Letter to the Editor

Re: Harvard Square Observer: The Cowardice of the Democrats (3/20/06)

So….Russ Feingold stood up on the Senate floor the other day and proclaimed that not only does the Emperor have no clothes, but that he ought to be handed a ticket for public nudity.  He called for censure of the President for his “…unlawful authorization of wiretaps of Americans within the United States without obtaining court orders required.”

Fear and panic gripped his Democratic colleagues who could be observed diving behind every shrub, rock and woodpile they could find.  Not a single senator came to Feingold’s side.  All scrambled away when Majority Leader Frist tried to call an immediate vote on the resolution and pin them down.

Even the bravest opponents of wire tapping shuffled their feet and mumbled excuses.  Our own Senator Durbin demurred that he understood Feingold’s motivation, but he thought he intended the censure resolution just to be “a catalyst” for detailed hearings and investigations.  Robert Byrd--who stood alone like a lion against the war, who has recently been centering his re-election campaign around his denunciation of domestic spying, and who is revered as the guardian of Senate prerogatives—even he was silent.

After all hadn’t Senator Frist gone on the Sunday Morning Temples of Talking Heads and clucked his tongue with disapproval and disdain?  Hadn’t the Vice President, grubbing for campaign bucks in the Chicago suburbs thundered, “Some Democrats in Congress have decided the president is the enemy…This outrageous proposition that we ought to protect our enemy’s ability to communicate as it plots against America poses a key test of our Democratic leaders…The American people already made their decision.  They agree with the president.”

No, Mr. Cheney.  The American people do not agree with the president.  His polling numbers are collapsing upon themselves and now dwell in the territory usually reserved for the fringe lunatics of politics.  The American people are sick of the president, sick of his lies, sick of the war, cronyism, corruption, and sick of his aspirations to despotic rule.  The American people would like to slap the president silly.

Only Russ Feingold is speaking for them now.

The anointed Pundocracy is united in saying that Feingold is only positioning himself for a presidential bid of his own and in congratulating the rest of the Democrats for “laying low and not taking the bait.”  These professional cynics automatically discount the possibility that Feingold might be operating from principle and genuine concern for continued democracy in America.

Alright, assume that is the case.  Feingold is speaking now the fondest dreams of the most committed voters in the Democratic Primaries.  The early action is in Iowa and New Hampshire where progressives are strong and well organized.  On the basis of this action alone he could blow the timid out of the  water and emerge as the early front runner for the nomination—the worst nightmare of the DNC and the “New Democrats.”  The waffling Hillary, the colorless Biden, the whole rest of the lack-luster pack could be left standing in the dust.

If I was one of those ambitious Senate Democrats, I might reconsider my position.  I might plant my flag by Russ Feingold’s and stand boldly against the Dark Side.  I suspect there are more votes in that than looking timid and spineless.

Anyway, all of the above was a prelude to my message for my senators, Durbin and Obama.  It went like this:

“The plain facts as outlined by Senator Feingold are irrefutable.  The President of the United States has broken the law.  Openly. Repeatedly. Remorselessly.  There is ample evidence for actual impeachment in the House of Representatives and conviction in the Senate.  If the political reality that a craven Republican majority in each house acts  as actual accomplices to the President’s assaults on the rights of the American people precludes that as an actual possibility at this time, the least the Congress can do is censure the audacious attack on Constitutional Government.

“This is not a time for caution or even political calculation.  It is a time to step up and act before our very power to act is stripped away with the rest of our rights.”

From the blog "Heretic, Rebel, a Thing to Flout" <http://patrickmurfin.livejournal.com> by Patrick Murfin

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