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There are a lot of earlier diaries damning Dick Durbin for his apology.  However,I think we, as a community, fell down on this.

 I have checked this site and others; while there were a number of posts condemning the Republicans for their assault, I don't remember anyone posting a diary to say let's organize to tell the Senate Minority leader that we have his back.

Did we do our part?  No, I don't think so.

Did we:  

  1. Call, email Dick Durbin's office to let him know that the netroots and Democrats supported him.  No there wasn'tany such campaign.  How many supportive statements did he hear? Not too many, I suspect.  

  2.  Did we call Joe Biden's office and other Dems who slammed him to let them know we disapproved of one Democrat undermining another Democrat in order to appease Tim Russert.  

  3. Did we have any organized effort to counter all this MSM pressure.  No

We just assume that somehow every Democratic poltician knows that the winds have shifted and that we as a community are here to apply pressure.  It may seem self evident to us here at this site that we are important and influential, but it is not apparent to every hard working Dem politician.

Dick Durbin is the Asst. Senate Minority leader, and if we want other Dems  to go out on a limb vis a vis our issues, we better stand by the tree making sure no one saws off the limb.

I don't think we have the right to condemn his apology because we didn't help him enough or stand up for him enough.

Originally posted to debcoop on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 11:28 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I personally e-mailed him... (none)
    ...in support of his comments, but am now very tempted to send him another e-mail of a very different nature. Completely spineless. Why apologize for saying something that's spot on and that any true American should agree with?
    •  there was no organized campaign (none)
      to help him.

      I am sure if you called his office to ask the nasty communications vastly outnumbered the positive ones.

      You did the right thing, but there weren't enough of you.

      We can't just bash politicians who are fundamentally in the same place we are; we have to help them too.

      Dick Durbin has been a courageous, progressive Senator for a long time.  After all he made a very out there statement in the first place on torture and Gitmo.  Believe me he's no Joementum.

      •  I agree that we need to back politicians up... (none)
        ...when they stick their neck up. Completely agree with that. But I still think Durbin's apology was a mistake. (1) He was fundamentally on the mark with his initial comments, so there was no need to apologize. (2) The party as a whole has been greatly suffering because our leaders don't stand firm like the leaders of the Republican party, and this has been turning off voters that form our base. Why is it that Dean has such strong support? Because he's been doing what no one else has been willing to do--tell it like it is, then stand firm. (3) Finally, just watch, this will not deter the attack dogs, anyway. Despite the apology, the attacks coming from the right will continue. If anything, they may get worse, because some will smell blood in the water. Durbin's role as a leader just took a major hit, I'm afraid.

        Just calling it like I see it.

        •  And #4... (none)
          ...he just helped the republicans in switching the attention away from the actual abuses to his comments.

          Dean has it right, IMO. If you draw attention by making a comment some don't like, don't waste the opportunity by hedging and retracting the comment. Use that attention to discuss the underlying issues that motivated the comment to begin with.

        •  once they get blood they attack more (none)
          you are right

          but believe me the Republican right enforce discipline by flooding their own office holders with email/letters pushing them in the desired direction.

          The base has to do its job too

          •  Yes, I agree. (none)
            There were a couple of diaries calling for action to back up Durbin, but nothing as organized as we saw with Dean. They never made the recommended list and quickly disappeared. I was pretty surprised at that after seeing the groundswell of support for Dean's comments, the nonstop diaries and petitions, etc.
    •  I disagree (none)
      His comments addressed the issues that were in the headlines without repudiating the substance of the FBI report. It was a reasonable response to headlines that were dominating the story... and not the substance of the report.

      And I sent him a fax supporting his comments  on the 20th. I would do so again.

  •  Well, here's what we do (4.00)
    We get his back now.

    Let him know that we still love him, that we appreciate what he did in standing up against the abuses at Guantanamo, and that we won't forget - in a positive sense - that he stuck his neck out for justice and common sense.

    I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

    by eugene on Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 11:42:36 PM PDT

  •  You're right (4.00)
    I emailed, and I called his Chicago, Marion and Washington offices. I also emailed and called Obama. I wrote to the Tribune.

    But it didn't occur to me to call Daley, for example.

    The Marion office said the negative calls outnumbered the positive ones 40 to 3. The ratio of conservative weblog posts attacking him to liberal weblog posts defending him was probably not that far different.

    I'm not sure if there was a front page post or a recommended diary encouraging everyone to call & providing contact info. Certainly there wasn't one encouraging people to call their own reps.

    We need to start defending people more strongly when there's a witch hunt like this. And not only when it's Howard Dean. I'm sorry, I love Dean, but Durbin was more vulnerable, this was a much more important issue, and he has much more of a direct impact on what happens in Washington between now and 2006. And lots of people here--not the hosts, but the commenters--seem to barely know who he is.

    And as upset as I am to this happening with Dick Durbin, minority whip & my senior senator--the first U.S. politician to issue a personally apologize for the torture issue is the Senator who criticized it too harshly. We didn't do nearly as much as we could have to stop that from happening.

    •  katya (none)
      I am cross posting your very informative comment on the thread by Armando.

      Thank you

    •  never saw it coming (none)
      i guess a lot of us agreed so strongly with his comments that we never imagined an apology was on the cards.

      Can we turn this around somehow? Has any member of Bush Co. ever shed tears over the direction of our foreign policy or the torture and death of men in US custody? If repugs come out with the Cry Baby Democrat meme, we respond with Heartless Bastards. Anyone who watches that footage will see that Durbin is a true patriot and cares about America deeply.

      You must be the change you wish to see in the world- Mahatma Gandhi

      by limaike on Wed Jun 22, 2005 at 12:39:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bosh. (3.00)
    Did anyone have to coddle Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, FDR, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, to get them to show some courage and do what was right?

    What a load of new age-y piffle, and a sterling example of everything that's wrong with the Democrats.

    I'm tired of people acting like WE have to do anything other than put those sons of bitches in the House or Senate and let them run from there and show what they are made of.

    The man has the courage of his convictions or he doesn't. Are you his frickin' MOMMY? "Now Dickie we're just so proud of you, here's a cookie, you keep on being a good boy...here's another cookie...yes, we want to stroke your self esteem...OK, here's another cookie. Oh wait, you didn't get enough cookies and now you're going to piddle in your pants and ask that bullying Bush boy you're sorry?"

    Just call me a Tough Daddy because I'd tell him that standing up for what you believe doesn't always get you cookies or mommy patting your head or your back.

    A man, or a woman, has gotta do what a man, or woman, has gotta do. And if the best they can do is go crawling to the enemy whimpering "Don't hurt me", what they NEED is to have their asses impeached and someone put in their place who isn't a thumb-sucking loser.

    Sigh. Here come the 0s, I don't care. Defending these bastards is sinking us deeper and deeper into the muck. It's better to live on your feet than die on your knees, but it's better to die on your feet than live on your knees.

    WAKE UP!

    -- "I decline utterly to be impartial between the fire brigade and the fire." ~Winston Churchill

    by Eleftheria on Wed Jun 22, 2005 at 12:55:22 AM PDT

    •  i think there's another option (none)
      we can live on feet with our head held high...oh and the rest of that sentimental song says " we can walk through the storm because I know I am not alone."

      Voting is not enough these days. anyone who's involved enough to post here cares enough to do more.

      but this is a team effort.  our electeds are the team captain, but you don't score points with just one player.

      what can I say , you reduced me to sports analogies.

    •  Yes. (none)
      If by coddle you mean "show them that there is some public support for their views", yes. Read some of Lincoln early speeches on the topics of desegregation and miscegenation, to see whether he is influenced by public opinion. Heck, they're SUPPOSED to be influenced by public opinion. Citizens have a job too, and it's more than voting, especially given how few elections are competitive.

      As for not having the courage of your convictions, and failing to live by your words, well, Jefferson rather puts Durbin to shame on that front.

      I would agree that Durbin has not shown himself the equal of Lincoln, Gandhi, King, Jefferson, Washington. But you know, we're lucky to get one of those in a generation, and they have a disconcerting tendency to get assassinated. There's a quote about the 1968 from Pete Hamill which says, essentially: citizens can't just wait around for a hero on a white horse, because when they do he gets shot off it.

      What Durbin is, is one of the best Democrats in the U.S. Senate.

      •  HAHAHAHAHA (none)
        Saying someone is one of the best Democrats in the Senate is like saying they're one of the least stinky turds in my cat box.

        Dream on, folks. You're headed for oblivion.

        -- "I decline utterly to be impartial between the fire brigade and the fire." ~Winston Churchill

        by Eleftheria on Wed Jun 22, 2005 at 01:46:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I'm with you. (4.00)
      Sometimes you have to make a stand for what it right WITHOUT relying on an organized campaign to get your back. You say what you feel is right, and if anyone demands an apology you say, "Hell no! Apologize for telling the truth? Never!"

      Durbin pussied out. He didn't have the steel for the fight he was calling on himself, and while I'll admit we could have gone to the matresses for him, the gods honest truth is we shouldn't have to. Our side should have the balls to stand tall amid the firestorm and say "I refuse to concede that torture is right."

      What Durbin did yesterday, in backing down and weeping about it, was a dozen times worse than if he'd never said anything. Now he's given all those right wing attack hounds the justification to say torture doesn't happen.

      Shameful. Absolutely shameful.

  •  If Durbin wasn't strong enough to stand up (none)
    on his own strength to defend his words, what good is he?

    If Democrats MUST have a solid body of support before ever standing up for what is right....what makes them any different from the toadying Republicans?

    Having support from others is nice, but if you REALLY believe in what you're saying, you don't RELY on it.

    Many people have said things with far more controversy and less support then Durbin, and still they stood by their words.

    Excuses don't cut it.

    •  Strong enough to stand up (none)
      Aren't WE the Democrats?  Unfortunately, for a long time I think many of us (and I'm including myself here) saw being a Dem as a spectator sport.  Or maybe a romance novel -- a heroic savior, pure of heart, rides up on a white steed, says all the right things, does all the right things, and makes our fondest political fantasies come true.  Don't get me wrong, I'm in favor of criticizing our team when they mess up, but geez -- Durbin got 99% of it right here, he spoke out about torture that most folks in Washington are only too happy to ignore.  And the poster is right -- the rest of us HAVE been too slow to defend him.  I'm guilty too, and I'll call his office in the morning to fix that.

      Saying "support is nice, but..." misses the point: this is OUR team, we're actually on it, we're not just watching it.

      •  He's the Whip (none)
        Durbin's job is supposed to be bringing his party into line. Obviously he didn't do a good job.

        Some people were slow to defend him.

        Some of us were not. Those of us were not slow got the rug pulled out from under us when Durbin apologized. Understand that we're sorta more then a tad pissed at him for undercutting both his and our credibility with that stupid crying apology.

        I suspect the next time a Democrat takes a stand, there will be those who think twice about defending them, worried that this history will repeat itself.

        •  Re: He's the Whip (none)
          Well, I can understand how you would feel like you got the rug pulled out from under you by the apology, and I understand your anger better now.  I guess I'm just still stuck on the fact that the wording of Durbin's criticism generated WAY more of an uproar in the media than the actual torture that spurred the criticism in the first place.  I'm not nearly done being angry about that, and I think that's maxed out my anger meter for the moment.
  •  In this spirit, Pelosi needs some backing (none)
    She's undoubtedly high on the list of the attack dogs...
  •  o./t regarding DSM diary (none)
    Deb were you surprised, as I was that Kurtz defended their authenticity, instead of joining the con.

    repels a spade of hostile questions here

    and cites Kevin Drum and Powerline to support his authenticity position

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