Amerikan Politics As Usual

Aka, the Democrats are dolts, too …

Dems, We’re Citizens, Not Consumers
By Robert Parry
Jan 6, 2007, 13:32

As the Democrats regain control of Congress for the first time in 12 years, the party leaders still don’t seem to understand the forces that sent them into the wilderness in 1994 or the reasons they were summoned back in 2006.

Typical of their cluelessness was a “100 Hours Survey” distributed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in mid-December. The survey asked Democratic contributors to rank nine priority issues in order of importance for the new Congress.

The issues included raising the minimum wage, financing stem-cell research, revising the Medicare prescription drug program and stiffening ethics rules. The only national security issue on the list was the implementation of all the remaining – but unspecified – recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.

No reference was made to ending the Iraq War, launching investigative hearings on President George W. Bush’s actions, reasserting checks and balances on the Executive, or restoring constitutional safeguards that have been overridden during the “war on terror,” such as the habeas corpus right to a fair trial.

Though many issues on the DCCC’s priority list surely have merit, what’s missing is any commitment to the larger purpose of the American Republic.

The Democratic leaders have yet to grasp that the transcendent principles of democracy were a major factor in the national rejection of Bush and the Republican congressional majority on Nov. 7.

Many traditional conservatives and libertarians, who normally vote Republican, switched their allegiances or stayed home out of disdain for the authoritarian tendencies of the Bush administration and the failure of the congressional Republicans to conduct any meaningful oversight.

These right-of-center voters shared the alarm of many liberals and independents over Bush’s assertion of “plenary” – or unlimited – powers for the duration of the interminable “war on terror”; his abrogation of constitutional rights; his “signing statements” that set aside laws; and his excessive secrecy that often left the American people in the dark.

These voters from across the political spectrum – what might be called the “constitutionalist bloc” – were offended, too, by neoconservative hubris that treated average citizens as children to be frightened with color-coded terror alerts and tricked them into surrendering their liberties.

And these voters were fed up with the lies and exaggerations that sent thousands of American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis to their deaths in the misbegotten Iraq War.

Read all of it here.

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