2008 Reasons to Elect a Progressive President
Vote Democrat 2008
Al Gore for President in 2008
Dennis Kucinich for President in 2008
Bill Moyers for President in 2008
Barack Obama for President in 2008
Reform the Democratic Party
- Every progressive knows how badly the Democratic Party is in need of reform. The institutions of the Democratic Party are in the grasp of people who
are trying to drag the Democrats toward the right, seeking to transform the Democratic Party into a place where Republicans can feel at home.
The sad thing is that these Democratic politicians, in organizations like the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign
Committee, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, believe that the best way for Democratic candidates to gain victory is for them to become
less like Democrats and more like Republicans. What they don't understand is that the reason American voters are disgusted with the Democratic Party is that too many Democratic politicians don't seem willing to stand for
anything any more. When the Democratic leadership offers little resistance to the Republicans' right wing agenda, voters become disillusioned with the
The 2008 presidential campaign is a great opportunity for the
American people to set the Democratic Party back on a course of clear progressive strength. If we can elect a progressive Democrat as President in 2008, that
progressive will become the de facto leader of the Democratic Party, and will set about replacing all the rightward leaning collaborationist officials in the
A progressive President will work to make change from the top down, but we'll be working from the bottom up to provide the power to make that
change possible. In 2008, we need a grassroots campaign for a progressive President with the organizational might of Howard Dean's Democracy for
America, but with a candidate with better progressive credentials than Dean. As we've seen with him as head of the Democratic National Committee,
Howard Dean was never really a progressive Democrat. Dean has set about promoting right wing candidates like Bob Casey for Senate in Pennsylvania, and promoting right wing causes like mixing religion and politics.
One of the best reasons to elect a progressive candidate for President in 2008 is that, through the mere effort to support a truly progressive candidate, we
the progressive activists of the Democratic Party will become a greater force to be reckoned with, and Democratic politicians will learn to think twice before
voting against progressive interests as they have so often in the past.
- The need to reform the Democratic Party to make it more progressive was amply demonstrated by the ability of General Wesley Clark to declare, "The campaign in Iraq illustrates the continuing progress of military technology and tactics, but if there is a single overriding lesson it must be this: American military power, especially when buttressed by Britain's, is virtually unchallengeable today. Take us on? Don't try! And that's not hubris, it's just plain fact," and then declare, not long after that he would run for President of the United States as a critic of George W. Bush's Iraq policies. (Source: Times of London, April 11, 2003)
- Tennessee Democrat Harold Ford Jr., former Congressman, failed Senate candidate, and current leader of the Democratic Leadership Conference, has not been a friend of progressives. He's flipped and he's flopped, casting votes on issues depending on what way the favored political winds were blowing from. He's said that he supports gay rights, but voted against them. Hehas refused to support anti-torture legislation that would make it illegal for the U.S. government to send prisoners held in the United States to foreign countries to be tortured. Ford also failed to support a bill that would revoke sections of the Patriot Act that allow government agents to secretly search through the financial and library records of law-abiding American citizens.
In spite of the fact that he is a Democrat, Congressman Harold Ford Jr. has often stood in allegiance with George W. Bush against other Democrats. He's provided support to President Bush's attacks on separation of church and state, freedom from cruel and unusual punishment, and protection from unreasonable search and seizure. Harold Ford Jr. has been a shameless self-promoter, trying to make a name for himself by criticizing Democrats for not being Republican enough. Harold Ford Jr. quickly became the Joseph Lieberman of the U.S. House of Representatives.
No one knows whether Harold Ford Jr. was at all involved in the corrupt activities of his uncle John Ford. So far, no evidence of a direct connection has emerged. However, it's a plain fact that both Harold Ford Jr. and John Ford were part of the same political machine. From a pragmatic standpoint, Harold Ford Jr. is tainted by the ethics scandal that has engulfed John Ford. Whether that connection ever grows grounds sufficient for prosecution, Harold Ford. Jr. is a great example of why the Democratic Party needs reform. (Source: Library of Congress)
It's not enough to vote for a Democrat. You've got to vote for a
progressive candidate or progressive politics won't be practiced.
Take the Congress as an example. House progressive Henry Waxman has
been the chairman of the House Government Oversight and Reform
Committee since the beginning of 2007, and using his position he has
held numerous hearings, taken numerous statements, issued numerous
public requests for information and dragged numerous Bush
administration scandals into the light of day.
Senator Joseph Lieberman, who calls himself a Democrat but is decidedly unprogressive
in his politics, has chaired the Senate Committee on Homeland
Security, the equivalent committee in the upper house, also since the
beginning of 2007. Lieberman has sat on his hands and refused to use
his committee chairman's power to drag the malfeasance of the Bush
administration into the clarifying light of day. The difference in
practice between Representative Waxman and Senator Lieberman is the
difference you get between voting for a progressive and just voting
for the politician with the big, shiny "D." (Source: Mother Jones December 24, 2007)
- In January, 2005, John Kerry and Barbara Boxer were the only two Democratic senators to vote against the approving the nomination of Condoleeza
Rice to become Secretary of State. Although Condoleeza Rice certainly has the intellect and ability to perform the technical aspects of the job, two days of
questioning before Rice's confirmation clearly illustrated that Rice's character is not suitable for high office. Rice had coddled torture by agents of the
American government had intentionally misled the American public on several occasions.
Some Democratic senators, like Joseph Biden, played the weasely game of pretending to be deeply concerned about Condoleeza Rice's negative record,
while at the same time pledging that they would certainly vote for her approval. Senators Kerry and Boxer didn't play that game. They showed the path for
reform of the Democratic Party. (Source: Salon, January 20, 2005)
- Democratic Senator Joseph Lieberman has been George W. Bush's pet Democrat in Congress for years, helping President Bush pass tax breaks for the
wealthy, supporting Bush's rush to start a war in Iraq, and running headlong with Bush Republicans into passing the extraordinary spying powers in the
Patriot Act. Lieberman has suggested that Democrats who criticize President Bush are unpatriotic, and are not loyal Americans. Joseph Lieberman
represents in one man everything that the Democratic Party should not be.
- In February of 2005, the American people witnessed another great Democratic rollover. The Senate almost unanimously voted to confirm Michael
Chertoff as Secretary of Homeland Security (two Senators didn't bother to vote).
In confirming Chertoff, the Senate Democrats looked over some truly horrid items in Chertoff's record. Chertoff orchestrated mass detentions of
muslims in the United States - detentions lasting for months without any criminal charge. The prisoners under Chertoff's control were not allowed to see
lawyers and were routinely beaten and humiliated before being released.
Chertoff took the expertise in torture and illegal imprisonment that he gained with these prisoners and became an inside consultant to the Bush
Administration's plans to detain and torture foreign muslims as well. Chertoff gave specific advice to the Bush Administration about how to torture
prisoners while creating a thin veneer of legal justification for the torture.
Not content to crush habeas corpus and inflict pain on prisoners, Michael Chertoff was also instrumental in creating the Patriot Act, which gives federal
government agents the right to gather information on Americans' private lives, including everything from our personal reading habits to the diseases of our
dogs to the most sensitive information about our medical histories. Chertoff now supports efforts to expand the powers given under the Patriot Act to give
the Bush Administration even more power to spy on law-abiding citizens. (Sources: Democracy Now, February 3, 2005; Chicago Sun-Times, February 11, 2005; Washington Post, February 8, 2005, Library of
Congress; New York Times, February 11, 2005)
Joseph Lieberman thinks that we should not elect a progressive to be President in 2008. That's one very good reason to say that electing a progressive
President is probably a very good idea.
- Without a progressive leadership of the Democratic Party, progressive politicians within the Democratic Party will continue to be forced to abandon
their progressive efforts and to support the right wing agenda. One particular example of the effects of this pressure was given by Democratic
Congressman John Conyers in November, 2006.
John Conyers is commonly thought of as a strongly progressive member of the House of Representatives. In late 2005, Conyers introduced H.Res 635, a
resolution that, if approved, would have begun investigations of George W. Bush's alleged crimes that would, in turn, have made formal recommendations
on grounds for impeachment. By the time that the Democrats had regained the majority in the House of Representatives, however, John Conyers had been
pressured by the House Democratic leadership to remove his support from the resolution. "I have agreed with Speaker-to-be Pelosi that impeachment is
off the table," Conyers wrote to his supporters, soon after the election.
If we elect a progressive president in 2008, this kind of pressure upon progressive Democrats in Congress will be countered with a new kind of pressure
from the top. What we need is a leader of the Democratic Party who will pressure Democrats to support the progressive values of Democratic voters, not
the right wing values of Republican voters. (Source: Email from Congressman John Conyers, November 15, 2006)
- One very important policy difference between the Democratic candidates for President of the United States was in December of 2006, as the House of
Representatives pulled S. 3711 from consideration after it became clear to Republican leaders that the bill did not have a sufficient number of
representatives to pass. That's a good thing, because S. 3711, also known by the War On Terror Era name of The Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of
2006, promoted a very foolish idea: Allowing more drilling for crude oil in the Gulf of Mexico.
One phrase ought to make it clear why oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico is a foolish idea: Hurricane Katrina. The Gulf of Mexico is right in the
middle of hurricane territory, making oil drilling there a very risky proposition. When Hurricane Katrina hit, for example, seven major oil spills took place, releasing more than 6.5 million gallons of crude
oil and sending all that oil washing onto the ecologically sensitive shores of the Gulf of Mexico. More than 400 other smaller oil spills also took place as a
result of Hurricane Katrina, releasing what has been estimated in total to be more oil than was spilled by the oil tanker Exxon Valdez in 1989.
The vulnerability of oil drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico was made apparent to all Americans, as 91.45 percent Gulf of Mexico oil production was shut down by the storm and took quite a long time to recover. As a result,
the price of gasoline shot up to record levels nationwide.
It's ironic that Senator Peter Domenici decided to call this an energy security bill, because if we allow more oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, we will
make ourselves less secure, not more secure. Our energy supply and our economy alike will become more vulnerable to hurricane damage. Our
environment will become less secure as well, subjected to more and more immense spills of crude oil along our Gulf shores. We know for certain that more
hurricanes will come to batter the Gulf of Mexico oil infrastructure. The only question is how soon the next big storm will come. These are not odds that
America should be gambling with.
Back in August of 2006, the United States Senate voted to approve S. 3711. In spite of the clear folly of increasing American dependence
upon vulnerable oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, Senator Hillary Clinton voted with the
Senate Republicans in favor of S. 3711.
The other Democratic Senators who are expected to run for President in 2008 did not vote for S. 3711.
Senator Evan Bayh voted against it.
Senator Joseph Biden voted against it.
Senator Barack Obama voted against it.
Senator John Kerry abstained from voting on the bill.
This vote is just one example of why it is important to examine the policy differences between the Democratic presidential candidates of 2008. Hillary
Clinton voted to make our economy, our energy infrastructure and our environment less secure. The other Democratic presidential candidates in the Senate
Progressives need to know the difference. (Sources: Associated Press, December 6, 2006; The Guardian, September 16, 2005; Energy Information
Administration Special Report, Hurricane Katrina's Impact on the U.S. Oil and Natural Gas Markets, August 31, 2005)
- The Democratic Party is never going to win over the racists, sexists and other breeds of bigots who make up a huge chunk of the Republican base of
support. It's time for progressives to stand up for what they believe in, with no soft-pedalling, and no apologies. This is no time for triangulation. Let the
Republicans grab for the votes of bigots. Democrats will more than make up for that if they offer a positive vision of a large-minded America.
- Among those national Democratic leaders who slid on over to the right side of Congress is Nancy Pelosi, now the Speaker of the House. Pelosi's slide
toward Republican-friendly positions first became clear in the race for chair of the Democratic National Committee after the 2004 election. Nancy Pelosi
endorsed a conservative Democrat, Tim Roemer.
How conservative was Tim Roemer? Roemer:
- built up a history of voting for the interests of big corporations at the expense of average working Americans.
- had consistently promoted an extreme pro-life agenda,
- collaborated with the Bush Administration's efforts to construct a powerful system to spy on American citizens in the name of Homeland Security
- voted twice in favor of amending the U.S. Constitution to ban protests that "desecrate" the American flag
- voted to withhold US payments to the United Nations
- voted for Star Wars "missile defense" technology proven not to work
- supported government funding of religious organizations
- voted to repeal the estate tax on wealthy Americans
- was a member of Joseph Lieberman's infamous Democratic Leadership Council
It's beyond bizarre that Nancy Pelosi, who gained her position in the House Democratic leadership through her steadfast adherence to liberal ideals,
should so quickly turn tail and run off with Roemer's pack in the extremist right wing of the Democratic Party. Of course, Roemer himself is not the whole
of the problem. One-time liberals like Nancy Pelosi are showing their weakness by changing their colors so abruptly, and the American people are paying
attention. (Source: CNN, December 14, 2004)
- The autumn of 2006 brought a clear sign of how much the Democratic Party is in need of progressive reform. 34 Democrats in the House of
Representatives and 11 Democratic
United States Senators supported George W. Bush and voted in favor of the Military Commissions Act (HR 6166 in the House and S 3930 in the Senate).
Some say that the Democratic Party should be a big tent, but when that big tent welcomes in politicians who are willing to help Republicans do away
with the foundations of American law and liberty,
such as habeas corpus, there is a serious problem. We need to ensure that we elect a progressive President in 2008 who will offer clear leadership in
guiding the Democratic Party away from its accomodation of the Military Commissions Act. (Source: The Library of Congress)
(Source: An Unreasonable Man, IFC Films, 2007)
- In March, 2005, a law that should have been called the Morally Bankrupt Act passed the U.S. Senate. The law made it more difficult for average people who run into hard times to keep even the most basic of assets when they run into already rich megacreditors who want just a bit more profit.
The last ditch in this legislative slog was the House of Representatives, where the credit industry's pocket politicians display even fewer scruples. The solid wall of Senate Republicans (and the pathetic pastiche of Senate Democrats) who voted for this bill, 74-25, say that the high-profit, high-interest-rate consumer credit industry needs to be protected against struggling people.
Consider that again: This bill was passed so that a very healthy industry could be protected against struggling people.
Do you remember when, in this country, people were the central objects of concern?
Silly me. That kind of concern is so 20th century. Everything's changed now. That's what they tell me at least. I see the same trees, the same streets, the same lamp posts. The same people. But the 56 Republican Senators (every single one) and 18 Democrats who voted this lemon through clearly see something different.
We expect Republican Senators to sell out people's interests to their corporate paymasters, but it is sickeningly disappointing to see 18 Democratic Senators, politicians whose re-elections so many people have supported, turn their backs on people and take the side of the inhuman, inhumane moneymaking entities.
Shame on Senators Baucus, Bayh, Biden, Bingaman, Byrd, Carper, Conrad, Inouye, Johnson, Kohl, Landrieu, Lincoln, Nelson (of Florida), Nelson (of Nebraska), Pryor, Reid, Salazar and Stabenow. They are betraying the best traditions of the Democratic Party. They are kicking unfortunate people when they are down.
I hope the flood of campaign cash sure to come their way balances out the dark ache of guilt they are sure to feel in their stomachs late at night, when they are all alone. No, come to think of it, I actually don't. (Source: Library of Congress)
- Why vote for a progressive candidate for president in 2008? Because if you don't vote for someone whose politics are based in their ideals, you instead
get a politician who bends with the wind, altering policy positions to suit the latest fashion. Then you get embarrassing statements like this regarding Iraq:
We are in a dire situation, using your adjective, in part because the Congress was supine under the Republican majority, failing to conduct
oversight and demanding accountability...
These were the words of the accusatory Senator Hillary Clinton in last week's hearing regarding the confirmation of Lt. General David Petraeus to head
up the military effort. Clinton intended this remark as an indictment of the Republican Party, but it applies just as well to herself. In the buildup to the Iraq
war, she pursued the path of political least resistance at the time, declaring herself in support of the war in Iraq and failing to exercise her considerable
power that even a minority Senator has to engage in oversight and demand accountability. She only came to critique the war in Iraq when a large manjority
of Americans had already arrived at a critical point of view themselves.
And even now that Senator Clinton has arrived at a somewhat critical stance regarding the war in Iraq, she continues to avoid the responsibility to
engage in oversight and to demand accountability. As David Broder points out in
his most recent column, Clinton failed to ask a single question of the man nominated to run the war to its conclusion. Not a single question. Instead, she
informed the General of her feelings about Iraq based on a recent trip of hers.
Oversight would have involved asking General Petraeus to articulate strategy, and then asking follow-up questions based on the candor and good sense
of his responses. Demanding accountability would have involved asking General Petraeus to make a set of commitments and to set standards by which his
success could be measured in the future. But that was not politically expedient -- so Senator Clinton made a speech instead.
Had Senator Clinton been "ideological" in her orientation -- a dirty word these days meaning that one bases one's actions on a set of coherent conceptual
claims and standards -- her conduct and her statements would at least have been consistent. But she's failed to either remain firm in her ideas or even to
identify why she might have changed her minds, leaving me to wonder which political winds will fill her sails next.
- In the election of 2004, progressives gave a tremendous amount to the Democratic Party. We gave huge amounts of money. We volunteered for days and days. We held campaign meetings in our homes. We voted, and we voted Democrat in spite of the reservations we had about the weak progressive records of some Democratic candidates, including a move away from some progressive principles by presidential candidate John Kerry.
We progressives gave so much, and tolerated so much, because we knew that the alternative would be worse. The Republicans now in power are following a theocratic, nationalist agenda that endangers the traditional freedoms that Americans have enjoyed for generations.
So it was a double burden to now see that many of the Democrats who could not have won their elections in 2004 without the national progressive effort to support them, have betrayed us, and moved to collaborate with the ruling Republicans' effort to destroy all progressive elements within American civic culture.
In March 2005, 14 Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives voted to create a bill that did not just allow, but went so far as to encourage, discrimination in hiring on the basis of religion. This bill committed huge amounts of federal money to the purpose of financing organizations who refuse to hire anybody who is unwilling to convert to membership in the church of their bosses. These 14 House Democrats were given the opportunity to vote on an amendment that would have removed the religious discrimination clause from the larger bill. However, they voted against Robert Scott's Religious Liberty Amendment. (Source: Library of Congress)
- In February, 2007, Senator Diane Feinstein introduced S.594, the Cluster Munitions Civilian Protection Act, to the United States Senate. The law forbids
the United States government from spending money to use, sell or transfer cluster bombs unless the following requirements are met:
- The cluster bombs are proven to have a 1 percent or lower rate of malfunction
- The cluster bombs will not be used against anything but a clearly defined military target, in an area where there are no civilians and in places where
civilians do not ordinarily live
- A plan is submitted, with the costs included, for cleaning up all the undetonated explosives that come from cluster bombs, whether they're used by the US
military, or by other countries to whom the United States has supplied the cluster bombs
There is a waiver in the law for the first requirement (for the malfunctioning rate of 1 percent or lower), in cases in which it is "vital" to use
cluster bombs in order to protect the security of the United States. However, even in such cases, the President is required to submit a report to Congress
which explains how civilians will be protected from the cluster bombs, and revealing the failure rate of the cluster bombs, as well as whether the cluster
bombs are equipped with self-destruct functions.
The Cluster Munitions Civilian Protection Act is not a perfect law. I'm not too fond of the waiver. However, the law would be a big improvement over
the status quo. Right now, there's nothing to stop the United States from using cluster bombs, as it did during the invasion of Iraq, or selling them for other
countries to use, as was done last year with the cluster bombs that Israel used against the civilian population of Lebanon.
The thing that makes cluster bombs so much worse than ordinary bombs is that they have a high failure rate, combined with a high number of small
bombs that are spread over large areas of land by the larger bombs in which they are originally obtained. Cluster bombs are designed to kill people, not to
damage buildings or roads. Like land mines, they continue to kill people long after the battle in which they were used. It is typical for a large number of
these smaller bombs to remain undetonated, waiting to explode, after their initial deployment. The Federation of American Scientists reports, "Studies that show 40 percent of the duds on the ground are hazardous and for each
encounter with an unexploded submunition there is a 13 percent probability of detonation. Thus, even though an unexploded submunition is run over,
kicked, stepped on, or otherwise disturbed, and did not detonate, it is not safe. Handling the unexploded submunition may eventually result in arming and
Cluster bombs kill civilians when they are used. Our government knows this, and yet our government continues to manufacture, use and sell cluster
bombs to foreign countries.
Senator Feinstein deserves our thanks for introducing the Cluster Munitions Civilian Protection Act to the floor of the Senate. Senators Edward
Kennedy, Patrick Leahy, Barbara Mikulski, and Bernard Sanders also deserve our thanks, for co-sponsoring the bill.
Where are the Presidential candidates on this issue? There are six United States senators who are running for President. Not a single one of them has
given support to the Cluster Munitions Civilian Protection Act.
Senators John McCain and Sam Brownback are Republicans. The other senators running for President are Democrats. They all have in common their
dangerous neglect of the threat posed by American cluster bombs. This is a moral issue on which many Democrats and Republicans have failed. Five good
Democrats have taken a stand against the uncontrolled development and spread of cluster bombs. Other Democrats in Congress have not.
That failure includes Democratic Congressman and presidential candidate Dennis
Kucinich. There is no bill at all on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives to control the use of cluster bombs. What has Representative Kucinich,
the supposed peace candidate, done about that? Absolutely nothing.
The failure of most Democrats in Congress to support the effort to stop the use of cluster bombs is yet another reminder that there is a big difference
between being a Democrat and being a progressive. In 2008, it's not enough to just elect a Democrat President. If we don't elect a progressive President, we
can expect many more years of disappointment. (Sources: The Library of Congress; Cluster Munition Coalition; Human Rights Watch; Federation of
- An important reason to vote progressive in the 2008 elections, and not along a partisan Democratic line, is that if you don't vote according to principle,
you'll get a pragmatic political result -- and political pragmatism is not pretty.
Take for example the case of Joe Lieberman, who popped into a meeting of a committee of which he is not a member to put in a special good word for
George W. Bush's nominee to be the next U.S. Ambassador to Belgium. That nominee, Sam Fox, funded the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth group in 2004 that
injected outright slander into the presidential race. Such a person with a history of ham-handed public venom really should not be engaged in any
diplomatic venues. But the ever-pragmatic Senator Lieberman vouched for Fox, "Sam Fox represents what America is all about, and that's why he will be,
when confirmed, an extraordinary ambassador."
Why would Joseph Lieberman say such a kind thing about someone who funds counterfactual, irrelevant dirty tactics in political campaigns? Boy,
you've got me...
Say, did I mention that Joe Lieberman recently received checks for a total of $21,000 from Sam Fox and his wife?
Yes, Joe Lieberman is a very pragmatic politican, which is exactly what you get when you forget to vote your principles. (Source: Hartford Courant, March 8 2007)
- We can't say we weren't warned. Everyone knew full well two years ago exactly what sort of decision Samuel Alito would deliver as a justice of the
Supreme Court. Here's what we at Irregular Times wrote two years ago about the Alito nomination:
Look, for everybody who is working extra-hard to imagine a scenario in which Bush-nominated anti-choice nominee Samuel Alito might not
vote to overturn Roe vs. Wade, read on.
It doesn't get any clearer than this:
"It has been an honor and source of personal satisfaction for me to serve in the office of the Solicitor General during President Reagan's administration
and to help advance legal positions in which I personally believe very strongly. I am particularly proud of my contributions in recent cases in
which the government has argued in the Supreme Court that racial and ethnic quotas should not be allowed and that the Constitution does not protect a
right to an abortion."
Period. End of story. If the United States Senate confirms Samuel Alito, he will vote to overturn Roe vs. Wade. Any Senator who votes to confirm Samuel
Alito votes against a woman's right to control her own body.
And now that this is Samuel Alito's presumed position, it is up to him, in public testimony, to affirm otherwise. Samuel Alito cannot say, as John Roberts
did, that he believes petitioners to the Court need to believe he has no pre-set position on Roe vs. Wade. Clearly, the man does have a position. That cat is
out of the bag. So any Senator on the Judiciary Committee who fails to use this and other material to grill Samuel Alito to the floor until he states his
current specific position regarding Roe vs. Wade is grossly incompetent.
Spread the word. Write a letter to the editor. Don't let this pass unmentioned. Samuel Alito's own explicitly stated position: he believes women do not
have the right to have an abortion.
Everyone knew Samuel Alito was dedicated to the overturn Roe v. Wade, and yet he was confirmed. After talking a big game about confronting Alito
on his abortion position, Senators gave him a pass and voted him through.
Samuel Alito was confirmed for two reasons. First, George W. Bush was re-elected president in 2004, and second, there were not enough progressives in
Congress to stop Alito's confirmation. Yes, there were enough Democrats. No, there were not enough progressives. And so Samuel Alito is sitting on the
Supreme Court as part of a majority which ruless that a woman has to go to court to prove her health is threatened before she can have what her doctor already believes is a medically
With Samuel Alito on the court, majority rulings that prioritize authoritarian prerogatives over individual liberty will continue. Liebermans in the
White House and Caseys in the Senate won't change a thing. And that's why it is essential for the elections of 2008 not to bring a Democratic victory to the
White House and to the Congress, but a progressive victory.
- Barack Obama and Hiillary Clinton want to expand the size of the military, they say.
They say that they would end the war in Iraq, if they were elected President. They say that the spending in Iraq is taking too much money out of
Yet, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton both say that they want to expand the amount of money spent on the military. I don't understand it. Why spend
more money on the military, after a war is stopped, than is being spent during war time?
There is no major enemy the United States has that the military is capable of fighting. If the American military cannot capture Osama Bin Laden by
invading and occupying the nation he's hiding in, then the American military is not going to be able to capture Osama Bin Laden by invading and occupying
What is this expanded military that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama seek for, then? The United States is not under any threat of a military invasion.
The American military has proven incapable of stopping terrorist attacks. So why do we need a larger military? Why do we need more soldiers?
Is it that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton want to increase military spending, and increase the number of soldiers, so that they can look presidential?
Do they still think that what the United States needs is another President eager to send the military around the world?
Maybe the reason that I don't understand why we need a big military is that I'm too far to the left, out of the mainstream that Barack Obama and Hillary
Clinton want to appeal to. If that's so, then that's so. I'm not about to support some crazy policy of politically-inspired militarism just because it's an
effective electoral technique. I'd rather be out of touch with the American mainstream than to jump on this big military bandwagon.
I am never more disappointed in the Democrats than when I see militaristic jingoism of the kind Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are promoting.
Their use of big military spending to strike a pose is just one more reminder of why, in the 2008 presidential election, it's not enough just to elect a
Democrat. We need a progressive President. (Source: The Hill, May 3, 2007)
- Early in May 2007, after talking to someone on the legislative staff of Senator Robert Byrd, I wrote an article patience with Senate Democrats as they go
through the difficult, complicated work of trying to end the war in Iraq. The issues in getting a bill to the floor of the Senate to vote on are complicated, I
In a certain sense, that was true. Deciding which legislation to end the war to vote on next is a complicated process. However, the outcome we need is
really not complicated at all. We need to get out of the mess in Iraq as soon as possible. Most Americans now clearly agree on that. The President of the
United States has gone war-mad, and won't listen to the majority, so, it ought to be the task of Congress to end the war.
Some in Congress are trying. There's Senator Russ Feingold, for instance,
who gained the support of Senator Harry Reid and other Democrats in the Senate to
introduce legislation (S.Amdt. 1098 to S.Amdt. 1097 to to H.R. 1495) that would have required the United States to begin a military pullout from Iraq four
months from now, and complete that pullout by March 31, 2008.
Then, on May 16, there was a roll call vote in the Senate on whether to approve Feingold's legislation to end the war in Iraq. It was not approved. The
reason: Many Senate Democrats were too afraid to vote for it.
Why? Why, when the Democrats have a majority in the Senate, and the majority of the American people want the Iraq War to end, are some Senate
Democrats still afraid to vote to end the war? Put plainly, it was political cowardice. They voted that way because they didn't want to look soft. These
Democratic politicians still think that the only way that they can look strong is to support George W. Bush in his vain quest to find some small scrap of
victory in Iraq.
It was 2002 all over again, with Senate Democrats so weak and agitated that they surrendered to the Republican pro-war nonsense without putting up a
These are the Democratic cowards in the Senate who voted in favor of keeping the Iraq War going on without restriction:
Max Baucus of Montana
Evan Bayh of Indiana
Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico
Tom Carper of Delaware
Robert Casey of Pennsylvania
Kent Conrad of North Dakota
Byron Dorgan of North Dakota
Mary Landrieu of Louisiana
Carl Levin of Michigan
Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas
Claire McCaskill of Missouri
Bill Nelson of Florida
Ben Nelson of Nebraska
Mark Pryor of Arkansas
Jack Reed of Rhode Island
John Rockefeller of West Virginia
Ken Salazar of Colorado
Jon Tester of Montana
James Webb of Virginia
When it comes time for you to vote for a presidential candidate in 2008, remember this shameful vote. Remember this painful evidence that many
Democratic politicians are not at all progressive. In fact, they're anti-progressive.
Don't just listen to what Democratic politicians say about themselves in their speeches. Pay attention to what they actually do. (Source: Library of
- It's just not safe these days to presume that a Democratic presidential candidate is progressive on the issues that matter.
Consider the poor, pandering performance of three Democratic presidential candidates on the issue of religion and politics. When asked by the
Associated Press to tell voters which church they attend and how often, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, and Christopher Dodd scrambled to
provide eager answers to prove that they're not just religious believers, but that they attend church regularly and dutifully. Bill Richardson, Dennis Kucinich
and Joseph Biden reported their churches too.
Hillary Clinton gushed about her "extended prayer family" who she describes as "faith warriors". Obama reported proudly that he attends
church "frequently". John Edwards reported that he's got one church already, and is shopping for a second one.
Only Rudolph Giuliani got the answer right. He refused to answer. "The mayor's personal relationship with God is private and between him and God,"
Giuliani's campaign wrote in response.
It's shameful to see Democrats posing to prove how religious they are, as if the issue has anything to do with their qualification for public service. Do
they really expect us to accept the idea that a candidate who is religious is more qualified to be President of the United States than a candidate who is not?
Maybe what they actually believe doesn't matter so much to their campaigns. If the majority of Americans are more likely to vote for a politician who
loudly proclaims Christian religion than a politician who refuses to do so, these Democrats are pragmatically happy to play along with that game.
True progressives don't support a religious test for public office. Unfortunately, it's not quite clear that the Democrats running for President in 2008 are
as fully progressive as they'd like us to believe. (Sources: Forbes, June 1, 2007; GetReligion.org, June 4, 2007)
- In 2006, the Democratic mantra was "change the committee chairs". Democratic activists gasped to each other, "Can you imagine what it will mean to
have a Democrat as chair on every committee?"
Now, in 2007, we can see that Democratic chairs of congressional committees sometimes doesn't mean very much at all. Take, for example, the
chairmanship of John Dingell over the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Representative Dingell is a Democrat, but he's a Democrat from
Michigan, and views it as part of his job to represent the interests of Michigan's car manufacturing companies.
The car manufacturing companies of Michigan are against efforts to strengthen the fuel mileage standards for cars, and so Representative Dingell is
eager to help the Republicans delay any congressional action on the matter. Six months into the new Democratic Congress, John Dingell's House Committee
on Energy and Commerce still had not taken any action on increasing the fuel efficiency of cars. What's more, Dingell announced that the committee would
not even begin to consider such matters until the autumn.
Thanks to John Dingell, we're seeing the same delay and denial of action on fuel efficiency that we saw when Republicans controlled all the
congressional committees. Dingell's dodge is a great reminder that, when it comes to promoting fuel efficiency and protecting the environment, it's not
enough just to vote for a Democrat and assume that everything will turn out all right. You have to be sure to vote for a genuine progressive. (Source: The
Guardian, June 22, 2007)
- On July 23, 2007, John Edwards was asked to explain his negative attitude about equal rights for same-sex couples to marry. Blunt and yet evasive, he
said, "My wife Elizabeth spoke out a few weeks ago, and she actually supports gay marriage. I do not."
What's missing from John Edwards's statement about opposing equal marriage rights is a justification. Edwards never really explained why he is against
giving same-sex couples the right to get married.
Edwards could claim that he is against same-sex marriage because he believes that marriage should exist only between a man and a woman. That's not an
explanation, though. It's just a restatement of his opposition to equal marriage rights for same-sex couples.
Edwards has, in the past, indicated that he's against equal marriage rights because he's a Southern Baptist. That's not much of an explanation either,
though, unless Edwards is the type of person who believes whatever his church tells him to believe. If that's the case, then there's much to fear from a John
Edwards presidency. After all, the Southern Baptists believe a lot of outrageous things. Does John Edwards, for instance, believe that it is a wife's duty to
submit to her husband, and obey him as her master? If John Edwards rejects that Southern Baptist teaching, then why won't he reject the Southern Baptist
opposition to same-sex marriage?
Democratic voters deserve a real explanation from John Edwards. If he wants to earn voters' support, he ought to be willing to justify his opinions, not
just state them without explanation. What about marriage between two people of the same sex does John Edwards think is wrong? Why?
It isn't enough for Edwards to merely claim that it's not a relevant issue because he would not use his power as President impose his religious views on
the American people. First of all, the moral reasoning John Edwards uses to justify denying equal marriage rights to all American adults is a relevant
reflection on his general character and psychological fitness to be President. Secondly, in spite of what Edwards claims about keeping his prejudiced
religious beliefs out of his work as President, he's made it quite clear that religion would be part of the basis for his opposition as President to legalizing
The issue of marriage equality opens up a view to a rather shadowy side of John Edwards. Behind the smile and the talk of uniting America, John
Edwards seems quite willing to accept the idea of two Americas with two standards of legal rights. (Source: CNN, July 23, 2007)
- During a Democratic debate this summer, Senator Joseph Biden gave what seems like the best reason NOT to support his campaign for President.
Responding to a comment by Bill Richardson that a combination of diplomacy and United Nations peacekeepers ought to be used to deal with the violence
in Darfur, Biden got testy, and said, "Look, I'm so tired of this. Let's get right to it. I heard the same arguments after I came back from meeting with
Milosevic: We can't act; we can't send troops there. Where we can, America must. Why Darfur? Because we can."
Joseph Biden is tired? He's tired of Americans saying where we shouldn't send the American military to fight? Does Senator Biden really think that the
problem with American foreign policy is that the government has been too restrained in its efforts to send the military to fight in foreign countries?
The war policy of Senator Joe Biden was expressed in just one sentence from this statement: "Where we can, America must". Senator Biden wants to fight
new wars "because we can." Wherever the United States can get away with it, that's where Biden wants the American military fighting a war.
With a foreign policy philosophy like that, it's no wonder that Joseph Biden voted in favor of George W. Bush's plan to invade and occupy Iraq. Biden is
no progressive, that's for sure.(Source: CNN, July 23, 2007)
- I'm disappointed in Hillary Clinton.
On July 23, 2007, when asked if he would commit to meeting with the leaders of Venezuela, Cuba, Syria, Iran and North Korea, Barack Obama said that
yes, indeed he would. Obama pointed out that American Presidents held summits with the leaders of the Soviet Union during the Cold War. He also
mentioned that the attempt to use the withholding of diplomatic contact as some form of punishment has not been effective.
Barack Obama is right, of course. It's been three decades since Iran and the United States had a diplomatic relationship, and the lack of diplomacy has not
resulted in the overthrow of the Iranian theocracy. On the contrary, lack of contact has made the regime more radical. George W. Bush's policy of not talking
to North Korea's leadership made the nuclear crisis in that country worse, not better.
In 2009, the new President will have the chance to overcome the foreign policy mistakes of the Bush presidency, and the best way to do that is to clearly
demonstrate that the days of American obstinacy are over. Showing a willingness to listen to, and talk to, the leaders of all nations.
Hillary Clinton, tied to the policies of her former President husband, did not react well. She seemed miffed at the idea of a new President being willing
to talk to world leaders to whom her husband would not. With a knee jerk reaction, Clinton defended the way that things have been done in Washington
D.C. for years. She called Barack Obama's proposal "irresponsible and frankly naive."
It's a sad day for the Democratic Party when the supposed front-runner for President of the United States refers to talk as "irresponsible". The only thing
to which face-to-face talks between the American President and leaders of other nations is irresponsible is the status quo. Frankly, the status quo is rotten. As
for naivete, well, naivete is much to be preferred to fatalism.
Hillary Clinton's snide remark at Barack Obama's vision of a new era of open diplomacy is the most stark reminder of the difference between these two
candidates. Hillary Clinton is a fixture of the past. Barack Obama has the courage to look to the future, toward progress.
When it comes to diplomacy, Barack Obama is the candidate who has the right to refer to himself as a progressive. Hillary Clinton, in comparison, seems
too backwards-thinking, afraid and proud to extend a hand of reconciliation.
For the sake of world community, Barack Obama looks like the better choice to me. (Source: Associated Press, July 24, 2007)
- Before Hillary Clinton gets so enthusiastic about calling Barack Obama naive just for suggesting that the President speak with the leaders of other
nations, she might stop to think about the kind of naive behavior she has engaged in herself.
Here's a clue for her. Two years ago, Hillary Clinton gave another speech in which she called some other people naive. Here's what she said back
then: "We've adopted a realistic foreign policy that is not based entirely on military might nor on the naive notion that we do not need the capacity to take
tough action when necessary."
Don't recognize the quote? That's all right. It's not one that Hillary Clinton is spending a lot of time reminding people of. This quote comes from July
25, 2005, when Clinton was speaking to the Democratic Leadership Council, an organization of rightward leaning Democrats that Clinton belongs to.
Can you guess what "realistic foreign policy" of the Democratic Leadership Council Hillary Clinton is talking about? Don't work too hard now, I'll tell
you. It's the foreign policy of supporting George W. Bush's decision to invade and occupy Iraq. The Democratic Leadership Council was, after all, one
hundred percent behind President Bush when he came up with the plan to start a war in Iraq. Every member of the DLC that was in Congress at the time,
Hillary Clinton included, voted in favor of Bush's plan to rush the American military into Iraq.
If ever there was a naive decision about foreign policy, it was the one that led Hillary Clinton to decide that George W. Bush seemed like the kind of
President who knew exactly what he was doing, and could be trusted with broad war powers. Yet, Hillary Clinton now has the gall to call Barack Obama,
who had the responsibility, foresight and maturity to oppose the invasion and occupation of Iraq from the start, naive?
I encourage Hillary Clinton to look back to this speech, and what she said. She called those who urged restraint in military spending "naive", because
there were times when "tough action" would be "necessary". Senator Clinton was just plain wrong when she suggested that using "tough action" in Iraq was
Hillary Clinton was wrong to call those of us who wrote, emailed and called her offices, begging her not to vote in favor of starting a war in Iraq, naive.
If she is going to ask for our votes, she ought to at least have the decency to apologize for that insult to antiwar activists. Instead, last night, she compounded
it with another slur against diplomacy.
The truth is, when it came down to the time to decide the appropriate time for diplomacy in Iraq, Hillary Clinton was dead wrong, and Barack Obama
was spot on correct. Hillary Clinton's forgetfulness of this fact may suit her conscience, but it does not reflect well upon her presidential campaign.
- On the evening of July 24, 2007, I was listening to the radio for a few moments while making myself a peanut butter sandwich in the kitchen when I
heard about the stupidest thing I have ever heard coming out of the mouth of Howard Dean.
Howard Dean, now the head of the Democratic Party, was criticizing the proposal by Dennis Kucinich to end the war in Iraq in a relatively quick way by
taking away funding for every aspect of the war except for the project of bringing American soldiers home safely. Howard Dean dismissed the idea by
saying that if the Democrats cut the funding and ended the war now, then that would be the end of the Democratic majority in Congress, and then the war in
Iraq would never be ended.
What gymnastic thinking! Howard Dean was essentially arguing that if we end the war now, then we'll never end the war.
Such a statement is obviously nonsense to us, but to someone like Howard Dean, it makes a kind of sense. You see, Howard Dean has for a long time
now believed that ending the war and establishing Democratic Party control over the government are the same thing. Of course they're not, really, but
Howard Dean has forged an automatic link between the two ideas. He started with the idea that the only way to end the war was elect a Democratic majority
to Congress, and from there, quickly fell into the habit of thinking that having a Democratic majority in Congress and ending the war were the very same
thing. The American people can see quite clearly now that Democratic control of Congress is in no way equivalent to ending the war in Iraq, but Howard
Dean is still hoping that we'll buy the argument.
Besides the obvious logical flaw in Howard Dean's argument, there's a severe chronological flaw. You see, Howard Dean was arguing against Kucinich's
plan to end the war quickly, in a matter of a few months. However, Howard Dean implied that ending the war quickly would interfere with his plan to re-
elect a Democratic majority over Congress in November 2008, which would then prevent the Iraq War from actually ended.
Get out your calendar and do the math now. The 2008 presidential election is still more than a year away. The inauguration of the President and the next
Congress does not happen until January 2009. So, if Dennis Kucinich's plan is to get the Iraq War done with quickly, in a matter of a few months from now,
then how could the loss of the Democratic majority in Congress at the beginning of 2009 possibly interfere with the end of the war?
Even if the withdrawal of the American military from Iraq took an entire year after funding for combat and training operations was pulled back, that
would mean that the end of the war would take place in July of 2008, with the Democratic majority in Congress still intact. It would be absolutely
impossible for a new Republican majority elected four months after that, and inaugurated two months later yet, to interfere with the plan. The theoretical
new Republican Congress of 2009 would have to declare a new war in January 2009 and then invade Iraq all over again.
It's all a matter of priorities. If the Democrats in Congress care more about ending the war in Iraq than they care about maintaining control over
Congress, then they can end the war. If they care more about maintaining control over Congress than ending the war in Iraq, however, then the Democrats
will argue about whether to end the war sooner or later, as they are now.
What Howard Dean isn't counting on is that the Democrats could well lose majority control of Congress by not ending the war in Iraq. Progressives
know that the best way to strengthen the Democratic Party is to show that its leaders have resolve, and are not merely playing around with the important
issues of the day in order to remain popular. That's why, in 2008, when we choose a Presidential candidate, it's not good enough just to choose the Democrat.
We need to choose a progressive candidate for President. (Source: Air America Radio, July 24, 2007)
- Democratic politicians who believe that their campaigns will benefit through the conspicuous pandering to the religious sensibilities of voters ought to
pay attention to the effect that religious campaigning is having upon the Republican presidential candidates. Supporters of Republican presidential
candidates Sam Brownback, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney are ripping each other apart with religion, fighting over who's a real Christian and who's not.
Even when one of them tries to stand back from the fray and take the high road, the effort ends with a brutal stab at the religious authenticity of other
Consider this recent opinion posted on the web site Evangelicals for Mitt: "It's one thing to, as I mentioned the other day, take into account a candidate's
religion. It's entirely another to simply say, as an evangelical pastor in Iowa just did while explaining an attack he made on Senator Brownback, 'Protestants
should vote for Protestants.' But if we evangelicals set the precedent in this election that that's the way we should do things–shooting ourselves in the foot–
we can look forward to more ugliness just like this. We can also look forward to more bad governance, because what church you go to has little or nothing
to do with what you believe politically and how you put it into action. And I say that as someone who, just like Rev. Rude, left the Roman Catholic church
before becoming a Christian."
So, to start with, evangelical Christians blasted Mitt Romney for being a Mormon, not enough of a real Christian.
Then, when some evangelical Christians formed the group Evangelicals for Mitt Romney, to try to counter the Republican religious bigotry of the anti-
Romney religious groups, they too were blasted for being faith-traitors, with the claim that Protestants should vote for Protestants, and all the other
Christian Republican candidates be damned.
The damage against Evangelicals for Mitt in that attack was incidental, however, because the attack was in fact aimed at Sam Brownback. Reverend Tim
Rude (Yes, that's his real name) of the Walnut Creek Community Church in Windsor Heights, Iowa made the attack in a letter he wrote campaigning in the
name of his church for Mike Huckabee. Rude wrote, "Senator Brownback converted to Roman Catholicism in 2002. Frankly, as a recovering Catholic myself,
that is all I need to know about his discernment when compared to the Governor's."
As Evangelicals for Mitt fired back at the Walnut Creek evangelicals, they managed to insult Catholic Republicans again with the writer commenting
that he, "left the Roman Catholic church before becoming a Christian." So, the very Republicans who are trying to defend Mitt Romney against the charge
that he isn't a real Christian because he's a Mormon are more than happy to attack Sam Brownback on similar grounds, claiming that he isn't a real Christian
because he's Catholic.
This kind of nonsense is the inevitable result of Republicans pandering to religious groups in the hopes that their churches will join their campaigns. If
the Democratic candidates are smart, they'll stop trying to imitate the Republicans in making religion a campaign issue. Differences in religion are so
divisive that they prevent people who should be political allies from joining together in common cause. There's no sense to these debates either. No one can
win an argument over who is the most true believer.
While right wing Democrats have been pushing the idea of using religion as a motivational tool in presidential campaigns, progressives have argued
against such tactics. That's good reason to pick a progressive presidential candidate who has attempted to keep religious division out of the 2008 campaign.
(Sources: EvangelicalsForMitt, August 1, 2007; The Atlantic, July 31, 2007)
- "We did everything he wants." — spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, August 3 2007
Pelosi's spokesman was referring to Congressional Democratic leadership's decision to support George W. Bush's pet legislation that, in violation of the
U.S. Constitution's 4th Amendment, authorizes wiretaps of phone calls without a warrant.
Do you care about the American tradition of civil liberties? Are you opposed to Big Brother Government? Do you believe that our politicians in
Washington, DC should fulfill their oaths to support and defend the U.S. Constitution?
If your answer to these questions is "Yes," the Republicans have shown over and over again that they are not on your side. But in their roll-over on the
4th Amendment, the Congressional Democratic leadership has demonstrated that it cannot be trusted either. In the next national election of 2008, we need to
send people to Washington, DC who know how to stand up for the Constitution. We need to identify and put people in office who have the capacity to just
say NO. (Source: Washington Post August 4 2007)
- The Protect America Act is a new law authorizing electronic surveillance dragnets deployed by the government against the American people. The law
replaces judicial warrants with executive prerogative and substitutes blank checks for congressional oversight, and is clearly unconstitutional even by the
most generous reading of the Fourth Amendment in the Bill of Rights.
Yet, Democratic senator Claire McCaskill voted along with the Republicans in favor of the Protect America Act. Here is her lame excuse: "I'm not
thrilled. There are some changes we need to make to make sure that American citizens are protected. But it's a lot better than a lot of things that have been
forced down this Congress' throat right before recesses that trampled on Americans' liberties."
What kind of standard for passing a law is this? If Senator McCaskill was not thrilled with the legislation, why did she vote for it? If without changes to
the bill American citizens are not protected, why didn't Senator McCaskill make those changes? If she couldn't make the changes, why did she vote for such a
deeply flawed bill?
In Claire McCaskill's characterization of her own mind, she sees a bill is being forced through the Senate that she feels she is powerless to stop, so she
just wafts along with the gang. She might as well vote yes, with the consolation that it "trampled on Americans' liberties" less than some other bills in the
Outside Claire McCaskill's mind, we're aware that she is a United States Senator. United States Senators are not powerless. United States Senators can
choose to vote NO on bills they do not like. United States Senators can place holds on bills. United States Senators can offer amendments. United States
Senators can filibuster.
Another piece of the United States Constitution was trampled yesterday, and a U.S. Senator votes for the bill that does it because she says she
was "forced" to, as if a gun were held to her head, as if she had no brain in her head, as if she were utterly incapable of making a choice or exercising
Claire McCaskill is either devoid of the will to exercise her power to defend the Constitution — or she is using a mask of blank will to cover active anti-
In the former case, she's a waste of space. In the latter case, she is an opponent of civil liberty. In either case, she needs to be replaced, along with other
nominal Democrats who can't or won't handle the responsibilities of representative democracy.
- Just before she cast her vote on the Protect America Act, a bill which replaces the authority of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution with unchecked
spy powers of the Attorney General and Director of National of National Intelligence, Democratic Party Senator Dianne Feinstein had this to say about
it: "I spent all afternoon on the McConnell bill and am just beginning to understand the subtleties in it and the others laws that come into play."
That's right: Senator Dianne Feinstein came out and said squarely that she was "just beginning to understand" the language of the Protect America Act.
And yet, despite avowedly not understanding the Protect America Act, she declared in the very next sentence her intention to vote YES for the bill's passage.
Not long afterwards, that's exactly what she did.
Voting for a constitution-gutting bill without understanding it first? That's the kind of careless behavior you should expect from a junior state senator,
or some kind of emergency replacement, or some other inexperienced politician. But Dianne Feinstein has been in politics since I was in diapers, and I'm no
spring chicken. She should have known better.
There's no excuse for Dianne Feinstein's behavior. It's not like the Senator couldn't have delayed the vote. For all practical purposes, it takes 60 votes in
the Senate to pass a bill, because it takes 60 votes to end debate on a bill. The bill passed on exactly 60 votes. If Senator Feinstein, who admitted she didn't
understand the bill she was voting on, had really cared about what she was doing, she could have single-handedly stopped the vote and let debate on the bill
continue, giving herself and her colleagues enough time to read the bill again and figure it out.
But no, Senator Feinstein wasn't interested in understanding the bill. She didn't care enough to wait and read the bill one more time. She didn't bother.
She just went ahead and voted YES, admitting that she did not know what the full ramifications of voting YES were.
This vote wasn't about a tiny matter — it had to do with gutting of the 4th Amendment to the Constitution, which protects us from unwarranted seizure
and surveillance. The 4th Amendment stands between liberty and tyranny. If on this big issue Senator Feinstein can't be bothered to take the time to know
what she's doing, why should the people of California ever vote for her again?
- The following are the names of the 16 Senate Democrats who voted YES to pass the Protect America Act, the bill to legally enable unconstitutional
searches without probable cause or warrants:
Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana
Senator Thomas Carper of Delaware
Senator Robert Casey of Pennsylvania
Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota
Senator Dianne Feinstein of California
Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii
Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota
Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana
Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas
Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri
Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland
Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska
Senator Bill Nelson of Florida
Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas
Senator Ken Salazar of Colorado
Senator James Webb of Virginia
The large majority of these YES-voting Democratic Senators are routinely unprogressive in their legislative records behavior, indicating that this one
vote is no aberration. Democratic partisans promised us that if we just voted for conservative Democrats, we'd get a progressive restoration of
constitutional government. This past The capitulation of these senators on the Protect America Act shows us, yet again, that if you want progressive
government, you have to vote for progressives, not just any politician who happens to be running for office under the name of Democrat.
- I was surprised when I saw the roll call vote in the House for S.686, the 2005 bill that demolished equality under the law establishing a separate law that applied to just two people, stating that "Any parent of Theresa Marie Schiavo shall have standing to bring a suit under this Act" (all two of them) but that "Nothing in this Act shall be construed to confer additional jurisdiction on any court to consider any claim" (the rest of us).
I had been laboring under the misapprehension that this bill passed the House of Representatives because a majority voted for it, but I was wrong.