FISA and Capitulation
We are against the torture of innocents, and that is enough to disqualify us from being serious about the fate of our nation. We believe illegal acts should be investigated and punished, and that makes us too naive to be proper guardians of discourse. We once thought even a president was required to follow the law; we have been disabused of that notion not only by the President, but by Congress as well.
Glenn Greenwald righteously sums up my wrath and disappointment with Obama:
Whatever the motives -- and I don't know (or much care) what they are -- Obama has embraced a bill that is not only redolent of many of the excesses of Bush's executive power theories and surveillance state expansions, but worse, has done so by embracing the underlying rationale of "Be-scared-and-give-up-your-rights."
Hilzoy's post was succinctly titled Bleccchh.
At Unfogged, Apostropher asked What do you call an opposition party that refuses to oppose?. Very good discussion ensued. My comment:
I'm starting to think it's actually Liberal vs Authoritarian vs gutless Authoritarian.
I think there are two intersecting problems:
1. the voters are statistically less authoritarian & sheeplike than Congress, as seen e.g. in the public's opposition to the war or telcom immunity, which are much stronger than anything Congress has been able to express.
A lot of this IMHO is economic: wealth leads to complacency leads to the Dark Side, and Congresspeeps are *much* wealthier and more economically secure than the people as a whole.
2. We need better stories. Republicans are using a Macho Sue template for leadership (and masculinity), which comes with a complete set of inspiring cultural icons and exciting movies. I think the gutless division of the Democratic Party is saying "mythic figures are unnecessary and tacky" -- but human beings don't work that way, so emotionally they're still in thrall to Macho Sue and will lick his boots reflexively.
The spine-enabled Democratic Congresspeeps (including my own, you wish you had one) *do* have cultural icons and role models -- Atticus Finch, for instance -- but not as many, and frankly they don't come with as many shiny accessories (whether Glocks or Manolos, a distinction without a difference) and explosions, which are apparently necessary if we're going to switch the allegiance of the gutless.