swine up agst the proverbial walls...

Posted by: neill on May 20, 2009 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with the general statement, but if a guy as incompetent as the shoe bomber is really one of the most dangerous terrorists in the world, then terrorism is less of a worldwide problem than I had imagined.

Posted by: Seth Gordon on May 20, 2009 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

First Durban on this issue, and now Harkin on the labor issue. Maybe some in the Senate are growing spines. To bad they lack a leader.

Posted by: Ron Byers on May 20, 2009 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

I told you Steve! I wish I could say I had forwarded the talking points to him, but maybe an Illinois citizen took my suggestion in yesterday's comments. Good work. Maybe you could start a new type of daily feature called "Suggested Talking Points for Democrats" or something like that. (A better name would probably help)

Posted by: dannyshenanigan on May 20, 2009 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

Better late than never, I suppose.

But saying this on the Senate floor doesn't cut it. Spreading out sentient people across the teevee universe who are capable of repeating this truly simple message again and again, and mocking the fools who are put up for the opposition, is what is necessary. And has been necessary over the past week.

Posted by: wvng on May 20, 2009 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

sure, shoe bomber, miami sears-tower terraists who ordered uniforms and one had been to chicago once, guy who wanted to take down the brooklyn bridge with blowtorches, gangbanger-tortured-to-insanity non-dirty-bomber jose padilla. good thing they're locked up or they'd be wandering the streets or ranting at vending machines or something.

Posted by: benjoya on May 20, 2009 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

It would be a great idea for all dumbocrap senators to follow the lead of what Rachel Maddow expressed last night.

She stated that WashingtonMonthly.Com is a site she reads EVERY DAY.

Always knew there was more that I liked about her than just her intelligence, preparation, and ability to interview rethug assholes with kindness and a smile.

Posted by: SadOldVet on May 20, 2009 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

Except for Durbin, it seems the Senate dems are idiots, lead by Harry Reid.

Posted by: Jill on May 20, 2009 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

oh, and good on durbin. he does the right thing occasionally.

Posted by: benjoya on May 20, 2009 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

I doubt Durbin is the "minority whip," Steve. But since he has a spine, maybe he should become the majority leader.

Posted by: Jon on May 20, 2009 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

let me be fair: durbin usually does the right thing

Posted by: benjoya on May 20, 2009 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

It's a great plan. Unfortunately, the Dems have "leaders" like Harry "Dumbf**f" Reid out there peddling the Republican talking points for them, so there's no chance of Dems benefitting from yet another perfidious Republican attack.

Posted by: digitusmedius on May 20, 2009 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

To his credit Huckleberry Graham has actually made the point that it is profoundly stupid that we supposedly can't house the Gitmo detainees on American soil, according to this AP story: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gj2oO72tz7sEIr76Tr_UrJNTtGSgD98A24JG0

Posted by: DBaker on May 20, 2009 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

"Which one of you nuts has got any guts?"
-Jack Nicholson as Randall P. McMurphy

I routinely wish I could ask the Senate Democratic caucus this question.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on May 20, 2009 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

What amazes me is that there is no mention of exporting prisoners/enemies (if they even are, but that's another matter) to other countries. Why would we do that? Is there an agreement that in return we take on their prisoners/enemies? It seems rude, uncourageous, unethical, unnecessary and expensive.

Posted by: beans on May 20, 2009 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

The greatest risk for citizens in prison communities is not from the confined terrorists. The risk will come from elements wanting to repatriate the terrorists. A much easier task once they are relocated to the US.

Posted by: m on May 20, 2009 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

MAYBE DURBIN READS POLITICAL ANIMAL...
He could do worse.

Posted by: rege on May 20, 2009 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

There's a reason why Republicans keep coming back to Gingerich and to Luntz--its because these guys recognize that the public political struggle is rhetorical, not real. If the dems had the sense god gave a nematode they would grasp this and hire their own messagesmith who would explain to them, very slowly, that you must have a clear and agressive message, and deliver it with a knock out punch, every time. The shorter and snappier the better. Good policy can only follow after you've cleared the deadwood and the republican refuse from the path. So, that is by way of saying yes, a very serious blogging "talking points memo" that offered hard nosed advice to dems on language and the struggle would be very welcome, if we could only get those idiots to climb down off their high horses and read it.

aimai

Posted by: aimai on May 20, 2009 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

Another suggested talking point for dumbocraps and progressives.

"Everyone who promotes or provides justifications for the United States to torture is Anti-American and Anti-Military."

1) There have been zero (0) justifications for torture provided that could not be used by other groups or countries as justifications for torturing Americans (civilian or military).

2) Providing justifications for Al Qaeda or Iran or Libya or any other group or country to torture Americans is unpatriotic, anti-american, and anti-military.

3) Why do these people want to provide justifications for torturing Americans?

Posted by: AngryOldVet on May 20, 2009 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

I'm telling ya Steve, you are absolutely dead on with this. But not only do the Dems need to be saying such on the Floor, they need to go on the airwaves with it too. Harry Reid is dead to me.

Posted by: Chris on May 20, 2009 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

I meant to say there is no mention regarding the ethics of exporting our prisoners/enemies...

Posted by: beans on May 20, 2009 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

good on you steve. like rachel, i read your column first thing every day and check back often throughout the day for new items. i am happy to think some of our leaders do too. the demos need to understand that we won and we, the public, gave our permission to correct the excesses of the last administration. gitmo is one of the more egregious, hateful signs of the past. let's get it closed and get back on the right side of history, which is the left.

Posted by: pluckypurcel on May 20, 2009 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

I think he just reads Maureen Dowd.

Posted by: wilburuva on May 20, 2009 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

Shame it didn't work; Senate voted 90-6 against $$ for Guantanamo shutdown.

Posted by: Jeff on May 20, 2009 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK
"Well, I would just say to my colleagues who made those statements, you ought to take a look at some of our security facilities in the United States, preferably from the inside

he should have said.

Posted by: Snarki, child of Loki on May 20, 2009 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

Better watch out Steve, this just proves the right, is right and bloggers are secretly running the party. It was suppose to be a secret.

Posted by: ScottW on May 20, 2009 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

Can we get Dick Durbin to replace Harry Reid as Senate Majority Leader? Pleeeeze?

Posted by: PS on May 20, 2009 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

Mueller says the Terrorists could radicalize prisoners. Detainees that have been incarcerated for years who grew up in 3rd world countries who may not speak english may radicalize our prison population consisting of murderers,rapists, gang members, and every other offender with tattoes from head to toe ( featured on prison shows nightly). Yes its possible that they'd want to join al queada as soon as they are released, or start their own leavenworth chapter( ah cell within a cell). It could happen.

Posted by: red on May 20, 2009 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

Meanwhile, MSNBC has a show called "LOCKUP" which visits various penitentiaries around the country. Maybe it would be good for some in Congress to checkout this program. They even have marathons from time to time. LOCKUP episodes running all day.

Considering some of the inmates in these prisons, the controversy over Gitmo detainees is just stupid. Let's hope Durbins wise words take hold with the rest of the Democrats. I won't hold my breath.

Apparently, there is a town in Montana that has requested Gitmo detainees because it will create jobs. What a novel concept.

http://thinkprogress.org/2009/05/18/hardin-montana-guantanamo/

Posted by: Ladyhawke on May 20, 2009 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

Should we be fortunate enough to defeat Harry Reid, Dick Durbin would most likely become majority leader.

We can make this happen.

Posted by: doubtful on May 20, 2009 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

sure, shoe bomber, miami sears-tower terraists who ordered uniforms and one had been to chicago once, guy who wanted to take down the brooklyn bridge with blowtorches, gangbanger-tortured-to-insanity non-dirty-bomber jose padilla. good thing they're locked up or they'd be wandering the streets or ranting at vending machines or something.

Don't forget about the guys that thought they could blow up JFK by setting an oil pipeline in New Jersey on fire.

Thank God we had George W. Bush protecting us from these people since... well, 9/12/01.

Posted by: Joshua on May 20, 2009 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

Where was the attribution? Durbin may talk like a man but he cribs just like Ma Dowd.

Posted by: exlibra on May 20, 2009 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

Durbin, what a sleaze. How about something manipulative and political out of your mouth as usual, Dick?

Posted by: Luther on May 20, 2009 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Can we get Dick Durbin to replace Harry Reid as Senate Majority Leader? Pleeeeze?

Seconded. At this rate, I'm going to be donating to Reid's primary challenger and maybe even his Republican opponent in the general. He's doing more harm than good in the leadership.

Posted by: TR on May 20, 2009 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Well, if you're hoping he'll keep reading you, Steve, don't keep referring to him as "minority whip."

Durbin has disappointed me a few times with his statements and votes, but overall he's been a reliable senator. He's become much more assertive in defending Democratic policies and actions over the last year, and he'd make a far better majority leader than Reid.

Posted by: shortstop on May 20, 2009 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

"Mueller says the Terrorists could radicalize prisoners"
Please, say what you will about our prison population ,but I believe you would find a vast majority of them are real 'merikuns, who would take great pleasure in making life miserable for them there terrists

Posted by: John R on May 20, 2009 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

I thought it sounded stupid when Mr. Benen suggested it, and it still sounds stupid now that dumbass Dem politicians are mouthing it.

And of course the Repubs use these tactics, all the time. They're demagoguing assholes trying to appeal to even more moronic assholes.

Does it work? Probably, yeah. Partly because people are stupid, but also because the *media*, including Mr. Benen and Ms. Maddow frankly, are so busy pointing out who has scored points in the game, and they forget they are also effectively referees in the game. (An ignorant voting public does not form its opinions/preferences in isolation, with the media reporting the changes - they shape them).

But should you use it (demagoguery) if it works? Who knows. But you gotta admit if you were having a discussion with a friend, and she whipped out something like, "you should apologize to the brave young men and women who keep our children safe," you'd freaking laugh your head off. That is some high-quality DUMB-ASS shit. But yet we cheer when our politicians use such arguments?

Well, "I think you should apologize to the proud US voters for patronizing them, and insulting their legendary intelligence."

Carry on, you little Axelrods and Atwaters.

Posted by: flubber on May 20, 2009 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

Mueller is afraid that terrorists could radicalize prisoners?

Ever google "Prison gangs"?

Does the name "Aryan Brotherhood" sound familiar?

We already have "radicalized prisoners".

Posted by: 2Manchu on May 20, 2009 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

... but if a guy as incompetent as the shoe bomber is really one of the most dangerous terrorists in the world ...

According to Republicans, though?

The point here is that none of these guys are too dangerous for the American legal system AND correctional institutions to handle - including some goofballs that we're already handling, which Republicans have rarely missed an opportunity to piss their pants about in the past.

According to Republican standards, the people we're already incarcerating are "terrists" representing an existential threat to western civilization. Well, as long as it was convenient, anyway.

Posted by: DH Walker on May 20, 2009 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Carry on, you little Axelrods and Atwaters.

"Shape Of Earth: Views Differ"

Are you really such an obtuse tool that you think Lee Atwater and David Axelrod are in any way comparable?

And are you entirely missing the point here that Durbin is sarcastically demonstrating the vacuity of Republican-style "arguments" by using them on them?

Posted by: DH Walker on May 20, 2009 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

What's the difference between Reid and a Republican?

Perhaps Washington is afraid that the Gitmo detainees will have an opportunity to tell people that they were tortured while inprisoned in Cuba on a US base.

Posted by: anonymous on May 20, 2009 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

Where was the attribution? Durbin may talk like a man but he cribs just like Ma Dowd.
Posted by: exlibra

Why the need for attribution? Steve said Republicans should apologize to corrections officers; Durbin said Republicans should have more respect for corrections officers. Does Steve seriously believe Durbin stole his talking point, and that Durbin isn't capable of independent thought? They express a similar idea, but their statements don't read remotely the same.

Get a grip, Steve.

Posted by: Screamin' Demon on May 20, 2009 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

Mueller is afraid that terrorists could radicalize prisoners?

Ever google "Prison gangs"?

Does the name "Aryan Brotherhood" sound familiar?

If you're not terrified by the prospect of an Islamic Aryan Brotherhood, you're just not paying attention!

Posted by: shortstop on May 20, 2009 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

Get a grip, Steve. -- Screamin' Demon, @14:26

Borrow a joke decoder, SD

Posted by: exlibra on May 20, 2009 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

At least Durbin had the integrity to vote in line with his pre-vote comments - unlike that scumsucking Dianne Feinstein. Glad I am as a California voter I was only ever stupid enough to vote for the Republican @#$%$$##@@!! once - back in 1969 when we didn't know what she was.

53 other Dim-ocraps voted with Feinstein.

Posted by: TCinLA on May 21, 2009 at 1:55 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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