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About all that nonsense Bush is tossing around about this being a "do-nothing Congress," here's something to keep in mind: with six vetoes to his credit during the first year of this Congress, and 53 veto threats pending, if this is a "do-nothing Congress," then we certainly have an "allow nothing White House."

Bush has stood the so-called power of the purse on its head, insisting he'll veto any appropriations bill that exceeds his budget numbers. He'll just veto them, and send the Congress back to the drawing board because the legislative branch didn't rubber stamp the executive branch's budget numbers.

Combine that with the move he pulled on FISA in August -- where he said he'd force Congress to stay in session until they passed the bill he wanted, and he'd veto all else -- and you have a pretty serious problem. I've been waiting for the White House to threaten this on Iraq and/or appropriations as the end of the first session approaches. Haven't seen it yet, thankfully, but we're not out of the woods yet.

As I wrote back in August, there is something fundamentally wrong here. Basically, the situation is such that Bush feels perfectly comfortable vetoing everything of substance the Congress even proposes passing. Forget the "60 vote requirement" in the Senate. With Bush, if he wants his way, it takes 67 votes to do anything different. And 290 in the House.

And the really wonderful news here is that any Republican president in the future can count on the same dynamic and get pretty much whatever he wants this way. But no Democrat can, as long as Democrats control the Congress. Because a Democratic president can't run that hard against the Democrats in Congress. It doesn't make political sense, and it won't make sense to the public. But in divided government, that narrative makes enough sense to fly.

This is the institutional manifestation of the "Permanent Republican Majority." If you thought it disappeared with the 2006 elections, I wouldn't be so sure. Republicans are willing to work the angles in ways that mean they don't even actually have to hold a majority to exercise it. If they do, great for them. If they don't, but they hold the White House, they can pull out the veto card and force supermajorities for everything. It's built into the system, and can only be defeated (or rather, put into stasis) by perpetually electing Democratic presidents (and we're 3 for 10 on that score since Nixon) or by perpetually electing Democratic supermajorities in Congress. The only other situation likely to lead to a suspension of this dynamic, of course, is losing the majority in Congress altogether and losing the White House. Then they won't need it.

Again, our record is not good here. The modern political era has been characterized by a virtual Republican lock on the White House and a Democratic lock on Congress. So it only makes sense that Republicans would want to make an all-out assault on whatever powers the Congress had, vis-a-vis the executive branch. We've all known that this was Dick Cheney's primary objective all along, but it's not just to avenge Watergate. It also makes sense because it tilts the balance toward the one branch they always have a reliable shot at winning, and means they can control the government by winning just one election, whereas -- if we lose the big one -- our only shot at controlling government is winning 357 elections. Any less and it's a stalemate at best, or else a series of capitulations that spell victory for the White House, and it can last as long as any Republican president wants.

You'd think that Democrats might have a greater interest in aggressively defending the prerogatives of the legislative branch, since that's where their power appears to lie over the long term. But strangely, that hasn't been the case. Instead, the strategy has been to sacrifice the defense of those prerogatives in the pursuit of an all-the-eggs-in-one-basket strategy of winning the White House (and presumably never losing it again, ever), even though our record there has been spotty at best.

Make no mistake, we must win it, lest another Republican president use the office to lock down the judicial branch as well, and give the sheen of legality to all of this, putting a reversal perhaps hopelessly beyond reach.

But some consideration really must be given to the long-term effects of the dynamic the Democratic strategy is creating.

The FISA bill before the Congress at the moment provides a convenient model for demonstrating this dynamic, as well as the Senatorial steak sauce dynamic discussed the other day.

While we struggle mightily to sort through the procedural haze on the question of retroactive amnesty for the telecom companies who sold America privacy down the river, the arcana of the procedure serves to give cover to this underlying problem.

The House passed a relatively solid FISA reform bill, in the form of the RESTORE Act, and sent it on to the Senate. But rather than consider that bill, the Senate has considered its own (as is their wont), and now embroiled itself in the difficulties that referring that bill to both the Intelligence and Judiciary committees has created. And in the middle of those difficulties, observers have noted that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had, under the rules at least, several options open to him, including having the Senate consider the House bill directly. It's a relatively rare thing, but not unheard of. He opted not to do so.

In fact, though, picking up the House bill is hardly unknown. Not to long ago, in fact, we were assured that this was brilliant strategy, and it was even given a catchy nickname: "ping ponging."
But today, that strategy doesn't appear to exist among the options.

Why not? Because the House bill would be vetoed, and Bush would just pull the same trick he pulled in August: send me the bill I want, or I'll veto what you send and force you to stay in session to deal with this "emergency." And that will end in capitulation anyway, so why not just save everyone the time and capitulate now?

A principled refusal to capitulate, though, forces the Congress to face an excruciating possibility: that the president is abusing his powers under the Constitution to dictate the terms of legislation to the Congress, and that that's created a serious imbalance in the separation of powers, and revealed the underlying truth that a Congress unwilling (or just unable) to impeach a president that abuses his powers and usurps theirs is completely neutered.

On the other hand, if they opt not to have this fight (or the fight over subpoenas and contempt of Congress, or signing statements, or any of several others that boil down to this same problem), in all likelihood no one of any importance or influence will ever figure exactly how neutered they've become. People may call them spineless and weak, but they won't necessarily notice that they've surrendered the legislative prerogative. That's too much of an abstraction, and even if it wasn't, it'd be too frightening a prospect for most people to contemplate, so they just won't do it.

Now, there's an argument to be made that FISA just isn't the ground on which to make this stand, and that there's some better, clearer turf. And there probably is. But if we're not going to have that fight, either, then the extent to which this gets offered as an excuse, it'll be worth keeping in mind that there's no game plan or strategy for having the fight on any other turf either, so it's ultimately a bullshit excuse.

On the upside, though, civics classes will be easier to teach in the future.

It's a tough spot, to be sure. And the "answer" most often offered -- impeachment -- has considerable practical problems, as desirable and well-suited to the occasion as it is in theory.

But in the long run, it may be no more practical, realistic or pragmatic to continue on as if the problem didn't exist. Someone's got to take stock of this, and start thinking publicly about how to dig out of this hole.

So go ahead, everybody. Get to it. Type me up some answers!

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 10:06 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  No guts, no will or both??? (8+ / 0-)

    The Democrats look a lot like the Republicans.  We need a leader who will change things.  Not one who will give us more of this.  See my thread on Hillary's most recent attempt to muck with the vote in Iowa.  http://www.dailykos.com/...

    It's time to end the Bush Clinton Bush . . . cycle

    •  No (27+ / 0-)

      the Republicans are winning because they never back down.  Caving is an Olympic sport among the Democratic Leadership.

      "There are no happy endings in the Bush Administration". - Randall L. Tobias

      by MadRuth on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 10:15:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Congressional Spelunking... (0+ / 0-)

        A new Olympic sport???

        I can live with doubt and uncertainty. I think it's much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong. -- Richard Feynman

        by Jimdotz on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 10:19:07 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Cowardice is not the answer (20+ / 0-)

        Politics in Washington right now is a gang war.  One gang considers Washington its territory, and the other gang has found itself with a foothold.  The first gang is fighting like hell to get it back, but the second is hunkered down trying to hold onto what it's got and hoping some more territory falls into its lap.

        The way out of the trap Kagro X paints is to fight back.  Accept that you're going to take some blows, but figure out how you can win the most important battles.    And never forget, when laws are broken there are cops out there to be called.  There are some who haven't been corrupted.

        Rudy Giuliani is a small man in search of a balcony. -- Jimmy Breslin

        by Dallasdoc on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 10:26:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The "cops" are corrupted too. SCOTUS is now (6+ / 0-)

          thoroughly conservative for the next 25 years.  Tough to get that one back.

          •  Hate to say this but (11+ / 0-)

            It really is looking like the US Federal Government is no longer a legitimate democratic government.  It should be kicked out of NATO, European countries and Canada should withdraw their embassies, etc.

            -5.63, -8.10 | Impeach, Convict, Remove & Bar from Office, Arrest, Indict, Convict, Imprison!

            by neroden on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 11:09:25 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Impeach the SCOTUS (4+ / 0-)
            It isn't as if they're in for life no matter what.  They, like anyone else, can be impeached, and as in so many things a Republican has shown us the way.

            Gerald Ford, a rabid dog Republican able to hide behind his "bumbling nice guy" mask, worked tirelessly to impeach Justice Douglas.  Douglas, it should be noted, had comitted no crimes high or otherwise.  What then, was the basis for Ford's impeachment effort?  I quote Ford himself:

            What, then, is an impeachable offense? The only honest answer is that an impeachable offense is whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers to be at a given moment in history [...]

            So, yet again the Republicans have set the rules, and the rules are "whatever you can get away with".

            I say we should, then, play by the rules they've set and if they don't like it, if they scream that we're being meanies on Fox News then we should simply say "hey, they made the rules when they tried to impeach Douglas and Clinton, we're just playing their game".

            So I say, we should impeach every single conservative on the court based on Ford's impeccable standard: because we can.

            "Mission Accomplished" -- George W. Bush May 2, 2003

            by gaijin99 on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 11:37:21 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  No it is cowardice (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          WeatherDem, Subroutine

          Yes they are cynically manipulating.  Yes they are trying to hold onto the territory they have recently to their astonishment gained.  But it's not a gang war.  Our side isn't capable of the true ruthlessness a gang requires.  

          Our side has for decades now chosen a passive politics of cowardice and capitulation.  There is a reason the word liberal became an easily used insult.  There is a reason their own base became toxic to them.  There is a reason they refuse to actively use any of the constitutional/political tools while allowing things to get worse.  There is a reason they refuse to stand up on the national platform being an elected official of a major party of this country allots them.  

          They chose to accept a storyline that is based in cowardice.  They chose to accept a storyline that the other side tells about them and their party.  They chose to not fight back against this.  They chose a strategy of only showing up for the sure thing.  So until the 50 state strategy was forced upon them they were slowly ceding seat after seat.  

          Our political "leadership" have chosen a political path that leads to a death spiral for our party and our country.  They have ceded and abdicated the rights, duties and privileges they are  given by virtue of being elected to represent us.  They do so because they believe they can win best by allowing the other side to do what they want unchecked.  

          They don't believe they can sell a better vision to the American people.  They are too scared of trying to try.  So they abdicate their own national platform for the purpose of anything except making excuses for why they are failing.  They have chosen to cede our national platform they hold in trust from us to the Republicans.  The "liberal" media didn't turn so conservative just because of the aggressive stance by the Republicans and the conservatives.  It turned because there was no one on our side standing up against that change.  Just as the word liberal became an insult because no one stood up to against the use of it as an insult.  

          Our side has accepted the denigration of our party and it's history.  They chose the politics of cowardice.  They  chose the politics of passivity.  They are trying to spin this as some wonderous strategy that we their despised base are just too dumb to understand.  So we watch in awestruck amazement as they turned a winning election into a strategic and tactical loss and they continue to use the same tactics and strategies that have led to loss after loss.  

          They have chosen an immoral, unprincipled cowardly politics.  It was chosen deliberately based on fear.   They bought into the idea that America is much more conservative than it really is.  Because they bought that story they bought the story that their own base is toxic to winning elections.  Because they bought into those stories they sought to disassociate themselves from their own parties history and it's base.  Look at Al Gore when he ran for the presidency.  He threw out all the good things the Clinton administration did in the attempt to distance himself from Clinton.  Our party "leadership" has been doing the same thing for decades now.  We lose all the good our party has done because they are ashamed to be associated with it.  So much so that a Democratic candidate for office

          Open Left

          It might also be worth noting that Weirauch didn't mention she was a Democrat in her ads.  This is early 2006 all over again (and 2002, and 2004, etc).  If you don't mention you are a Democrat, and you don't mention Iraq, you are giving up huge points of distinction.  Being a Democrat running for Congress is an advantage these days, and Iraq is tied into everything.

          Unless you think being a Democrat is not a good thing.  Unless you're vaguely ashamed of your own party.  Unless you think your own party is too extreme to sell.  Cowardice rules our party right now.

          ...that cannot be a wise contrivance which in its operation may commit the government of a nation to the wisdom of an idiot. Thomas Paine Rights of Man

          by Rebecca on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 12:28:45 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Blah... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jason from Atlanta

      more crap.  It's getting a little old trashing the Democrats.  People here are looking for heads to roll on the Republican side and the Democratic side.  It ain't gonna happen.  To me it's quite obvious that the Democrats are just letting things play out and waiting to seize control.  This is our year.  But it also seems that the base, my base, is going to try to do everything to prevent that from happening.  Go along with the game.  I know it stinks, but you have to play dirty sometimes.

      •  Many of us don't think this is good politically (12+ / 0-)

        or legislatively. Is it good politically to be called a weakling constantly in the press?

      •  I think the answer is simpler. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        conchita, rlharry, inHI, ghett

        Some Dems are as corrupted as the Repubs - two sides of the same coin,

        and

        Some Dems are being blackmailed - the original purpose of the Telecom spying (Remember - no 9/11 in Feb. 2001, when the spying attempt started).

        I can't vote for any Repubs and I won't vote for these Dems.

        Follow the money. Qui bono?

        by bablhous on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 11:17:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Part of what is up with Congress is.... (0+ / 0-)

          Here is a partial answer with regards to why this Administration has gotten away with murder, thus far.  I will give one example of how they are doing it, and this will lead you to WHY they have been successful thus far.  I have no doubt several other Congressmen/women find themselves in a similar predicament with this Machevellian Administration.

          We are now aware of the reason why Nancy Pelosi is such an obedient enabler to BushCo. She was protecting her own skin. But it's actually more serious than that. For example, lets put the subject of impeachment in perspective in realistic terms, given our current situation with the Speaker of the House.

          The Republicans, more than likely targeted Nancy Pelosi. They exposed her to a planned crime, namely torture. Nancy Pelosi, in over her head, and perhaps not understanding the gravity of what she was witness to, kept silent. Now BushCo owns her, and impeachment is "off the table".

          Forward ahead to early 2007. Bush escalates the false rhetoric about the need to attack Iran. There’s even evidence to suggest it may be a nuclear attack. Is he crazy enough to start yet another war? Could we wake up one morning and find out the attack has begun? Is this the start of World War III? It is likely that China and Russia would respond if we attacked their ally Iran.

          In the meantime, there is overwhelming evidence of the illegal wiretapping of citizens, systematic torture on a grand scale, and the outing of a covert CIA operative, exposing lies told by the Administration to start an illegal war killing over a million people. This Administration has committed so many high crimes who can even keep track? However, Pelosi is impotent to act. She’s been blackmailed into silence. Impeachment is still off the table, she reminds us.

          Even with a dozen impeachable offenses, and the real possibility of a nuclear World War III looming, Nancy Pelosi kept silent. She was willing to SACRIFICE all of us, and perhaps hundreds of millions of people to nuclear DEATH, in order to protect her alleged complicity in a war crime. Nancy Pelosi knew full well that the only way to stop Bush from waging another war was impeachment. But, Nancy Pelosi was more concerned about saving her own ass.

          Thank Goodness some very brave and heroic Americans at the Intelligence Agency were able to get the NIE out without it being edited. Now the world knows that Iran doesn’t have a nuclear weapons program. They may have literally saved the planet. Something Nancy Pelosi didn’t have the courage or conscience to do. Nor will she ever. Because the most important thing to Nancy Pelosi is Nancy Pelosi, the rest of the world and everyone in it be damned.

          We are at the moment when our lives must be placed on the line if our nation is to survive its own folly. -Martin Luther King.

          by Eyes Wide Open on Mon Dec 24, 2007 at 11:26:45 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  So when people fuck up amazingly (5+ / 0-)

        and choose an unprincipled and immoral course to that fuck up we should cheer them on?  

        They have allowed our party name to become synonymous with cowardice and wimpiness.  They have chosen to allow the words cave, capitulate and fold to be used continuously as descriptions of their behavior.  

        We should have an historic blowout election considering just how much damage the Republicans have done to our nation.  Due to our "leaderships" incompetence and fearful strategies we may just manage to lose one more time.  People get out and vote when they are motivated.  Right now more and more people are becoming apathetic directly due to this pathetic strategy our "leadership" has chosen.  

        Instead of offering a clear choice our "leadership" is busy running from Iraq, blurring the differences between our parties and playing for some mythical "bipartisanship".  Some job they've done there.  Heckofa job Democratic "leadership".

        ...that cannot be a wise contrivance which in its operation may commit the government of a nation to the wisdom of an idiot. Thomas Paine Rights of Man

        by Rebecca on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 12:40:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Ben, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WeatherDem, ghett

        I don't think you can be so complacent in light of a well oiled and organized power structure in place that can steal votes through caging, voter suppression, gerrymandering, control of DRE voting machines, etc... not to mention a complicit media and entire justice department.  

        Also, even though I am feeling mostly hopeless at this time, how many more moms, dads, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers won't be coming home for Christmas, and may not come home ever again while the Dems just hunker down and "let things play out?"

        "Extreme violence has a way of preventing us from seeing the interests it serves." Naomi Klein

        by rlharry on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 12:59:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  They may not get control bec. of Iraq (0+ / 0-)

        The conservatives are now spinning that Bush won the war and the Middle East is changing.  The Brits can go home now, and we can withdraw a few troops ourselves.

        So --- the issue will be defused to the Republican advantage.  Dems will be asked by the MSM why they mouthed off against the war... and they'll answer by showing how they supplied all the $... supported the troops etc.

        Similarly they will have trouble explaining why all their investigations went no where.

        So --- in short --- it was handed to them, but I see it unraveling.

    •  The GOP wants to streamline government (5+ / 0-)

      So you do away with the middlemen, Congress and the courts. That way you have straightforward government: GWB says something and everyone else does it.  

    •  Step Back Behind the Cameras That Filmed OZ. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ghett

      Exposing the "Wizard" behind those famous curtains has been used since 1939 to describe deception. Many diaries and posts place various politicians behind the curtains. Why there's Harry blowing political smoke up our collective arses. Why do we continue to act surprised when the curtain is pulled back? "Bring me a broom(majority) in 1939(2006) and you little girl, get a ticket to Kansas. You other four get your requests, too." Wait, it's not Frank Morgan, it's the Democratic Party! We, The People, get the Iraq War ended, impeachment to save The Constitution, SCHIPS enhanced, oil companies' excess profits taxed, science protected from the ignorant, __(You fill in the blanks). Now, we know Judy Garland was being paid to follow the YBR and read a script. The Corporate Democratic Party is reading from a script to take us down a different road. Step back from being the Scarecrow, the Lion and the Tin Man, as the Dems ask you to NOT believe they are-Huff and Puff. The military-industrial-congressional complex, millionaires and the corporation lobbyists write the script and control the media that films it. Progressives, step back behind the cameras. We are watching a political  party, acting in a fantasy, for their amusement(Wealth & Power) and our continued bewilderment. The Witch is doing very well, thank you. And the bucket is still empty.

  •  the allow nothing Republicans (22+ / 0-)

    if it's a do-nothing Congress, it's because of the allow nothing Republicans

    that is a GREAT meme and we should get it out to everyone immediately.  I want to hear it on every talk show starting tomorrow!

    Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.
    IMPEACH CHENEY FIRST.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 10:09:32 AM PST

    •  That's part of the problem (17+ / 0-)
      The right-wing bias in the media means this gets spun as "Democratic controlled Congress accomplishes nothing", rather than "Republican minority obstructs progress".

      Of course, it doesn't help that the Democratic leadership doesn't seem to be trying to spin it that way either.

      •  The media bias can't be stated enough (6+ / 0-)

        When the voters turn on their tv after coming home from work look what they see. If thats all the info I got I would have a whole different point of view of things. I'm afraid their pocketbook is about the only way that will attract their attention.
        Like-Why don't I have money for Xmas presents this year-oh yeah all that gas money to get back and forth to work-while the oil profits go through the roof.
        Guess we have a way to go yet before enough hit the wall.

        Your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore

        by Horsehead on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 10:53:04 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  This can't be said enough (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TrueBlueMajority, Horsehead

          I can remember the 1990s when the news I watched had something depressing about Bill Clinton and after his impeachment, Al Gore almost on a daily basis. I HAD to believe it because it was the only source and I just didn't know how corrupt the corporate media was.

          Even though we have more options now, most people don't have time OR resources to sort through the garbage the mainstream media poops out.

          Sadly, millions still watch the evening new and are misinformed and even more watch Fox.

          What to do about it ?  

          ... only fool fights in a burning house

          by gammarock on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 11:23:58 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Media in Civics Class (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Horsehead

            I'm the one who teaches government now, and it is not getting easier.  I teach four branches of government instead of three.  I include the mass media in the "unwritten" constitution.  I want to see the Democrats fight too.  But the fight is not one-on-one; it is three-on-one.

            First, they do not really control a majority in the Senate on anything related to the war.  Second, on many issues, they do not control a majority in the House.  Third, on any fight that is created they have to fight three other branches of the government.  The news media makes them look like the odd ones out.  The Supreme Court will not back them up.  And of course the Executive controls so much of the information flow.

            Just as we wish Lyndon Johnson had fought Joe McCarthy hard and logically in 1953-54, we wish the same thing now.  But Johnson put together a Senate majority that lasted from 1955 to 1981, and a House majority that lasted even longer.  He didn't do it with frontal attack.

      •  Nor trying to fight. (5+ / 0-)

        Our "Democratic leadership" is apparently made up of Republican moles, its the only explanation that doesn't require me to think that they're all complete idiots.

        The solution, the only solution we can go for, is to make a list of the worst offenders in our party and mount primary challenges against them.

        Rockefeller, Feinstein, etc, they need to be booted out ASAP.  No forgivness is possible, we can't let them say "oops, sorry won't happen again" come election time, of course they'll say that, and then they'll keep screwing us for the Republicans they've sold out to.

        We must make a list, and we must stick to it.  I don't care what else they've done that might have been good, I don't care if they've said they're sorry, I don't care if it might be risky to mount a primary challenge, and I especially don't care if it violates some nonsense decorum.  They've stabbed us in the back, they've got to be kicked out as soon as we can.

        And, at this point, I think we need to put Reid and Pelosi on the traitor list too.  They got the position of maximum power and they've done diddily with it.  At the very least they need to be taken out of their leadership positions and replaced with people who can fight, and I'd say that at this point they've demonstarted that they're playing for the other side, so they too need to be ousted in a primary challenge.

        We didn't achieve full victory with Leiberman, but it shook up a lot of the sell outs.  A few more even partial victories will shake them even more.  Even one complete victory, that is the successful unseating of a sitting Republican in Democrat's clothing and their replacement with a REAL Democrat, might terrify the others sufficiently that they start being genuine Democrats again.

        Before the net it'd be impossible, that's how things got this bad in the first place.  We just plain couldn't organize.  Today?  I think we can do it.

        But '08 needs to be as much about primary challenges to traitor Democrats as it is about beating the Republicans.

        Down with Pelosi.  Down with Reid.  Down with Feinstein.  Down with Rockefeller.

        "Mission Accomplished" -- George W. Bush May 2, 2003

        by gaijin99 on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 11:51:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  That's why (0+ / 0-)

        ...it always upsets me anytime a DEMOCRAT of any stripe mumbles about the "60 vote requirement" instead of outright saying "Republican filibuster" over and over again.

        "The survival value of intelligence is that it allows us to extinct a bad idea, before the idea extincts us." -- Karl Popper

        by eyeswideopen on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 11:35:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  It looks like a do-nothing Congress (6+ / 0-)

      because of those obstruct-everything Republicans.

      -- We are just regular people informed on issues

      by mike101 on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 10:33:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  We know the answer. (18+ / 0-)

    They value, their positions and wealth of the job over ordinary citizens and are willing to do anything (or nothing) to keep it.

    If Obama or Edwards win it, I feel kinda sorry for them in a way, as I bet you dollars to fucking donuts, Harry and Nancy will give them MORE grief then they did the Miserable Failure.

    "Steve Holt is not Hillary's sockpuppet." - Steve Holt

    by cookiesandmilk on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 10:09:51 AM PST

    •  Right (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      neroden, SparkleMotion

      The Democrats did the same thing to Bill Clinton, which contributed to 1994 Republican electoral take over, one of the most depressing nights of my life.

      {but weirdly may have saved Bill Clinton's presidency}

      ... only fool fights in a burning house

      by gammarock on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 11:26:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Edwards can take it. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SparkleMotion

      He's clearly ready to play hardball.

      I don't think Obama's figured out what's needed yet.  Nor has Clinton.  Their current behavior in the Senate proves it.

      I'd bet Kucinich would play hardball too.  :-)

      -5.63, -8.10 | Impeach, Convict, Remove & Bar from Office, Arrest, Indict, Convict, Imprison!

      by neroden on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 11:42:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The right says Edwards is not qualified (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eyeswideopen, sidnora

      to be the voice of the poor because he is not poor.  If the only politician that is qualified to be the voice of the poor is a poor politician, it seems to follow that the poor will have no voice at all, since obviously a candidate has to have an awful lot of money to run for office.

  •  We either need (17+ / 0-)

    a super majority of Democrats in both houses or a majority of Democrats with guts and real democratic principles (hint - don't give your money to the party, give it to individual candidates through ActBlue).  Harry Reid actually seems to be working for Bush.  I can see no other explanation for his behavior.

    "There are no happy endings in the Bush Administration". - Randall L. Tobias

    by MadRuth on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 10:13:46 AM PST

  •  Give The People a chance to rise against it... (13+ / 0-)

    by initiating Impeachment.

    When our Leadership and the Administration see that We WILL support a revolt, the White House might very well change its not-so-wide stance on "unpleasant" bills received from Congress.

    I can live with doubt and uncertainty. I think it's much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong. -- Richard Feynman

    by Jimdotz on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 10:15:19 AM PST

  •   It's beginning to look a lot like Impeachment (20+ / 0-)

    every where I go.....

    That's right! Impeachment! As NOT seen on TV!

    Impeachment: Now more than Ever!

    Impeachment: It's what's on the table!

    Impeachment: It's not just for sex anymore!

    Impeachment is my shotgun.

    Impeachment: Just do it!

    GreenState Project: Democratic Talking Points for Cannabis Reform.

    by xxdr zombiexx on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 10:15:24 AM PST

    •  And then we are back up to 2/3rds (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eyeswideopen, rlharry, phonegery, JG in MD

      Is there any reason to believe that we could get more than a handful of Republicans to convict in the Senate if they personally saw GWB biting the heads of off live children?

      I'm also for impeachment, just on principle, but I don't think it will actually solve the problem.

      Heck, if congress had the spine to impeach, then they'd have the spine to tell him where he could shove his legislative agenda and we wouldn't have this particular problem

      •  conviction isn't everything... (16+ / 0-)

        ...Remember Clinton wasn't convicted, but the ugly stain of impeachment still lingers over his Presidency...

        Doesn't Bush deserve at LEAST that?

        Sometimes the appropriate response to reality is to go insane. -Philip K. Dick- Economic Left/Right: -4.75 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.97

        by Ubik on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 10:35:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I think all that needs to happen (11+ / 0-)
        for a successful impeachment is to take the first step, to get hearings on impeachment charges started with a vote in the House Juducary Committee and in the full house giving the green light to hearings. That, and for Conyers to declare any obstruction of the hearings also grounds for impeachment.

        That's all it takes, to get started. It's all downhill from there. The unbelievable level of corruption the hearings will expose will be impossible for the press to ignore and will fuel a tsunami of public opinion that will make conviction inevitable, as Representatives and Senators try to save their own electoral skins.

        As Tip O'Neill said leading into inpeachment charges for Nixon, "The important thing is to get the show on the road." Once the hearings commenced, Nixon was forced to see the inevitable outcome.

        Of course, most of Congress is complicit too, and they don't really believe in equal treatment of all before the law, which helps explain their insistence on "off the table." Once the hearings start, they won't be in control. And that's exactly the point.

        Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

        by Simplify on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 10:53:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I know why they don't want to impeach... (10+ / 0-)

          the rabble will want to be represented!  We cannot have that ... the order of the universe will be rent asunder! <snark>

          But seriously, this crap is broken ... really really broken. If the law means nothing (if you're in power), then it would seem to me all is lost ... because eventually, the People will get that message too, and not respect the law either.  Then all bets are off.

          If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy -- Teacher Ken, Kossack extraordinnaire

          by billlaurelMD on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 11:22:59 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yep. Respect for the law. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Simplify, Cherrycoke

            Once it's gone -- and if the Bush cabal gets away scot free, the federal government loses all legitimacy -- some really interesting things are going to start happening, and I mean that in a bad way.

            For instance, most people's reaction to federal government agents will be to clam up, attack them, and/or flee.  Most people will support this.  This will be rational behavior.

            Ugh.  Ugh.  Ugh.  Ugh.  Ugh.

            -5.63, -8.10 | Impeach, Convict, Remove & Bar from Office, Arrest, Indict, Convict, Imprison!

            by neroden on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 11:46:53 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  All Impeachments are not the same (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Simplify

            They don't want to impeach because they feel that there would be a backlash, same as there was against the Republicans for trying to impeach Clinton.

            Apparently, they don't have much faith in the public's ability to recognize that the two situations are a different as night and day.

            The impeachment against Clinton was driven by a political witch-hunt that spiraled from travelgate, to filegate, to whitewater, until President SlipperyZip gave them the opening they needed. They had their sights set on drumming him out of the office from the day he was sworn in. The public knew it, knew that lying about a consensual sexual dalliance was bullshit, and never got behind the Republicans.

            They also know that impeachment proceedings against Bush would be based on very real violations of what was then the law - especially with FISA. (The law since having been changed - wouldn't you like to have laws amended retroactively so you never have to face the music?)I don't believe there would be the backlash the Dems seem to expect.

            With a President whose approval is consistently in the low 20's, who knows - they might even support the Dems.

            The Republican Creed: Pray and Pass the Ammunition

            by johninPortland on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 12:58:10 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Wexlerwantshearings.com (0+ / 0-)

          Sign up now 3 members of the judicary commitee are on board. LETs GO!!!!

      •   The goal of Impeachment is not Impeachment. (8+ / 0-)

        Remember, this is Bizarro World: The goal of Impeachment is not Impeachment.

        Impeachment gets investigations started.That's all we need.

        What do you think investigations will find?

        A friggin' crimewave.

        That's why you can enthusiastically support it.

        GreenState Project: Democratic Talking Points for Cannabis Reform.

        by xxdr zombiexx on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 11:15:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Like I said, I support impeachment (0+ / 0-)

          (heck, I'm thinking of running my next marathon with an "IMPEACH" shirt. I'm just saying that I think that if we had a congress with what it took to even start such an investigation, Bush would have backed down by now.

          So it uncovers a crime wave. We have a strong enough minority willing to support torture to keep that going, what crime do you think will get them in arms?

          Again, the note is that I think it is important for the Democratic party to stand up and go the principled route on this. Heck, I think the NEXT congress should impeach after he's gone (or during the few weeks they are in session before his term ends.

      •  We have to make something that Bush wants (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        neroden, phonegery, dogheaven

        very unpleasant and expensive for his Congressional supporters to support. Carve them away from him somehow. It's already begun, we must take it to the limit. Force them to actually filibuster, for starters.

      •  We won't get impeachment (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        eyeswideopen

        because the Democrats refuse to use any of their constitutional/political tools to defend their own powers.  They are more interested in watching the clock out with their pathetically unprincipled strategy of allowing the Repubs to continue destroying things in the hope people will be so disgusted they will vote for Dems.  The idea that people will choose to just stay home since there is no good choice between the barbarians who are destroying our constitution and the cowardly wimps who are allowing them to do it doesn't enter their calculations.  

        If it were only impeachment that were off the table it wouldn't be so bad.  But every tool they have is off the table.  That is why we have a defacto 60/67 vote requirement for Democratic legislation while the Republicans can pass theirs with a regular majority.  So we will never see impeachment not because they can't get the votes but because they refuse to even try for anything let alone impeachment.

        ...that cannot be a wise contrivance which in its operation may commit the government of a nation to the wisdom of an idiot. Thomas Paine Rights of Man

        by Rebecca on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 12:53:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  If Impeachment is off the table - (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Rebecca, eyeswideopen

          How about an internationally orchestrated Adolf Eichmann like kidnapping and trial.

          Imagine the joy if Cheney or Commander in Chief just disappeared in the middle of the night, or while abroad for whatever reason, and then resurfaced under armed guard at the Hague a few days later.

          Ah, but to dream...

          The Republican Creed: Pray and Pass the Ammunition

          by johninPortland on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 01:07:05 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I would love to see these criminals and traitors (0+ / 0-)

            held accountable.  But I see no power that will stand up and do that.  Our own government is too compromised.  Other governments won't go there unless our country loses it's position militarily and economically with the world.  It's possible but I do hope we don't get to that point.  If the rest of the world chooses to treat our nation as a rogue nation we will truly be in for terrible times.

            ...that cannot be a wise contrivance which in its operation may commit the government of a nation to the wisdom of an idiot. Thomas Paine Rights of Man

            by Rebecca on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 01:20:08 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  kidnapping (0+ / 0-)

            I have been saying this for months now,I really do not understand why some special forces black ops, commando sort that made it back here hasn't just infiltrated Washington and taken care of every one of these war criminals, and I'm not just talking about kidnapping them, if you know what I'm saying.

  •  I wish they'd go after the signing statements (13+ / 0-)

    That would make it a direct Bush vs The People case.  

    I still think they'd be better served by sending up exactly what they want and letting the chimp veto.  Sadly the type of personality that rises to "leadership" in the house and senate isn't the type that sees any value in confrontation.

  •  This is central (8+ / 0-)

    The Democratic COngressional leadership have prioritized political tactic over constitutional imperative.  In the actions of the legislative branch, under the Constitution its very first obligation is to uphold the Constitution by defending their powers and prerogatives against the encroachment of the executive.  Reason itself makes clear that placing hopes in the actions of a future executive does nothing to address and redress the overreaching of a current executive and restore the equality of the branches.  Instead, today'[s democratic Congressional majorities are reinforcing the perception and doctrine of the dominance of the executive, , joining with the Republican Unitary Executive in instiling in the presidency all the elements of the Leader Principle.

    •  The excuse we give them (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      x, neroden

      The Democratic COngressional leadership have prioritized political tactic over constitutional imperative.

      But is it really so?  We know other considerations - AIPAC, lobbyists, campaign funding also drive them just as they do the rethugs.  The only difference that I can see is that we EXPECT different things from them.  But our EXPECTATIONS really count for nothing in the dollar drive.

  •  we thought it was only a unitary president (7+ / 0-)

    that was our problem but now we have to admit we are saddled with a unitary CONGRESS too...  which doesnt really care about doing the 'will of the people' at all and only cares about doing what will get them re-elected in nov.  

    We didnt learn from lieberman that it doesnt matter what party delineation is after said congresspersons name.   these incumbants are interested in getting re-elected, period...and if that means lying to their base, giving bush whatever HE wants and then whining that they need more democrats to get any of the things WE WANT done, done, THATS what they will do.

    sometime between the day of my birth and today our entire government got hijacked by people who couldnt pass a civics class if their congressional seats depended on it....  

    once our great nation was the prime example of governemnt of by and for the people of our nation...  unfortunately, for us, all that is left of that great experiment is alot of disappointed, disgruntled and disenfranchised people who hardly see a reason left to vote since its harder and harder to pretend, to ourselves, that our votes will be counted or even matter.  

    for congress that means 'mission accomplished' because nothing makes it harder for compromised incumbants then an engaged electorate...

    drastic times call for drastic measures....  term limit the lot of them and lets start over.

    IMPEACH THE CHEERLEADER... SAVE THE WORLD! © ®

    by KnotIookin on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 10:19:28 AM PST

  •  making men from mice (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    conchita, dogheaven, rhutcheson, JG in MD

    Now, there's an argument to be made that FISA just isn't the ground on which to make this stand, and that there's some better, clearer turf. And there probably is. But if we're not going to have that fight, either, then the extent to which this gets offered as an excuse, it'll be worth keeping in mind that there's no game plan or strategy for having the fight on any other turf either, so it's ultimately a bullshit excuse.

    Sometimes you don't get to pick the battlefield; you just get to pick how you conduct the battle.  There isn't going to be a magic issue, a silver bullet, or a point that 'has gone too far' - there will be no collective moment of clarity.  The "opposition party" has prostituted itself to the common wisdom of the DC Beltway for far, far too long; it's time to fight if for no other reason than so you remember how.  Maybe, maybe then, our reps will find a way to make that magic moment happen.

    As a side note, as a resident of CT, with Lieberman getting the spotlight for so long, I can't explain how good it feels to be proud of a Senator from the Nutmeg state once again.  Senator Dodd, you do your people proud.

    "All who think cannot but see there is a sanction like that of religion which binds us in partnership in the serious work of the world." -- Ben Franklin

    by jmkiru on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 10:21:10 AM PST

  •  the President has power (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Simplify, jayden, JG in MD

    and the President has the most power in a divided government situation like there is today.

    The President is elected by All the people.  The position matters.  Like it or not the Moron got 3 million more votes than Kerry.  He didn't get My vote, or likely the vote of anybody at this site, but he got a Lot of them.

    If I understand the question, the only solution would be a Constitutional Amendment revoking Article 2, and the imposition of a British type parliament/prime minister system.

    Also consider that the Founders wanted government action only when there was broad consensus.  If there is no consensus, nothing happens.  Sometimes that is a feature, not a bug.

    Enterpriser; Hard core Libertarian: +6.63 / -4.41

    by jimsaco on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 10:22:31 AM PST

    •  Well, they didn't contemplate parties in this way (7+ / 0-)

      What they probably had in mind was that a president who seized for himself so much of the power of Congress would be impeached by the institutionalists, who would be jealously guarding their own power.

      Enlightened self-interest was supposed to take care of this. But something happened along the way, and Republicans have found there's more to be had in the way of self-interest from jealously guarding the power that accrues to their party than from the power that accrues to their position.

      •  well, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bablhous

        Let it not be forgotten that the AUMFs (both Afghanistan and Iraq) were passed by large bipartisan majorities.

        The Congress could have made them more limited, but instead deferred broad power to the executive.

        Where were our leaders when that was going on?

        Enterpriser; Hard core Libertarian: +6.63 / -4.41

        by jimsaco on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 11:07:21 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's true. (0+ / 0-)

          Of course, the "administration" didn't think the AUMFs were necessary to begin with. They just provided political cover. They believed the president had the "inherent authority" to use military force in both instances anyway, with or without the approval of Congress.

          That Congress did approve those actions, and has since been informed that the "administration" never believed they were necessary, and still has never actually asked anybody whether that was truly their belief and if so, inquired as to exactly how unhealthy that really was for the country is just the sort of abdication of responsibility/self-interest I'm talking about.

      •  actualy, they did (0+ / 0-)

        This is why they warned against parties over and over again.  There were never supposed to be political parties.

        See Madison in Federlaist#10

        http://www.constitution.org/...

    •  the president has the power because Congress lets (0+ / 0-)

      him take it.

      Congress could put its foot down, but it won't.

      Congress currently sucks.

  •  Scocth the constitution ans start over. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alexander G Rubio, neroden, droat

    It's outdated, and no real progress will take place until it is gone and a new one takes its place.

    Your post is as strong an argument for why this is so as any.

    The GOP is in a perpetual state of provoking a constitutional crisis by the very fact that real challenges cannot be met with existing political institutions which are entrenched by this very constitution. It's time to quit seeing their constants raises and raising them again. It's time to call their game.

    I think you'll be surprised to find their cards are quite poor.

    •  Another way of reading this diary is that (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corwin, Alexander G Rubio, neroden

      it is an elegant argument for a Parliamentary system.

      •  Yes (0+ / 0-)

        Responsible Government and a constant electoral college is extremely important.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/...

        •  Parliament vs Congress (0+ / 0-)

          Canadian and American Government
          [1 of 8]

          previous [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] next

          Canadian and American FlagsCanada and the United States are both democracies. They are also both federal states. But there are important differences in the way Canadians and Americans govern themselves.

          One fundamental difference is that the United States is a country of one basic language and culture. Canada is a country of two basic languages. The Fathers of Confederation deliberately chose to make it so.

          Our official recognition of bilingualism is limited, but expanding. For example, it was at the specific request of the New Brunswick government that the adoption of French and English as the official languages of that province was enshrined in the constitution. Ontario, which has the largest number of French-speaking people outside Quebec, has provided French schools and an increasing range of services in French for Franco-Ontarians. Several other provinces have taken steps in the same direction.

          But under the Constitution, every province except Quebec, New Brunswick and Manitoba is absolutely free to have as many official languages as it pleases, and they need not include either English or French. For example, Nova Scotia could make Gaelic its sole official language, or one of two, three or a dozen official languages in that province. Alberta could make Ukrainian its sole official language, or Ukrainian, Polish and classical Greek its three official languages. Quebec, New Brunswick and Manitoba also are free to have as many official languages as they please, but they must include English and French.

          A second basic difference between our constitution and the American is, of course, that we are a constitutional monarchy and they are a republic. That looks like only a formal difference. It is very much more, for we have parliamentary-cabinet government, while the Americans have presidential-congressional.

          What does that mean? What difference does it make?

          First, in the United States the head of state and the head of the government are one and the same. The President is both at once. Here, the Queen, ordinarily represented by the Governor General, is the head of state, and the Prime Minister is the head of the Government. Does that make any real difference? Yes: in Canada, the head of state can, in exceptional circumstances, protect Parliament and the people against a Prime Minister and Ministers who may forget that "minister" means "servant," and may try to make themselves masters. For example, the head of state could refuse to let a Cabinet dissolve a newly elected House of Commons before it could even meet, or could refuse to let Ministers bludgeon the people into submission by a continuous series of general elections. The American head of state cannot restrain the American head of government because they are the same person.

          For another thing, presidential-congressional government is based on a separation of powers. The American President cannot be a member of either House of Congress. Neither can any of the members of his or her Cabinet. Neither the President nor any member of the Cabinet can appear in Congress to introduce a bill, or defend it, or answer questions, or rebut attacks on policies. No member of either House can be President or a member of the Cabinet.

          Parliamentary-cabinet government is based on a concentration of powers. The Prime Minister and every other Minister must by custom (though not by law) be a member of one House or the other, or get a seat in one House or the other within a short time of appointment. All government bills must be introduced by a Minister or someone speaking on his or her behalf, and Ministers must appear in Parliament to defend government bills, answer daily questions on government actions or policies, and rebut attacks on such actions or policies.

          What does that mean? What difference does it make?
          Congress meets in the Capitol, in Washington, D.C.

          Congress meets in the Capitol,
          in Washington, D.C.

          In the United States, the President and every member of both Houses is elected for a fixed term: the President for four years, the Senators for six (one-third of the Senate seats being contested every two years), the members of the House of Representatives for two. The only way to get rid of a President before the end of the four-year term is for Congress to impeach and try him or her, which is very hard to do. It has never been done, and has only been three times even attempted.

          As the President, the Senators and the Representatives are elected for different periods, it can happen, and often does, that the President belongs to one party while the opposing party has a majority in either the Senate or the House of Representatives or both. So for years on end, the President may find his or her legislation and policies blocked by an adverse majority in one or both Houses. The President cannot appeal to the people by dissolving either House, or both: he or she has no such power, and the two Houses are there for their fixed terms, come what may, until the constitutionally fixed hour strikes.

          And even when the elections for the presidency, the House of Representatives, and one-third of the Senate take place on the same day (as they do every four years), the result may be a Republican President, a Democratic Senate and a Republican House of Representatives or various other mixtures.

          What does that mean? What difference does it make?

          A President, accordingly, may have a coherent program to present to Congress, and may get Senators and Representatives to introduce the bills he or she wants passed. But each House can add to each of the bills, or take things out of them, or reject them outright, and what emerges from the tussle may bear little or no resemblance to what the President wanted. The majority in either House may have a coherent program on this or that subject; but the other House can add to it, or take things out of it, or throw the whole thing out; and again, what (if anything) emerges may bear little or no resemblance to the original. Even if the two Houses agree on something, the President can, and often does, veto the bill. The veto can be overridden only by a two-thirds majority in both Houses.

          So when an election comes, the President, the Senator, the Representative, reproached with not having carried out his or her promises can always say: "Don’t blame me! I sent the bill to Congress, and the Senate (or the Representatives, or both) threw it out, or mangled it beyond recognition"; "I introduced the bill I’d promised in the Senate, but the House of Representatives threw it out or reduced it to shreds and tatters (or the President vetoed it)"; "I introduced my bill in the House of Representatives, but the Senate rejected it or made mincemeat of it (or the President vetoed it). Don’t blame me!"

          So it ends up that nobody — not the President, not the Senators, not the Representatives — can be held really responsible for anything done or not done. Everybody concerned can honestly and legitimately say, "Don’t blame me!"

          http://www.parl.gc.ca/... "How Canadians Govern Themselves" by Senator Eugene Forsey.

          or http://www.parl.gc.ca/...   The Great Debate: Parliament versus Congress

          In the American system the President merely explains his policies through press conferences and televised addresses to the nation. This system is weak and inclined towards easy abuse. For example, the Possibility of Watergate cover-up progressing as far as it eventually did in the United States would be highly unlikely in Great Britain or Canada because of the executive's direct accountability to the legislative body. The long and cumbersome impeachment process would have been unnecessary. If it became necessary to excise the head of the executive, a simple change in the leadership of the party, and hence the office of Prime Minister, would do the trick. A good example of this Process can be studied in my own province of Newfoundland and Labrador. When Frank Moores resigned from Public office he was still premier of the province. His party held a convention forthwith. Brian Peckford won the leadership and became Premier simple – quick and clean.

    •  There is NEVER a Constitutional crisis (5+ / 0-)

      You have to have opposition to have a crisis.  W is allowed to do whatever he wants almost completely without challenge.

      Media is a problem, but it does not excuse Dem inaction.

      There is no apparent passion, no apparent RAGE.  You know all those foregn videos we see of brawls in various houses of government?  THAT's what we should be seeing in OUR CONGRESS.  We can't even get them to make a constitutional point without having to come back and APOLOGISE.

      It's bizarro world.  Weenie world.  

      I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

      by beemerr90s on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 10:35:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  yeah, start with the way we elect Congress (0+ / 0-)

      the geographic-boundary-winner-take-all method is a failure. if we could get proportional representation like they do in Germany, things will start to fall into place.

  •  Poker (11+ / 0-)


    Someone should really send the Democratic leadership a copy of Doyle Brunson's book Super/System, because they've basically been "pwned" over the past 10 months by bluffing. To put this in poker terms, Bush has basically went "all in" holding 2 offsuit low cards, and the Democrats have repeatedly folded a pair of Aces.

    And why would Bush back down or Republicans defect from their leadership? The Democrats in Congress haven't given any signal that they'll stand their ground in a fight. If you repeatedly fold to pressure, you only send the signal to your enemies that all they need to do is wait you out, and they can win. Just like how a poker player can sense weakness in another, and bluff someone into folding repeatedly.

  •  Dean has it right (9+ / 0-)

    The Theme of John Dean's latest book, Broken Government, is that "process issues" get neglected by the media -- which, aside from it's role as the lapdog of the corporate powers, reports politics and government the same way it reports on Hollywood bimbos -- but are vitally important to the restoration and preservation of our democracy.

    I am, unfortunately, still seeing more and more evidence that the thesis I developed to explain Democratic actions is the right one.

    They don't want to end Bush's power grab by defending the Constitution.  They just want to grab those same powers away from him, but only to use them for themselves after Jan 21, 2009.

    "... there is no humane way to rule people against their will." Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine

    by Noziglia on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 10:28:02 AM PST

    •  I wish! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      conchita, bablhous

      Hell, if I saw a sign that they'd use those dictatorial powers to enact draconian anti-global-warming measures (perhaps confiscating and shutting down all the coal mines and coal burning power plants, illegally diverting funds to fund massive solar, wind, and hydro power programs), end rampant military contractor spending (perhaps simply cancelling and refusing to fund programs appropriated by Congress), replace the Supreme Court members with hardcore liberals (perhaps by "extraordinary rendition" of Thomas, Alito, and Roberts), ignoring the 'gag rule' and the 'global gag rule' on abortion, establish universal health care by executive order, etc. --

      Then I'd still be very unhappy and would object loudly and vociferously, but at least there would be a silver lining.

      But noooo, if they're going to use these powers for themselves at all, it seems like they're going to use them to enact the REPUBLICAN fascist agenda.  No silver lining there.

      -5.63, -8.10 | Impeach, Convict, Remove & Bar from Office, Arrest, Indict, Convict, Imprison!

      by neroden on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 11:21:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Indeed (0+ / 0-)

        it looks as if, Rethug or Democrony, the main characteristic is that they both work for the corporate interests, and not for the people who elect them.

        Money counts more than votes, because money can buy votes.  That's the free enterprise system at work . . .

        "... there is no humane way to rule people against their will." Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine

        by Noziglia on Sun Dec 23, 2007 at 09:57:52 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Solution? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Orj ozeppi, dogheaven, JG in MD
    1. Get a Dem in the White House in '08. Given the candidates and barring any election day shenanigans, getting a Dem in there should actually be more than possible this time around. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
    1. Clean House, for real this time. The 2006 elections were just the first step. Now is the time to not only hold on to that majority, but to step it up and replace the spineless Dems who value their power and position more than the will of those who elected them, and replace them with Real Progressives(tm), people-powered candidates with the spine, will, and courage to not only stand up to Republicans, but also to any weak-kneed so-called leadership on the Dem side as well. Getting a new Speaker who has the guts to not back down would help too.
    1. New Senate Majority leader would help, too! Sorry Harry.... you just don't do it for me anymore, you know? I'm thinkin' Chris Dodd.... maybe Obama if he isn't President? Just throwing that out there. Given the dismal state of affairs with the Republican Senate retirings and threatened seats, I'm confident that the Dem majority can be increased next cycle.

    If those 3 things can be accomplished, then we actually have real hope of getting some ACTUAL work done for this country (Ending the war, excising corporate influence from out lawmaking process, restoring habeas corpus, ending the practice of torture, universal health care...etc).

    Or so I hope.....

    Sometimes the appropriate response to reality is to go insane. -Philip K. Dick- Economic Left/Right: -4.75 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.97

    by Ubik on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 10:28:34 AM PST

    •  Amen Ubik (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ubik

      Impeachment is not a Constitutional Crisis. Impeachment is the Cure for a Constitutional Crisis.-John Nichols

      by wishingwell on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 10:51:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The problem with a Democratic president in 2008 (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      conchita, Alexander G Rubio

      Is that in all probability he or she will be an alum of the Senate Democrats' "Class of 9/11", which rolled over and played dead when the Bushies trampled the Constitution. They're part of the problem as well.

      "I'll rant as well as thou."--Hamlet, Act V, Scene 1.

      by Dump Terry McAuliffe on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 11:48:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  that may be true... (0+ / 0-)

        ..but with an overwhelming Dem majority in the house and senate, who's going to stop the Progressive agenda? Even the "Class of 9/11" wants to get good things done for our country, but by and large the Allow-Nothing Republican administration makes all that nearly impossible....

        Without a veto-happy Republican president and a solid Dem majority in the Senate, who's going to stand in our way?

        Sometimes the appropriate response to reality is to go insane. -Philip K. Dick- Economic Left/Right: -4.75 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.97

        by Ubik on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 01:07:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I hope this happens. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ubik

          But again, it depends on our winning several hundred federal elections, whereas they need win only one to stand in our way.

          •  We can win... (0+ / 0-)

            ..come hell or high water, we can win.

            The people are sick of Republicans and the Conservative agenda. We've got the people on our side now, and no amount of right-wing fear-mongering or election-rigging can trump that.

            Of this I am certain. Or at least feel strongly about.
            It's the only way I can keep on fighting this fight.

            Sometimes the appropriate response to reality is to go insane. -Philip K. Dick- Economic Left/Right: -4.75 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.97

            by Ubik on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 06:25:39 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Maybe not. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wishingwell, beemerr90s, armadillo

    Because a Democratic president can't run that hard against the Democrats in Congress. It doesn't make political sense, and it won't make sense to the public.

    I was daydreaming yesterday about one of the Senatorial Presidential candidates responding to the latest Congressional outrage - say, a bad FISA vote - by resigning in disgust.

    It could be Dodd, or Biden, or Hillary. (Obama doesn't need to.)

    It could transform the primary into a referendum on Congress.

    •  Resigning in disgust (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wishingwell, Elwood Dowd, bablhous

      is almost where I am, but there are so many things that so many could do that would be well short of that drastic move.

      How about some REAL OUTRAGE screamed in Congress?  Get a group of Senators/Reps to take a stand together to filibuster, to attack, to barricade the freakin' doorways.  Throw a few rhetorical grenades.  I want to see a blind Al Pacino threatening to take a flamethrower to the place.

      <sigh>  Okay, I feel better now.  

      No, I really don't.

      I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

      by beemerr90s on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 10:43:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Why 67 votes? (0+ / 0-)

    Who controls the past, controls the future. Who controls the present, controls the past. George Orwell

    by moon in the house of moe on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 10:31:15 AM PST

  •  My guess as to "what's up." (6+ / 0-)

    What we have seen during the Bush Administration is the wholesale violation of law (eg, FICA), implementation of criminal torture, and the doctrine of blitzkrieg warfare.  All of these policies constitute high crimes and misdemeanors.

    But consider the mindset of America after 9-11.  Bush was stunned, I was stunned, we were all stunned.  What to do?

    More quickly than anyone realized, we took a justifiable war in Afghanistan to a criminal war in Iraq.  Democrats lost in 2002.  Shock and fear.

    So most Democrats went along with Bush's War in Iraq.  Even my candidate John Edwards got Iraq totally, completely, and even foolishly wrong.

    Then along comes neoconservatist economic "shock therapy".  Privitizing entire components of the military forces, for example.  How to succeed with these plans.

    Well, find a bogey-man.  That bogey-man was, and remains, the Islamic Arab.  Homeland Security.  Code yellow and red.  How to find them?

    Torture.  And here's Polosi, for example, (along with many other Democrats) going along with criminal torture very early on in secret because they can't see the crimes due to fear.

    And what are these Democrats going to do today?  Attack Bush for criminal torture when many of them are also culpable?  I love Nancy Polosi, but the woman did not have the good sense to decry torture from day 1.  Shame.  And crime.

    So the Democratic Congress has elements of "let's just get Bush gone and hopefully we'll be all right." Then, many Democrats don't realize what's happened.

    Democrats don't realize the Republicans have pursued their criminal policies because they are pursuing a deeper agenda:  Unraveling the New Deal / Great Society.  Republicans have instituted unregulated market capitalism here at home that in the past they have only implemented in other countries, like Chile, South and Central America, Poland, Russia, China, India, Australia.  Now they are undermining the government of Bolivia.

    So now we are replacing the US military with Blackwater and other mercenaries.  We are replacing the CIA / FBI with "market spy companies" and private police forces like "Countrywide".  The government doesn't even run the food stamp program, send out social security checks, and the destruction of the "government" school system (public schools) with "charter" and religious schools is now far, far along.

    So, (1) many Democrats have complicity in the Republican crimes, and (2) most other Democrats do not understand what they are up against in Movement Republicanism.

    •  XOVER, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      XOVER

      well put.  And don't forget how our elections have been outsourced to private companies which have deep ties to the Rethuglicans. (The DRE voting machines, voter data bases, etc...)

      "Extreme violence has a way of preventing us from seeing the interests it serves." Naomi Klein

      by rlharry on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 12:31:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Harnessing the "Do Nothing" Power of the Purse (9+ / 0-)

    The simple answer to all of this gordian knot of Red tape is that the Democratic Majority can just pressure all the pork to get what they want. Reid and Pelosi can just work their even more powerful Congressional version of "veto" by refusing to let any bill that includes pork for anyone they're pressuring to come to votes. There are all kinds of rules to kill it before it even appears in public. And the pressure will work on Bush, too, whose crony government depends on that pork like no other before it. It's more powerful than Bush's veto, because Bush has to veto specific passed bills, which nearly always have at least nominally bipartisan votes to pass in both chambers, but Reid and Pelosi can do it all quietly. It's one way Congress is the Constitutionally more powerful branch, in addition to overriding vetos when it has the power to act unilaterally.

    That strategy is the general version of the specific tactic we've all discussed for at least a year to end the Iraq War: just send no bill for any funding without withdrawal instructions.

    Pelosi and Reid know this. They know it's popular even on that tactic to end the war. But they won't even do it to stop the war, though that's extremely popular, even among Republicans, and much narrower than a "nuclear option" across the entire government. But they don't do it.

    So the real option is to replace Reid and Pelosi with those who will. It's getting late to do that to any material effect in the 110th Congress, but, like impeachment, it would set a deterrent precedent for the next Congresses abdicating their responsibilities to govern. And, since you sketch out how it's even worse with a Democratic power monopoly trifecta like we're looking at in 2009, it's also just as important as impeachment to deter this worthless generation of national politicians.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 10:33:15 AM PST

  •  "...as desirable and well-suited to the occasion (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JG in MD

    as it is in theory."

    You've got it covered.

    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. -Mohandas Gandhi

    by ezdidit on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 10:34:53 AM PST

  •  Impeach! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlharry, greenskeeper

    How many more "high crimes and misdemeanors" will it take to convince these weakkneed so-called leaders. There is no other option.

    CHRISTIAN, n. One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor. A. Bierce

    by irate on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 10:39:12 AM PST

    •  I agree, but even folks here will argue (6+ / 0-)

      that it's pointless, we don't have the votes, blah, blah, blah.

      W could eat a live baby on Regis and Kelly, and we couldn't get them to move.

      What the F--- does it take?

      They block every investigation, lie with apparent impunity, ignore any law in their way.

      I am DISGUSTED!  The Dems WILL NOT WIN with the weenie strategy.  And they don't deserve to.

      I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

      by beemerr90s on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 10:51:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's Called Hegemony (9+ / 0-)

        The first sympton of a thoroughly hegemonized mind is the delusion that this problem can be addressed solely by electoral politics.

        That delusion is an article of faith for many political activists, an article of faith that lies at the very root of their activism.

        It's time to recognize that without an uncivil sector of the public that will react in uncivil ways to continuing depredations against fundamental human rights, both here and abroad, Democratic leaders will continue their eager complicity with War Crimes, Torture, Crimes Against Fundamental Constitutional Rights, and other High Crimes and Misdemeanors.

      •  I know, I know,,, but,, (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        conchita, beemerr90s, rlharry, snazzzybird

        I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part.
        Bluto: We're just the guys to do it.
        D-Day: Let's do it.
        Bluto: LET'S DO IT!

               All kidding aside, sometimes you have to take a stand, win lose or draw. Many potential voters are apalled at the state of the country and the refusal of Congressional Democrats to take a stand just reinforces the notion that below a superficial veneer both parties are really the same.

        CHRISTIAN, n. One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor. A. Bierce

        by irate on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 11:02:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Can you imagine... (0+ / 0-)

      if a Democratic president had perpetrated any one of the crimes of G. Dubya and Dead Eye Dick?  He/she would already be in prison.  9/11, Katrina, Not only spying, but bragging about spying illegally, Politization of the Dept. of Justice and every other Department in government, illegal and secret energy task force meetings, ruining an entire country and killing millions based on contrived intelligence, revealing the identity of a covert CIA agent, TORTURE, and the list goes on.  

      If the Dems don't impeach, I am worried about a false flag incident which will  give King George his dream:  war with Iran and/or declaring martial law in America.  He's got his Blackwater and Halliburton infrastructure in place to quash any and all dissent.  And he's got the courts ready to back him.

      "Extreme violence has a way of preventing us from seeing the interests it serves." Naomi Klein

      by rlharry on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 02:48:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  the threat of veto should NEVER (6+ / 0-)

    stop congress from doing its part.  it's something i disagreed with when they were in the minority, and again now.

    make bush veto a bill against torture.
    make bush veto a bill against health care for children.

    meanwhile, get special counsel to investigate the justice department.  we know that's just the tip of the iceberg, but aggressively go there, push impeachment, and start pushing bills to the pres's desk.  make HIM the time waster.

    the democrats do WAY TOO MUCH strategerizing, calculate the "what ifs" and then, inevitably conclude that taking the action anyway is not worth it.  this is a mistake.  the country is behind them.

    furthermore, i highly suggest people in red states or with red reps/senators to not let them off the hook for accountability.  whether or not they do so in practice, their first oath is to the constitution and there is NO REASON IN HELL we should be giving them a pass for failing to adhere to it as regards unchecked executive power.

    •  Bush again vetoed SCHIP (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      conchita, bablhous

      Nada was heard in MSM.

      •  Don't need the MSM as much this year (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        glitterscale

        This is an election year. The Dems don't have to rely on the mainstream media as much to get a message out. Every Presidential candidate has a soapbox - although some soapboxes are larger than others - and the closer we get to votes being cast, the more people are paying attention.

        Let the President veto bills against torture, against spying on American citizens, against children's health. Let the veto overrides fail because of Republican support for the veto. Then get our candidates out with huge megaphones screaming to the public about what just happened.

        Let the opposition have to vocally defend morally reprehensible policies.

        The Republican Creed: Pray and Pass the Ammunition

        by johninPortland on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 01:17:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Same with the filibuster. (6+ / 0-)
      Don't have the votes to get by a filibuster? Can't twist a few arms, even bribe a few Republicans with earmarks? (Hey, it's the way politics is supposed to work in Washington, right?) Fine, let debate continue. That's what a cloture motion is for, right? It ends debate.
      If you need to move on to something else, fine. Table it, and move on to the next item. Majority controls the agenda, right?
      Don't just fold and schedule a vote on the President's version! Why would anyone compromise, if they know they'll get what they want.

      Same with vetoes. Send him a bill. Let him veto it. If you can't override, okay, try again later.

      And frame the damn issue right.

      "Part of the Republican minority used a filibuster to block a bill with bi-partisan majority support."

      "The president has vetoed the Congress's bill that provides" -- healthcare for children, the money the troops need, whatever.

      I get that we may not be able to get the votes needed and some compromise will be necessary, but I can't understand that the Democratic leadership doesn't even seem to be trying to frame the debate in their own favor.

    •  jj24, (0+ / 0-)

      They don't listen to the people anymore--either party.  And the constitution is just a quaint little historical document of no value.

      "Extreme violence has a way of preventing us from seeing the interests it serves." Naomi Klein

      by rlharry on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 12:26:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I've Got the First Step.... (5+ / 0-)

    Towards towards getting out of the "hole" we're in.  Tell Harry Reid and the other Senate Capitulators to STOP DIGGING!

    In this game of poker, the only possible way to win is to call Bush's bluff and continue to send him the legislation he does not want, or at least what you can get past a Repub. filibuster.  Why are they afraid of Mr. 20%.  Granted Gingrich called Clinton's bluff and lost (is that what they are afraid of?), but Clinton was never Mr. 20%.

  •  Bush is not a rational man. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    johninPortland, rlharry, neroden, SemDem

    I believe that when he threatens to veto anything the Dems can come up with, he does it out of spite and nothing more.

    Remember, HE is the Decider.  If he capitulates to or compromises with the Dems, he believes he will appear weak and being seen as weak is something he cannot abide.  It is a game with him.  Show the Dems that they cannot get the better of him.  He must prevail at all costs.  If what the Dems propose makes sense, he will still veto it.  It is ultimate test of the macho mentality.

  •  We're living through (6+ / 0-)

    a period of nascent fascism. For example this hyper-aggressive Bush move to still dissent among Military lawyers:

    http://www.boston.com/...

    The Republic is flat-lining and our democrats are acting like maggots, feeding on the corpse, not trying to raise the dead.

    Who controls the past, controls the future. Who controls the present, controls the past. George Orwell

    by moon in the house of moe on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 10:42:33 AM PST

  •  There is No way Bush can force (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SemDem

    Congress to stay is session. The Dems. gave in. If they would just play out the clock on Bush he would except defeat. But he knows they have no balls.

    "Though the Mills of the Gods grind slowly,Yet they grind exceeding small."

    by Owllwoman on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 10:44:16 AM PST

    •  There is, actually. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      conchita

      Well, insofar as anyone pays attention to the Constitution, anyway.

      Article II, section 3 says "he may, on extraordinary occasions, convene both houses, or either of them." Which means he can put them back in session or hold them there if he deems it necessary.

      They could, of course, try to skip work and see what happens.

      •  But they don't have to do his work. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Janet Strange, rlharry, bablhous

        They can sit in pro-forma session, which they need to do anyway to prevent recess appointments.

        -5.63, -8.10 | Impeach, Convict, Remove & Bar from Office, Arrest, Indict, Convict, Imprison!

        by neroden on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 11:23:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  What were the dynamics in August? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          hyperstation

          Bush told the public that attacks were imminent, and that Congress' inaction was making it worse. Now, the dynamic exists again, with the new FISA bill sunsetting in February.

          Yes, they can just sit on their hands. But politically, doing so requires them to counteract the president's meme.

          They're not doing it, and if they were capable of doing it, they'd have done so already, because this has been the meme for six years now.

  •  The Republicans did not behave in this way (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlharry, bablhous, neroden, SemDem

    post-1994 when they took control of Congress under a Democratic president. Yes they did back down on some things, but I never saw the amount of capitulation and caving from Gingrich-Hastert Congresses during the popular Clinton administration as we are seeing right now at the tail end of an unpopular and lame duck president. There might be some institutional problems here at work, but it boils down to where the Congress draws a line. They control the money, they control the ultimate tool for government to function and they refuse to use that power for anything! I'm not advocating a government shutdown here....but there are areas to strategically use the purse strings to get the Executive branch to submit to Congress's will, yet they refuse.

    The problem is either that Democrats are simply wimps by nature, or a significant portion of them are just fine with Republican policies and don't care to stop them. Probably a combo of both.

    "People place their hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution. They don't put their hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible." --J.R.

    by michael1104 on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 10:44:50 AM PST

    •  The Economy Controls the Money and the Access to (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Alexander G Rubio, ActivistGuy

      the people.

      This isn't about political parties, it's about the most basic fact of how the nation operates and who's in charge.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 10:51:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The economic collapse is important here. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rlharry, Alexander G Rubio

        You don't seriously think that the rich people watching the banking system collapse approve of complicity with Bush right now?

        No, there's more to it than that.  Bush and Cheney are fanatics with a group of fanatics following them.  They are trying to destroy the country's political system and replace it with a theocratic fascist dictatorship, and they're startlingly successful so far.

        The business elite for the most part wants no more to do with this than anyone else.  Consider the recent attempted kidnapping of a British businessman in Canada (rather than using extradition procedures, the US government just decided to kidnap him.)

        My analysis is the same as Krugman's: people just can't believe what's actually happening, so they are in denial.  Most of Congress is in denial.

        -5.63, -8.10 | Impeach, Convict, Remove & Bar from Office, Arrest, Indict, Convict, Imprison!

        by neroden on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 11:27:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  They also moved heaven and earth (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rlharry, neroden, snazzzybird, armadillo

      on countless investigations to hamstring the President. Imagine if GWB had to undergo the scrutiny of a Gingrich Congress.

  •  Maybe the Rs have made the Democrats in Congress (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    neroden

    sheep. They just follow where they are told to go.

    Edwards is the candidate who can lead them in a new direction. Edwards is the only candidate who is not afraid of the neocons. He will call them out on what they are doing, and not be afraid to LEAD through the triple A, which will be raining down on him. He will be the one to lead Congress to the progressive agenda.

    The neocons are so scared of Edwards, they dare not say his name. They won't let him on the teevee if they can help it. The Rs recognized that Edwards was the future of our party before the Democrats did.

    I am all Edwards, and I am all in.

  •  OK let's examine the situation (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlharry, snazzzybird

    Anything GWB vetos will not be overriden and he will veto anything he doesn't like.
    An executive order does not say what it says but says what the President says it says at the time he says what it says and this is subject to change every 10 minutes, even if the President contradicts himself at every turn.
    Finally, a signing statement trumps whatever law is passed so that even if a veto is overriden, the President can simply ignore those parts of the law he does not agree with.  The same for any court decision as well.  
    Therefore, in this atmosphere, it seems the only thing we can do is wait for GWB to formally abdicate.  

    •  Keep in mind (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rlharry, Alexander G Rubio

      Keep in mind that what we are currently witnessing is the inner workings of an "Imperial Presidency" where Congress is nothing more than a "glorified debating society".  George Bush makes the final decisions for this country - not Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi...etc..they are there to actually enable the Imperial President.

      It's Sad..but true...and the evidence is all around us everyday.  It's hard to accept, but unfortunately it's true and has been going on for quite a few years...

  •  Career politicians, I think. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlharry

    On both sides of the aisle, that is what is tearing us apart.

    Mostly just a bunch of unaccomplished knuckleheads who have won popularity contests.

    Mostly no substance at all levels of government.

    "I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency."

    by Big Nit Attack on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 10:45:47 AM PST

  •  Where do they get their power? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hyperstation, rlharry

    We hear a great deal about the dumbing down of America, justifiably so.  It would seem this dumbing down extends to the very top of the political elite.  Where do they think they get the powers of their offices, where do they think their very offices come from?  The Presidency, the Congress, these are not facts of nature, they are artifacts of the Constitution.  To hold these offices, while at the same time ignoring, undermining, or refusing to uphold the Constitution and the order that emanates from it, puts in question the legitimacy of the system itself, and their right to exercise power and authority over the people.  From the basic principles of constitutional republicanism, without a valid and operative constitution, all power,  all sovereignty reverts to the people ourselves, not to the officeholders in the offices created by the Constitution which they themselves are rendering a dead letter.  

    •  Who wrote this? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hyperstation, ActivistGuy

      Someone wrote this and I copied it, but didn't get the author.  (I apologize) I think he/she says it all:

      It won't stop, unless and until the people refuse to take it any more.

      We've contented ourselves with being subjects, when we should have been citizens. We've contented ourselves with being led when we should have been governed. We've put up with being entertained, when we should have demanded to be informed.

      Until and unless we demand a government that does its fucking job-- securing for us the exercise of the rights that the creator gave us, and that no one can take away-- we will suffer the masters we deserve, and vice versa.

      "Extreme violence has a way of preventing us from seeing the interests it serves." Naomi Klein

      by rlharry on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 02:30:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I thought Reid said...... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dogheaven

    pro forma meetings are already planned for every three days to prevent recess appointments over Congressional breaks.  

    Seriously, George can just go and stuff it.

    BushCo Policy... If you aren't outraged, you haven't been paying attention. -3.25 -2.26

    by Habanero on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 10:46:32 AM PST

  •  The obvious answer, many D's are in on the game. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bablhous, greenskeeper

    Unfortunately, it appears that this is all a game to many of our Democratic legislators- they just have to come up with an appropriate excuse to support the particular anti-democratic, pro-big money item that happens to be on the agenda at the moment. And there are so many excuses to choose from, they never have to use the same one twice. They can pick whatever will sound best when Wolf (or any of the too highly paid to ask tough questions talking heads) read the Republican talking points.

    The appeal of being seen as a "moderate" (as played on T.V.) is that they get to embrace the cold hard cash a pro-corporate agenda brings them, without being labeled as part of the radical Republican right, even though their sell outs continually advance the radical anti-democratic agenda of Bush & Cheney.

    •  It makes sense (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rlharry, bablhous

      if this were poker, since the thread has used this metaphor, I would be surprised to see a plunger like GWB not get cleaned out. I would expect him to win his share of pots and even win some big pots. Where I would expect to see him lose his shirt is in his inability to fold a bad hand or to walk away from the table.
      It is when he is running a bad hand that I would expect to see him take a shellacking. Instead, as with SCHIP, he manages not only to survive but even to win a small pot.  At that point, I have to look at the dealer and spectators wondering if the dealer is feeding him cards or if a spectator is tipping the other hands.
      In this case, I would start with the dealer.    

  •  So why doesn't Congress just... (9+ / 0-)
    keep passing the funding bills they want them (letting The Jerk veto 'em) until the country and the war come to a standstill. Then they can say, "We PASSED the bills , but the president/Republicans are preventing them from being implemented." Say it over and over. Great for '08.
    •  That seems the best approach to me (3+ / 0-)

      it puts both the political and constitutional questions in play at the same time, in a light that favors both the Democrats politically and the restoration of the checks and balances constitutionally.

    •  Why the majority party ever lets a bill (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rlharry, neroden

      they don't like get out of committee I'll never understand.

      One idea would be to separate the issues.  Put forward a bill with one thing--how we will end the occupation.  Once that gets passed we can then pass funding bills that are in alignment with ending the occupation.

      If he doesn't pass the bill focused on ending the occupation, NO BILL leaves committee with ANY funding for the occupations.

      When the money runs out, someone walks up to Pouting King George, puts their arms around his shoulders and says "It's over George.  Time to bring them home."

      Paraphrasing Macchiaveli, the only reason the Democrats have no power is because they exercise none.

      "The Universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it." Marcus Aurelius "I'm a gun carrying member of the ACLU" me

      by Mosquito Pilot on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 11:30:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Dems too scared... (0+ / 0-)

      to "shut down" the government.  They're a bunch of wimps cowering in fear from Bush's right wing hate monger buddies like Hannity and Limpballs.

      What the cowardly Dems don't understand,  is that at this point,  the only way to get beyond the Thuglicans' impasse--on every single piece of legislation they (Dems) propose,  is to shut down government or to impeach.  Because as has been stated in previous comments,  much more eloquently than I could argue, the Thugs don't give a rat's ass about compromising.  It's all about preserving their power at all cost.

      "Extreme violence has a way of preventing us from seeing the interests it serves." Naomi Klein

      by rlharry on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 12:12:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Another fantastic diary! (3+ / 0-)

    I wish I had time to hang around and talk about this diary with everyone....but I don't.

    I just wanted to let you (KAGRO X) know how much I appreciate your excellent diaries!

    01-20-09: THE END OF AN ERROR

    by kimoconnor on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 10:49:11 AM PST

  •  the solution is Obama (0+ / 0-)

    Don't mean to hijack this thread -- Kagro wrote a very thoughtful and important post here. But I would suggest that the dynamic between the White House and Congress certainly won't change unless and until we put a Democrat back in the White House, and specifically one a) whose entire provenance and demeanor transcend the partisan warfare of the Clinton/Bush era, and sorry, that ain't our populist, hate-corporations hero, JRE; b) is, in his own right, a Constitutional scholar with a deep understanding of and love for that document; and c) has crossover appeal to help produce a Democratic landslide and even larger Congressional majorities.

    We can clean it all up. It's all in front of us, waiting for us to grab it. I thought for awhile that Gore might be the one. I was wrong -- it's Obama. It is blindingly clear to me that Obama represents the next era in American politics.

    "Sorry this is such a long letter, but I didn't have time to write a short one." -- Rudyard Kipling

    by Reviser on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 10:49:22 AM PST

  •  Mutual Assured Destruction (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alexander G Rubio

    Is the only game shown to hold "nuclear options" in abeyance, when the game is total war.

    The Republicans are always happy to have a war to fight, and happiest when they can fight it as total war.

    In this circumstance, the only functional legislative and electoral option for the Democrats is to stop playing at politics and go to war.

    The problem is that Democrats prefer the appearance of civility above all else.

    There is only one solution to this problem, and that is to make it clear through public action that there will be outbreaks of disorder, incivility and disruption of business as usual so extreme that the Democrats are faced with a fundamental question: do they address it by a law enforcement crackdown aimed at their base, or do they address the underlying grievances by putting their legislative operations on the same war footing as the Republicans already have.

    The former will cost them their seats and will also cost the country its complacency, the latter will cost them their continuing complicity with the unspeakable, along with their pose of civility.

    The choice is clear.

  •  Constituion Is Designed to Work Like This (8+ / 0-)

    Just not anticipated. The framers assumed that society had so many competing interests that there would not be such a thing as lockstep support for a President. But there is, because the world has outgrown their systems and its design.

    I said immediately after the 06 election that the Republicans would go into full shutdown mode in congress, and Bush would escalate his policies and rhetoric.

    My reasoning was that they have nothing to gain from not doing this and only to lose from cooperation.

    They're not a political party in the historic sense, they're a coalition taking over the country and dismantling all popular governance that can interfere with private power.

    They represent almost the entire institutional world, from business which includes our dominant communication systems, to the military-security sector, to authoritarian religion.

    With these interests all oppositional to the people, and the people utterly uncompetitive in the free world against them, there is no longer a logistical way for a mainstream party to represent the people above private power.

    The plain fact is that nobody actually knows how to operate this government democratically any longer.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 10:50:21 AM PST

    •  goose... (0+ / 0-)

      so we go back to the drawing board.  How do we do that peacefully, I wonder?  I know what the ends are, but what means can we use when we've come to such a pass?  If we primary out the idiots with the calcified thinking, that takes time.  I'm not even sure how much time, but certainly no less than 4-6 years, more likely a decade or more.  In the meantime, we sink further and further into an economic, political, and social morass that will be more and more difficult to get out of.  

      Am I missing something?

      If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy -- Teacher Ken, Kossack extraordinnaire

      by billlaurelMD on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 11:31:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  RE: Telecom Immunity... turn their argument back (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Orj ozeppi, bablhous, dogheaven

    around on them...

    Proponents of the illegal warrantless wiretapping of US citizens are fond of saying "well, if you've done nothing wrong, why do you care... what do you have to hide"?

    Conversely, if the Telecoms have done nothing wrong, why do they need immunity?

    George W. Bush... wiretapping the Amish since 2001...

    by ThatSinger on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 10:50:24 AM PST

  •  Our true policy should be judicious retaliation (0+ / 0-)
    1. Take away the false flag terror capabilities of the government.

    Once we do away with secret government we can conduct a thorough investigation in the aftermath of an attack to determine the perpetrators, with some confidence that it wasn't a self-inflicted wound.

    1. Demand that the government of the society from which  the attacks originated carry out key reforms in a submissive and apologetic manner.
    1. If they don't, then side with liberal forces within the country and replace the government.
    •  As applied to 9-11 (0+ / 0-)

      this policy would have looked like this:

      1. conduct a public investigation into the possibility that it was a self-inflicted wound first. Answer every question and leave no doubt.
      1. If it was shown that our government did not by act or failure to act, allow our nation to be attacked, we issue ultimatums of change to the Saudis et. al.
      1. If the Saudis don't change to our satisfaction and with a spring in their step, bomb the government, and ever subsequent illiberal government until they get it right.
      •  What we did (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rlharry, bablhous

        was

        1. Conduct a shady investigation which didn't find out why the Bush family and the Bin Laden were business partners. Heck, the only plane we allowed to fly was a plane full of Bin Laden's relatives; if anybody would have some info we might find useful, it would have been them.
        1. Paid lip service to reform in the Arab world, and did not demand a thing from the Saudis.
        1. We ultimately attacked the Taleban, which was good, and gave everything to the Northern Alliance and other allied warlords. And we attacked Saddam, who had nothing to do with 9-11, and until recently, we resisted shiite domination.

        And we ask why we have the problems we do? It is a direct result of the abandonment of realism for neocon idealism.

  •  We've let the rethugs off the hook (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hyperstation, rlharry

    and yet they are the basis of the problem.  It is like a cabal or syndicate.  They all know what is happening and they condone it and act FOR the illegal acts that the bush bubble does.  So, if we were to look at it as a conspiracy, I think the rethugs would all be convicted.  But that happy thought is for another day and another dimension.

    What holds this cabal together?  Obviously they don't care about the constitution or legality or ethics.  The corruption is rampant and they don't care about that either.  Why not?  Why are we not marching on DC for them to resign and take their cabal with them?  

    •  'Cause marching doesn't work. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      x, rlharry, mightymouse

      The cabal doesn't care about marches
      either.

      We have to find another tactic to get rid of them.

      -5.63, -8.10 | Impeach, Convict, Remove & Bar from Office, Arrest, Indict, Convict, Imprison!

      by neroden on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 11:29:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And what is that magic tactic? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        hyperstation, x

        Inquiring minds want to know.

      •  actually, marching doesn't work if (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        glitterscale, x, mightymouse
        1. there aren't enough people marching because too many believe that it's an ineffective tactic.
        1. marching people are unwilling to march enough and stay there long enough and sacrifice enough to make it work. In terms of nonviolence, this means a willingness to conduct civil disobedience to the point of being beaten, imprisoned, and killed. I don't think enough of us think it's that bad yet. Heck, history and current world politics shows that most of the time people can be coerced into accepting repressive forms of government and don't ever rise up enough to change things through democratic measures.
        1. you believe that since the cabal "doesn't care about marches" that negates the efficacy. I bet they would care if we had 10 million people camping out in the center of DC. It's not likely the press would ignore that, and even if they spun it as "those crazy lefties" I think with big enough numbers enough of the country would think differently about it even if they were watching it on Faux. (Most of the country thinks we should be out of Iraq, despite the sycophantic press.) Can we get a critical mass? Unfortunately, I have my doubts. But I don't think marches are off the table because they "don't care about them."

        It is a difficult path to change, and I'd certainly prefer another, less difficult one. Show me one that is promising, please.

        -8.38, -8.00 Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice. --Thomas Paine

        by hyperstation on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 03:52:31 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Diving for dollars! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Caldonia

          We can't each afford $2300, but many of us can afford to set aside $5 or $10 for each insult we'd like to address, & when we've got $25 set aside, we hand it to the candidate who expresses the will to stand for us.  That way we have a pony in the race.  If enough of us do it, Our pony might win.

          $5 & $10 could mean a lot to our pony, esp if he has committed to not take $ from the corps.

          Let's get a "ka-ching!" thing going on.  I can spare $25/month.  Maybe a tad more sometimes.  If enough of us chip in, we could see one of our own in the WH in '09.

          Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

          War is outdated. Dalai Lama

          by x on Sun Dec 16, 2007 at 07:55:32 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  FIRST STEP Dkos orgnanizes its members to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    neroden, dogheaven

    campaign legislators to vote out Reid/Pelosi as Majority leaders--and replace them with fighting Dems.  (Dodd or Feingold in the Senate; Murtha on the House)

    Nothing will change if we don't have new leadership that refuses to capitulate.

    Work on that, and then I'll give you the next step.

    The Seminole Democrat
    A blue voice calling from the deep red

    by SemDem on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 10:55:20 AM PST

  •  Republican lawmakers will wilt . . . (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlharry

    . . . if the President's tactics force the Congress to remain in session. The way I see it, this can become a (winning) game of chicken between the Democratic and GOP members in Congress, because if those GOP members have to choose between perfectly acceptable legislation  and staying in session, well, the do-nothing 109th Congress already revealed the GOP's preference there. (I readily admit that the "perfectly acceptable legislation" isn't the preference of those GOP members, but I doubt they'd be willing to stay in D.C. to fight for the President's right to impliedly wield legislative authority.)

    In short, all it will take to get the GOP members to provide the necessary shortfall to override this obstinate President's veto is a little guts on the part of the Democratic majority and a little sacrifice on the part of all members of Congress (instigated by said gutsy Democrats). Only then will the GOP members realize the consequences of their kowtowing to the President, and only then will they wilt.

    •  The problem is.. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Alexander G Rubio

      The problem with this strategy is you have to assume the Democrats are not willingly enabling Bush - but in reality they actually are.  Democrats are in fact part of the problem and are willing participants in all of this!!

      What's happening now is ordinary citizens are just now becoming aware of something that has been going on for years.  There are No GOOD GUYS and BAD GUYS HERE...Believe me - they are ALL BAD GUYS!!

  •  If we had a Republican-controlled Congress (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlharry

    and a Democratic president who was doing the same thing as Emperor Dubya is doing now, they would be impeaching the guy right now.  Even if they didn't currently count enough votes to convict in the Senate, they'd be impeaching in order to embarrass and put the spotlight on him and uncover other things.

    We're seeing in stark relief that the governmental setup the Founders put into place works only when all parties involved are relatively reasonable.  The methods of keeping Congress from getting out of control are relatively clear - 2-year elections in the House plus the presidential veto plus the fact that it's hard to get that many people to march in lock-step consistently enough to override constant vetoes.

    The method for keeping the president from getting out of control is impeachment, and to a lesser degree Supreme Court decisions.  And here we have a flaw in the Founders' thinking.  These were men who overthrew a king in the colonies through hard and bloody warfare and created a brand-new country, so it is perhaps not surprising, in hindsight, that they may have underestimated the difficulty of a successful impeachment, much less conviction, of a president who truly deserves it.  Nor, I suspect, could they have imagined anything like the 2000 Supreme Court decision that installed Bush.  They were also dealing with population numbers and land mileage significantly smaller than today's, which meant that Congresspeople back then were much more directly answerable to their constituents, and I don't think they could have comprehended today's numbers either.  And finally, modern weaponry has advanced to the point that any successful armed revolution - the final option, mentioned in the Declaration of Independence - must necessarily include the nation's military siding with the rebels.  Otherwise, all you get is endless guerilla warfare, which by its nature is virtually impossible to extinguish, but not effective enough to take down a king and begin a new country, as the Founders did.

    Given that this Congress will not impeach, everything does ride on November 2008.  Each of us may prefer this or that candidate, may have more serious with this or that candidate than others, but in the end, all of them are relatively reasonable people who want to be a president, not a king.  With the type of Congress we have - a Congress that refuses to do anything about a president getting out of control, a Congress that continues to prefer collegiality and working together (and mind you, with a different president who wasn't playing king, that's really the kind of Congress we want, not the Congress of Newt Gingrich) - getting a Democratic President is the only thing that will make this government effective again, effective in worthwhile ways rather than country-damaging ways.

  •  Your FISA example (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    neroden

    While I agree with your general thesis, but FISA legislation is not your best example. This is because if Congress fails to pass any new law, there is an old law in place that the Administration doesn't like.

    Part of the mystery here is why Republicans who will be seeking re-election are willing to tie themselves so closely to an unpopular and discredited President.

    Bob in HI

    •  That was the case in August, too. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Alexander G Rubio, neroden

      But they did what he asked. Partly because he sent people to the Hill to tell them behind closed doors that they had "intelligence" that led them to believe -- gasp! -- that Congress itself was being actively targeted by terrorists!

      But mostly it was the fact that he just wanted a new law, and told them he wouldn't let them out of session until they passed it his way, and he'd veto anything that didn't give him what he wanted.

      I think he'd do the same again at the drop of a hat, and frankly I'm surprised he hasn't done it over Iraq.

      He might have done it over the spending bills, too, if the Congress hadn't quietly passed a continuing resolution the other day.

      Did you know they did that, by the way?

  •  I love that you're inviting public strategic (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    neroden, Miss Pip, flumptytail, dogheaven

    I love that you're inviting public strategic comment on what is typically closed party strategy.

    I think one of the fundamental problems that the blogosphere faces is the difference between government and party structures.  Stoller and I have been talking about this a lot lately.  In government, there's a certain presumption of open information access, where the party structures operate under the incentive structures of self-preservation.

    This means they will do a poor job of benefitting from the democratizing force of web communications, building a wall between the supporters and the decision makers.  A publicly held company is (supposed to be) accountable to the shareholders, and when they weren't, Sarbanes-Oxley sought to reimpose accountability.  We need a Sarbanes-Oxley moment for the Democratic party.

    What form that might take, I don't know.  In open government reform, it makes sense to build architecture around the government that does its job for it, take the fedspending database OMB just released, which started as an OMBWatch projecto--an NGO which the government then emulated.

    I'm not sure how this external architecture model works within the party system, but I can think of a few things going a long way.  For example, ActBlue creates a funding alternative that destabilizes centralized power structures.  Schumer came to DailyKos to find potential Senate candidates.  The blogs clearly supplant and realign the media/pundit ecology.  

    Strategic decisions, however, are far less accessible.  

    Have you ever thought about writing a guide, or a handbook to weilding effective partisan control in a legislature?  I'm sure you could think of a great series of topics to cover, and we've got great inspiration in the republicans.

    I recently gave a talk on innovative advocacy, and one of my points was that MoCs can't ask you to do their work for them, but that you can volunteer to do it anyway.  If you wrote an informed series of strategy guides, focused on procedure, I'm sure the people making those decisions would read it.

    If someone pretended to do KagroX's posts on daily kos for a week, you'd probably read to see how well they do?

  •  Bush/Cheney are holding the country (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlharry, neroden, mightymouse, snazzzybird
    hostage. The Republicans and "moderate" Democrats are holding the country hostage. the ransom they demand is our liberties, our livelihoods in the form of additional debt of ours paid to their contributors, and our very lives, in the case of the troops.

    Congress continues to pay the ransom. But largely, it's not even theirs, it's ours, so what's it to them? Bush/Cheney puts the squeeze on them, they put the squeeze on us, straight-up mafia style.

    When Congress and the courts are exercising their Constitutionally mandated powers and responsibilities, this country can withstand even a President Cheney.

    I think the key disconnect is that voters don't hold their representatives responsible for giving away their powers and responsibilities. And I think that gets back to a free and independent press.

    So long as we're working within the Constitution as written, also elections reform. Ranked-choice voting and similar changes would help undo the two-party system, in which Democratic officials can hold our interests hostage to their power.

    Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

    by Simplify on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 11:06:09 AM PST

  •  Alons enfant! (8+ / 0-)

    The only thing that will work is outright stalemate, paralysis, and revolution. This Congress does not represent the people. They bend to money and enact compromise. Why the brave among us has not reached the halls of Congress is all about money.

    I would wake up to a dream if this Congress would just refuse to pass any budget legislation, damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead. What have they to lose? The trust of the American people? Their satisfaction and approval? They lost that long ago.

    It won't happen, but it is the only thing that would stop this screwball in his tracks.

    CHAOS! We need CHAOS!

    "Even in the valley of the shadow of death, two and two do not make six." Leo Tolstoy

    by Miss Pip on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 11:06:12 AM PST

  •  Look no further than their political strategy: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlharry, neroden

    "Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, who leads the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, insists that the more Republicans block Democrats in Congress, the more seats Democrats will win next year.

    Republicans have to defend 23 Senate seats next year, nearly twice as many as Democrats, who have 12 to defend.

    The Republicans, however, say their strategy will win.

    "I think we are being consistent here against higher taxes, consistently against greater regulation, consistently against creating new causes of action in bill after bill after bill," Mr. McConnell said. "It’s a positive message of our vision of America."

    Senator Schumer is the leader for dems to be reelected and is using the 06 plan.

    They cave to everything like Iraq and then run against it. They are politicians and the only thing they care about is getting reelected.

    Schumer and Feinstein gave us the new AG still blocking investigations like the CIA destroyed torture tapes to keep their strategy working.

    So, this will allow w to get everything he wants and there will be no accountability. The corruption of billions in Iraq will continue so the dems can get reelected.

    Hillary: "It Takes a Clinton to Clean Up After a Bush"

    by gotalife on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 11:06:30 AM PST

    •  If only Republicans were blocking Democrats. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rlharry, gotalife

      When Democrats cravenly support Republicans -- like Schumer and Feinstein with Mukasey, like Reid and Rockefeller with warrantless spying and retroactive immunity for telecoms -- that's NOT Republicans blocking Democrats.  That's Democrats capitulating, and most Americans can tell the difference.
      ("Two Democrats joined Republicans in....")

      -5.63, -8.10 | Impeach, Convict, Remove & Bar from Office, Arrest, Indict, Convict, Imprison!

      by neroden on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 11:39:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  There Is No Congress Any More. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse

    They have some choices:

    1. impeachment
    1. inherent contempt
    1. filibusters
    1. refusing to bring Bush's bills to the floor (let him keep them in session; they don't have to pay attention to his demands).

    These are their POWERS.  If they don't use their POWERS, they are simply a debating society.

    ----
    On the other hand, if they are condemned to be a powerless debating society, maybe there's a way to keep that true with a Democratic President as well as with a Republican President.  This would not be the best option, but better than the scenario you laid out.

    If Edwards becomes President, he has made it clear that he will feel free to bully a Congress which acts like the current one.  So maybe the dynamic will work with a Democratic President -- if it's the right Democratic President.

    -5.63, -8.10 | Impeach, Convict, Remove & Bar from Office, Arrest, Indict, Convict, Imprison!

    by neroden on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 11:08:14 AM PST

    •  We stand perched on that ledge (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      neroden

      So maybe the dynamic will work with a Democratic President -- if it's the right Democratic President.

      That is, the ledge of a government of men, not of laws.

      •  Yep. We'd better start planning for that. (0+ / 0-)

        That is, the ledge of a government of men, not of laws.

        And I don't like that any more than you do.  But if we can't stop it, we'd better get ready to get the right men in.

        Men and women who, after fixing the immediate problems with force, would attempt to set up a government of laws for their successors.

        DeGaulle comes to mind here.

        -5.63, -8.10 | Impeach, Convict, Remove & Bar from Office, Arrest, Indict, Convict, Imprison!

        by neroden on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 11:32:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It might be too (0+ / 0-)

          It appears that it is too late for that...  The choices are limited...and all of them can and will be brutal and require the awakening of the "True American Patriot".  You remember that one don't you? The True American Patriot that finally had had enough, picked up his gun and drew a line in the sand...

  •  PR war, now. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    neroden

    It's time that the DNC established a Department of War and developed a good PR strategy. In fact, it's long overdue.

    Just blast away the Republicans on the air and on the nets.

  •  My only disagreement (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    neroden

    Make no mistake, we must win it, lest another Republican president use the office to lock down the judicial branch as well, and give the sheen of legality to all of this, putting a reversal perhaps hopelessly beyond reach.

    I'd say that has already happened to the judicial. How man SCOTUS decisions lately have fallen down a 5-4 line?

    Somebody really needs to tell the White House that "1984" is a cautionary tale, not a political guidebook.

    by jabbausaf on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 11:09:59 AM PST

    •  We need a court-packing at the very least. (0+ / 0-)

      Better would be multiple impeachments, but that takes an larger majority in the Senate.

      -5.63, -8.10 | Impeach, Convict, Remove & Bar from Office, Arrest, Indict, Convict, Imprison!

      by neroden on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 11:37:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Start by giving every democrat (0+ / 0-)

    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

    A set for Christmas.

    The only way they are going to get their act together is by being more scared of the consequences of not acting. And the fact is, outside of primary challenges, we have precious little influence over them.

    One thing I've thought long necessary is making them accept personal responsibility for their actions. Make them sign a contract with the constituents saying precisely what they will do under certain circumstance, and if they don't live up to the terms, they have to leave. For example - I, Representative Cowardly Lion, will introduce legislation to restore Habeas Corpus within one month of my new term in office, and I will vote affirmatively for such a resolution, or I will leave office immediately upon either condition not being met.

    It's a bad plan, I know, but when we have NO good options, the least bad options are what we have to go with.

    Do Pavlov's dogs chase Schroedinger's cat?

    by corwin on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 11:10:32 AM PST

  •  Unbundle the budget. Completely. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marina

    And start funding things with exclusion clauses forbidding the funding to be redirected without approval from Congress for the redirection.

    Then, treat the Administration as the recalcitrant entity it is.

    Justice: Since the Dept is maladministering justice (examples) and since it is refusing to pursue charges against the administration (examples--and yes, this means that Harry and Nancy need to allow the contempt charges to be voted--and pushed through by whatever means necessary)--provide a budget for Justice that specifically excludes funding for the top level offices that are obstructing justice.

    DoD: Fund things explicitly, and provide money only for the things that are salaries and defense related... and pull funding for Iraq, other than funding for withdrawal operations (explicitly funding in a manner that provides for the care of the troops, etc--but forbids ongoing and new operations that aren't withdrawal-oriented).  Let the GOP obstruct. Shove it through, or let them obstruct.  Let Bush veto. When they wail that there's no bill--repeat that they're the ones keeping a bill from passing into law and offer the same bill for approval (perhaps weekly).

    Etc.

    "I desire what is good. Therefore, everyone who does not agree with me is a traitor." King George III

    by ogre on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 11:12:30 AM PST

  •  Let him veto it all. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rockfish

    It's obvious that Bush has a perpetual full diaper when it comes to compromise - it's his way or the highway. That's how he sees everything. Things have to go his way because he sees compromise as not being manly enough compensation for his otherwise non-manliness.

    Congress should do their job and send him bills. If he wants to shut down the government, let him. As workers are sent home and government programs begin to lose their funding, I bet that you'll have a lot of angry people in this country who finally realize exactly what it is that the federal government does for them.

    Here and now, this is the opportunity that Democrats must take advantage of to show Bush in all his pissy glory. If the Democrats in Congress were even a tenth as confrontational as the people in the grass roots, Bush's ears would be on fire every minute of every day and the GOP would be begging for them to stop.

    Let Bush veto everything. No funding for the war attached to everything else. Go ahead, President Monkey, veto it all.

    Land in your hand you'll be happy on earth Then invest in the Church for your heaven.

    by Splicer on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 11:13:36 AM PST

  •  The danger of debating where to make a stand (5+ / 1-)

    while the rule of law is being systematically undone by the bush group, is stated well by Naomi Wolf in her book The End off America, Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot.

    http://www.amazon.com/...
       

    Many of us have the impression that the Nazi seizure of power had a certain nightmare inevitability about it: We tend to see Nazism as an incomprehensible evil that subsumed Germany like a metaphysical whirlwind or a Biblical curse.

        But that frame doesn't help us learn the lesson we need.

        Hitler could never had ascended to power as he did if the Reichstag had not first cravenly, but legally, weakened Germany's system of checks and balances. Lawmakers who were not Nazis - who in fact were horrified by Nazis - unwittingly opened the door for Nazis to overturn the rule of law, and did so before the Nazis even came formally to power.

    And so while we debate, they dismantle checks and balances and create the legal framework for their once and future illegal actions.

    Who controls the past, controls the future. Who controls the present, controls the past. George Orwell

    by moon in the house of moe on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 11:13:56 AM PST

    •  Yep, this is how fascism takes over. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rlharry

      The Democratic leadership in Congress today are the "Centre Party".  Eternal shame will go with them.

      -5.63, -8.10 | Impeach, Convict, Remove & Bar from Office, Arrest, Indict, Convict, Imprison!

      by neroden on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 11:35:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Are they being blackmailed? (0+ / 0-)

    The reaction by congress suggests that they are being blackmailed.
    Nothing else fits

    To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.

    by nellre on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 11:14:38 AM PST

    •  No..they aren't being blackmailed.. (0+ / 0-)

      No Blackmail going on here!...Democrats are willing participants.  This is how the US Government (Imperial Presidency) functions. It's been going on for years - its just that few ordinary citizens noticed until recently - or I should say until access to information   became more accessible. You can credit the "Internet" for that!  But maybe not for long...

  •  GOP Trying To Create Soviet Style Government (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlharry

    A one-party kleptocracy

  •  It's the 34 Senator gambit (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alexander G Rubio, neroden

    That's what Digby called it, anyway. The Bush administration has exposed a serious flaw in our constitutional system of government - namely, that so long as 34 Senators are willing to support the President no matter what he does, then, short of a coup, he can pretty much do anything he wants until the next election.

    And no, I don't know what to do about it either.

    •  The "do-nothing" response. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rlharry, mightymouse

      As I noted above, Congress can get a lot done by doing nothing.  The war would be defunded, FISA would be restored to its pre-December status, etc., etc.

      But the Democratic leadership is too beholden to Bush to even do that.

      -5.63, -8.10 | Impeach, Convict, Remove & Bar from Office, Arrest, Indict, Convict, Imprison!

      by neroden on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 11:34:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The problem is (0+ / 0-)

        to defund the war by doing nothing, they would have to defund the entire U.S. military, because Bush could simply veto any defense spending bill that didn't have Iraq funds in it.

        The Dems are not about to defund the entire military.

        •  That's cause Congressional Dems are in denial. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rlharry, Alexander G Rubio

          There is no reason not to shut down the entire US military at this point.

          Sorry, but that's the exact problem with Democratic insider thinking: they're treating this as a normal political situation.  It's not.  It's a revolution in progress.  While Bush is trying to turn the military into a political arm of his fascist party (just read the latest diary about politicization of the JAGs), treating this like normal politics is barking mad: defunding the entire military is an appropriate reaction to Bush's attempt to turn the military into his personal bullyboys.

          -5.63, -8.10 | Impeach, Convict, Remove & Bar from Office, Arrest, Indict, Convict, Imprison!

          by neroden on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 11:53:00 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Um, wow (0+ / 0-)

            Okay, I don't really know what to say to that. Defunding the entire U.S. military would leave our country defenseless. It's not something the Dems should do, and it's not something they will do. Period.

            •  No! No! NO! This is the meme you keep repeating!! (0+ / 0-)

              But it's not true!!

              The Dems would not be the one's defunding the military. They pass the legislation!!
              Bush is the one who is choosing the veto and not funding the military!!!

              That is the game of chicken!
              Bush will not defund his own military!  He is a coward!
              He will back down if Congress puts his feet to the fire!!

              And that is what needs to happen! Period!!

              Pay attention, they're lying!: http://www.antiwar.com/orig/porter.php?articleid=10400

              by Fireshadow on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 03:18:22 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  Congress is irrevelant!.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alexander G Rubio

    Whatever Congress does or doesn't do is irrelevant. This is the Bush Imperial Presidency...Bush has ALL the POWER - NOT CONGRESS!  Seperation of Powers between the executive and legislative is a thing of the past...it no longer exists...it ceased to exist decades ago.

    Reid, Pelosi, Hoyer...all of them with the exception of
    perhaps a dozen in both Houses, will do Bush's will! This has been proven time and time again! The country and government are broken some say...some say it operates just as we planned.  The people will not be able to "Fix It" - the task is too daunting and will take much to long!  A Revolution may work if people would actually show some bravery and participate - but we all know America doesn't have the stomach for the "physical fight", - they prefer to watch that on TV! And by the way - did you make sure my SUV is parked in the driveway?  

    I'm betting that "it's over" - "school is out" - what do you think?  Agree ... Disagree?

  •  Democrats are dead (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlharry, Alexander G Rubio

    Sorry, the dems had their chance and they keep on screwing up. They keep caving in and they are just the new bitch in town now that Tony Blair is out of office. I don't know what Bush has on the Dems. It's time they play the game like the Republicans: Fast, dirty and nasty and let the chips fall where they may. Believe me, they have absolutely nothing to lose at this point. They have the respect of no one, so the only way they can go is up.

    http://13martyrs.blogspot.com/

  •  bs. (0+ / 0-)

    Democrats in office are essentially Republicans.  

  •  The sad thing is... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlharry

    ...that this nation was founded and its government carefully crafted to ensure that the whims and quirks of individuals would not determine the destiny of the nation. (Granted, the Founders never envisioned anyone in the office of the presidency with as many quirks as George W.Bush.)  That, arguably, is the fundamental difference between a monarchy and a Republic.

    It is a grotesque failure of our system that Bush and his coven were ever installed in the White House. But it is an outright betrayal that those given the authority, the obligation and the tools to at least blunt -- if not stop outright -- the damage he and his fellow criminals have done to our nation, have so utterly ignored the duty entrusted to them.

    The real failure of the Democrats in congress is that they will not acknowledge that real crimes have been committed, that our entire system is under assault. They pretend that this conflict is merely politics as usual.  They treat every damning revelation as an isolated aberration, instead of the pattern.  They consistently behave as if the rule were the exception.

    You cannot negotiate with someone who has already determined to take everything you have.  That is one of the lessons of history.  Santayana's warning has never been more relevant in our history than it is at this moment.  

    "The Romans brought on their own demise, but it took them centuries. Bush has finished America in a mere 7 years." -- Paul Craig Roberts

    by Roddy McCorley on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 11:41:40 AM PST

  •  History will judge Capitol Hill Dems harshly (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlharry, Alexander G Rubio, neroden

    George W. Bush and his administration destroyed checks and balances and the separation of powers, and the Democratic "leadership" on Capitol Hill allowed it to happen. Why? Because they're so cowardly and such poor debaters that they didn't want to be scolded as "weak on national security".

    I'm not sure whether the damage done by this administration can be repaired, at least in my lifetime. It surely won't be repaired so long as Reid, Pelosi, Hoyer, and Emanuel are around.

    "I'll rant as well as thou."--Hamlet, Act V, Scene 1.

    by Dump Terry McAuliffe on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 11:42:41 AM PST

  •  2008 has some nasty surprises (7+ / 0-)

    coming for most of middle America, and they don't even know it.  Most Americans don't pay attention to the warning signs, they don't see the things that we political junkies see, and they are going to be caught unawares in 2008 and I think that could have a huge impact on the elections.

    The mortgage crisis has escalated into a credit crisis and Bernanke cannot continue to prop the economic dominoes up with tricks and borrowed money.  He is now auctioning loans off to financial institutions at discounted prices on whatever assets they hold, even those assets that are now worthless.  He, of course, is doing this in secret, refusing to tell the American people who are paying for this, which institutions are getting the loans and how much they are getting.  

    The mortgage crisis has only begun, with many people who bought homes with arm's already defaulting on those loans even BEFORE their rates go up.  2008 is going to be very ugly for the housing industry, and there will be record numbers of foreclosures and people will be put out on the street.  Banks will fail, because the FDIC doesn't have the funds cover all of the billions of dollars in losses and there is no liquidity in the markets at all.  Nothing to sell to get a quick influx of cash to ride out a short crisis.  

    The AMT is out there looming to bite 25 MILLION American families in the ass this year and the republicans have killed the patch bill over and over and over again, even the last one that gave them everything they had asked for.  So instead of getting an anticipated refund this year, many families will get a big bill from the government for about $2000.00.

    I think these things are going to have a definite impact on next years elections, more than anything else.  And I also think it is going to shock the politicians right down to their socks.  They seem  to forget the people and we tend to let them if we are comfortable enough, but when the whole middle class begins to get squeezed from every angle, then a sleeping giant is going to be awakened and it will shake Washington to its core.  

  •  oh, for the D's it's always heads you win (0+ / 0-)

    tails I lose

  •  The Second Republic (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlharry, Alexander G Rubio

    Unless the next president is a truly historic and visionary leader who leads the country through the constitutional reforms necessary to dismantle social aristocracy, authoritarian government and the fascist movement, we will have a dictatorship in the near future.

    If our present system cannot produce prosecution of fascist traitors, and necessary constitutional reforms to dismantle the fascist movement, then the People will have to abolish it and establish a Second Republic that does.

    We can do it now, or we can do it after the dictatorship falls. Later will be bloodier, and I prefer to send the fascist criminals to their just reward now. They are relatively few compared to the bloodbath that will occur if they are allowed to continue with their program.

  •  Didn't the Democrats (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlharry

    help dig the hole by allowing the rules to change after they controlled Congress? They should use the powers they have legally and just tie the damn government up. Call Bushes bluff and put impeachment back on the fucking table. The political fictions they are using are self created covers, for their complicity both morally and legally.

    Caving because of procedural structures they have helped implement makes no sense. The balance of power is broken, we do have a constitutional crisis.  They should quit ignoring the truth for really bad political reasons? and do whatever it takes. I heard on Air America some pathetic Democratic congresscritter going on and on about how they didn't need to impeach because America the people had already impeached Bush in it's heart. How's that for insanity! Just go for it and implement the Law the big Law, the Constitution. Apparently they feel that it's not worth it unless they can win? WTF, they lose even their power this way.

    I think that one of the reasons the founders divided the powers between the branches is because lust for power makes it in the best interests of each branch to hold on to and keep their power. This batch seems suicidal, they have weakened the legislative to the point where even if they retain the majority it is a powerless body.      

    "And if my thought-dreams could be seen They'd probably put my head in a guillotine" Bob Dylan

    by shaharazade on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 12:12:56 PM PST

  •  ...too bad there's a Writer's Strike. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlharry, dogheaven

    We could go all Sci-Fi on their asses and have a kickass movie about transporting the original Continental Congress and Minutemen directly to the Congress.

    I'd like to see George the Bush attempt to tell the original George W. -- George Washington -- about Presidentin'.

    Never, never brave me, nor my fury tempt:
      Downy wings, but wroth they beat;
    Tempest even in reason's seat.

    by GreyHawk on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 12:15:51 PM PST

  •  Kagro X, I think this is a fine, fair, (0+ / 0-)

    thoughtful diary that breaks the situation down with great clarity. I wish its thoughtfulness was reflected in the comments, which as far as I've had stomach to read them seem to do little more than flog the horse, like the one in Raskolnikov's dream, burdened with a load it's unable to carry. I like the way you haven't given up seeking a solution, and it seems to me that presenting, and continuing to present the situation in as clear a light as possible contributes much to the eventual solution. You are like a teacher watching a student muddle through the same mistakes over and over, while gently suggesting a way through the impasse. I applaud your patience, and trust that when enough Dems in congress get tired of this demoralizing exercize in futility and failure and start looking for real solutions they will be ready to pick up on the "ideas that are lying around" placed there by sincere helpers of humanity such as yourself. I wish I had more to contribute to the discussion than simply being part of the cheering section, but I really think there's little more you can do than to keep pointing out the obvious and keep pointing out the obvious until someone starts paying attention, which is what people eventually do when circumstances force them to acknowledge that the situation is actually more critical than they had realized.

    "Your point. Their village." --Zhivago to Strelnikov

    by ailanthus on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 12:25:22 PM PST

  •  The best solution to this problem... (0+ / 0-)

    Is time, and the conscientious effort to weed out the weak-kneed in successive elections.

    The reality is, we spent years electing more conservative, more cooperative, more compromising candidates, people, who would not offend the independents and Democrats enchanted with the Republican message.

    That doesn't go away overnight.  The people we've been electing have spent most of their political careers accommodating the rising Republican tide.  In their minds, they are always afraid of a resurgence.  They see our win as a fragile thing.  They've not quite reconciled themselves to the new political reality.

    What we need to do is to get them, and everybody else use to it.  Despairing now won't help.  We have to realize who's in charge, and remind these people.  Let's make sure in the upcoming primaries that the folks in the House and the Senate know exactly how things stand.  Even if we don't remove all of the weak-kneed, we might just give them a better idea of the lay of the land, and let their survival instincts do the rest.  We shouldn't, however, do what the Republicans did, and resign ourselves to this BS.  Only by keeping these people on a short leash, will we see the kind of change we want.  We have to defeat the legacy of the Republican Majority and our own party's unfortunate past, if we are to declare victory on the policy front, like we desire.

  •  We gave them a pass on the war.... (0+ / 0-)

    It's outrageous that those who voted for this war are still in office and a few of them are actually running for and being seriously considered for the next president (Biden, Clinton, Dodd, Edwards and McCain).

  •  Quit making it so easy! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlharry, mightymouse, kovie, Fireshadow

    We've all heard the "realism argument" about the institutional filibuster- and veto-proof majorities we are lacking.  But the choice isn't between impeachment and rolling over.  Here's my suggestions:

    1. Quit caving in to this default "60-votes-to-pass-anything culture" by allowing painless filibusters via unanimous consent of the Senate.  So, the minority wants to block something?  Fine. LET THEM STAND THERE ALL NIGHT and read the phone book EVERY TIME...and let them explain it to the public.  That would be better than the "Democrats fail to pass X by 55-45 vote" headlines we get now.  Theater--Kabuki and otherwise--IS important, given the sorry state of our media and political discourse.
    1. Veto threats...are as effective as you let them be.  Why preemptively surrender to them? Pass a bill that has majority legislative and public support.  If it is vetoed, send Bush the same goddamn bill again and again, and get spokesmen out there to make crystal clear who is blocking the will of the people.
    1. Money:  I'm not clear on all the minutiae, but I know some budgetary measures are not subject to cloture rules, IIRC.  There, the majority can craft and pass the bills they want--and attach the conditions they want.  Assuming, of course, that Dems can stick together as a caucus and take item #2 above to heart.

    Risky? Of course it is. You cannot play this game without taking political risks and having opponents and media flacks say mean things about you.  Dems keep acting as if they could avoid this if they just keep caving and compromising.  

    Or maybe thereisnospoon had it right in a recent diary, and they all know precisely what they're doing (ie. focusing on re-election in their own districts) and none of this is relevant, because they don't want to succeed at governing.  

    Export democracy: Draft a Republican.

    by turbonium on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 12:47:30 PM PST

  •  A procedural question (0+ / 0-)

    Someone over at Greenwald's blog keeps arguing that the reason that Reid & Co. have been so "cautious" is because they're afraid that Lieberman will flip and hand the Pubs the majority. I and other have argued that according to the rules adopted by this senate (i.e. the 110th), that cannot happen even if Dems have fewer seats than Pubs--no matter what, they keep the majority, i.e. control of the floor, committees and assignments, etc.--and that the far more plausible reason for why Reid & Co. are doing this is not to avoid losing their majority, but to maximally increase it in '08, which they fear would be threatened if they showed any teeth right now by meaningfully opposing Bush (there are other reasons, of course, e.g. telcom donations, but this appears to be the big one in my view).

    Is there any chance at all, under current senate rules, or via some really clever and nasty procedural trick by the Pubs, that they could take the majority in the senate in the 110th? Someone (IngSoc) described one pretty far-out "nuclear option" by which they could do this (basically, Joe flips, Cheney rejects the rule that keeps Dems in the majority as out of order, and Pubs take over), but which was highly unlikely to happen because it would effectively shut down the senate and throw congress into open crisis. Any chance that this or something like it could happen, and that this is part of why Reid is being so "cautious"? Or is it mostly, as I believe, about '08, and maximizing their net pickup opportunities?

    0101011101100101 010101000110100001100101 010100000110010101101111011100000110110001100101

    by kovie on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 01:03:08 PM PST

    •  nah... thats bull shit (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kovie

      if one never exercises the power of a majority then they really don't have a majority. Nothing that passed or has not passed would be different if reid was not the boss and a republican was in charge instead.. NOTHING>>
      really, that whole frame of being scared to lose the senate is just silly.. and doesn't make any sense.
      no .. the people who are saying those things are not democrats. The are the infiltrators. They only play being a democrat on a blog or on TV. Schrum for instance.

      •  I tend to agree (0+ / 0-)

        And the person making this claim on Greenwald shows every indication of being a concern troll. Funny how that seems to be going around these days among certain "Democrats". Especially those who claim to be fully "vetted", if you get my drift.

        0101011101100101 010101000110100001100101 010100000110010101101111011100000110110001100101

        by kovie on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 01:42:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I think you have it right. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kovie

      The person who suggested the nuclear option variant is as well, but yes, it's far fetched.

      Still, so was the original nuclear option. And that almost happened.

      This control-taking nuclear option would be a radical departure from just about everything, but in the next day's papers it'd probably "make sense" to people. There are more Republicans, so they should control, they'd reason. And if they wanted some sort of authority for it, they'd play the same ignore-all-context game they play with all constitutional interpretation, and say the Senate has the right to make it's own rules, so nyah.

      And it'd probably stand. And we'd be left holding the bag.

      Even so, that's probably not what's behind Reid's calculations.

      •  I agree (0+ / 0-)

        I don't think that this is why Reid is doing this. I think it has a lot more to do with '08 calculations and telcom lobbying and donations. These are really two separate issues. And this one's far more important and serious than the outside chance that Lieberman's flipping would allow Pubs to steal the majority from Dems.

        A number of commenters who are semi-regulars at Greenwald's blog whose opinion I value weighed in against the latter explanation, and I agree with them. Your qualified concurrance only reinforces my take on this--i.e. outside chance, but not likely.

        0101011101100101 010101000110100001100101 010100000110010101101111011100000110110001100101

        by kovie on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 09:07:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  As it occurs to me (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alexander G Rubio

    We had a gang of 16 to save the phillibuster last congress. Members of the Senate romanced the idea of the phillibuster as a tradition worth saving and now its biting them in the ass. The enemy could careless about intentions,laws,traditions or any other silly notions. This is a war on are Democracy and if the Dems keep retreating to fight another day there gonna end up in Dunkirk. Can anyone gaurantee me Bush has any intention of giving up power or is he gonna pull a Pakistan?  A Putin? Gambling Bush will do the right thing has been futile.

    The pen is mightier than the sword

    by ghett on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 01:13:46 PM PST

  •  I think we are infiltrated by crooks and liars (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlharry

    I think the consultants the democrats use to set their strategys
    are not really democrats.  Note some of the clinton consultants who are now working for the republicans against unions. Yes..
    something is wrong. The dem leadership is listening to and following those guys who are NOT REALLY DEMOCRATS. Who caused Kerry to lose on purpose..(that lose was an inside job).
    The democrats are so infiltrated with traitors that it is impossible to tell who is who..
    Perhaps someone should do a piece picking out those people by using their "actions" versus their words..

  •  FISA is an instance where do nothing... (0+ / 0-)

    Is the best result.
    Bush can't legally compel Congress to stay in session when there is a law in place no matter what happens.
    I respectfully disagree with the above thinking.
    FISA IS the exact place where this fight needs to take place.

    •  A few points: (0+ / 0-)
      1. It's not necessarily my thinking that FISA isn't the place to fight. I just think many Congressional Democrats feel that way.
      1. Bush can legally compel Congress to stay in session.
      1. Yes, Congress could refuse to act anyway, but as I said in answer to a similar question above, in August Bush told the public that attacks were imminent, and that Congress' inaction was making it worse. Now, the dynamic exists again, with the new FISA bill sunsetting in February. They can just sit on their hands. But politically, doing so requires them to counteract the president's meme. They're not doing it, and if they were capable of doing it, they'd have done so already, because this has been the meme for six years now.
  •  It'll take a bigger crisis to rouse the masses... (0+ / 0-)

    It's still the economy, as Carville noted in 1992.

    Until the current unraveling (economic, civil, and political dysfuntion) causes great discomfort to a sizable population, the corporatacracy will write, produce and direct the script for the agenda of Government.

    When the house of cards crashes down, it'll be 52 card pick-up.

    Will it be another reign of terror, declaration of independence, or rise of a hideous totalitarian authority to restore "law and order?"

    Only time will tell. I don't suspect we'll need to wait too long, either.

    -5.5,-5.1... "Party over. Oops. Outta time." Prince

    by David Sternfeld on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 02:01:11 PM PST

  •  Let's just do nothing for another 11 months (0+ / 0-)

    Keep offering up these 50+ bills for their expected vetoes, don't give an inch, and let the people decide who's the bad apple.
    Hint: the people are smarter than our Congressional leadership gives them credit for.

  •  Discovering America (0+ / 0-)

    In Serbo-Croation, the expression that corresponds to our "reinventing the wheel", or just now finding out something long known by the rest of the world, is "discovering America".  So, congratulations on discovering America, some 500 years after Columbus, and welcome to the imperial Presidency, about 65 years after its birth, and 35 years after its widespread recognition as such.

    "But they took care of the imperial Presidency back in the 70s, right, when they impeached Nixon, and passed FISA and the War Powers Act, right?"  Wrong!  

    Impeaching Nixon only took care of the Nixon problem, not the imperial Presidency problem.  In fact, just getting rid of the "bad emperor" and replacing him with a "good emperor" as a response to a President wielding more power than the Constitution grants, was the same as saying that it wasn't the excessive power that was the problem, only the individual wielding it in that case.  Just getting rid of Dubya by impeachment, even if that were practical, would not end the deference that Congress, in our era, seems to think that it owes the President.  It would only say that this President doesn't deserve that deference, and, by implication, all President's who aren't idiotically criminal, or criminally idiotic, enough to get themselves impeached, do deserve that deference.

    Nor did passing half-measure laws like FISA or the WPA do anything but further legitimize the imperial Presidency.  The Constitution gives the war power to Congress alone, and Congress has the duty to keep the decision for war or peace completely in its own hands.  To pass a law ceding any part of that power to the President, however much that was done in the name of limiting the total power over war and peace the unwritten constitution gave the President, is merely to cede something to the Presdient that the Constitution forbids, and thereby to abandon the idea that the Constitutional regime still governs in matters of war and peace.  FISA was an even worse example, since at least there exists a legitimate war power, that Congress is charged with, under the Constitution, while there is no place for a secret police, even were Congress to keep control of it.  But for Congress to not only fund multiple secret police forces, none of them publically accountable at all, and then cede control to the President, and imagine that some law like FISA, that seeks to put some check on Presidential abuse of a fundamentally lawless power, is the the height of self-deceptive folly.  The President simply has to keep the parts of what the secret police are doing that violate the FISA, secret.  FISA simply establishes that Congress concedes that we can't or won't live under the Constitution when it comes to having police that we let operate in unaccountable secrecy, and that only the President can be trusted to run these extra-Constitutional agencies.

    The problem isn't that we have inadequate or otherwise deficient formal laws, or a President who dosn't follow those laws.  The problem is that our unquestioned belief in a wrong-headed conventional wisdom, that only One Leader, not some committee like Congress, can be sufficiently decisive and otherwise competent to run our government, leads, via the fact that we very sensibly don't think that the Constitution is a suicide pact, to a practical implementation of the Constitution, an unwritten constitution, that gives all power to a Unitary Executive.  The way out of this mess is to refute that conventional wisdom.  Dubya has already done a lot of the spadework of creating a favorable climate for the idea that maybe, just maybe, the One Leader is not inherently more competent than the Congress, that it wouldn't be suicidal to have Congress running our wars, or as much of an intelligence establsihment as we really, after public scrutiny of the question, might need.

    All Congress has to do to complete the process of refuting the Fuehrerprinzip that grips our political thinking, is to start taking back control over the government, and demonstrate practically, by at least not running things any worse than Dubya, that Congress can run the government.  The beauty of the power of the purse, is that it can be used with infinite selectivity.  This selectivity shoud be used to take back control gradually, and starting with small things in order to prove the concept, only later moving on to taking back big and important chunks of the government.  Start with getting rid of Nancy Nord, for example, and taking control of the CPSC, and move on to bigger fish, say the DoJ, before you tackle the war and the Pentagon, which should come only at the end of the process, after it has proven itself with easier, less fraught, parts of the government.

    Nothing complcated here. It's like reinventing the wheel -- or discovering America.    

    The way up and the way down are one and the same.

    by gtomkins on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 02:11:51 PM PST

    •  I agree with the sentiment (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mightymouse

      And I've written as much, rather extensively, in the past.

      But we didn't actually impeach Nixon, and I think that the fine distinction between what we did to and what we should have done has contributed mightily to our current situation.

      It's no accident that the assault being led by Cheney has been very specifically targeted against FISA, war powers, federal campaign finance laws, etc. This is specifically about restoring the pre-Watergate presidency, because it was, as they had discovered, well-suited to an aggressive Republican policy of seeking permanent, institutional advantage over the Democrats.

  •  The RepubLicks (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cdreid

    would launch a massive ad campaign listing all the bills the POTUS is threatening to veto, compared to all the bills he signed during the RepubLick Porkfest Congresses.  And they wouldn't be mealy-mouthed, poor us-type ads.  They'd be rock 'em-sock 'em, Harry & Louise on steroids type stuff.

    Open with, "Did you know that the President and the RepubLickan senators blocked health insurance for American children, and are demanding a bazillion dollars to build free clinics in Iraq?"

    "Really!?"

    "Yes!  And they want to retroactively grant immunity to AT&T for illegally spying on everyone in America!"  

    "Here are the 53 Bills in Congress that Prez Bush has threatened to veto, and the Rubber Stamp RepubLickans in congress promise to block or filibuster:..."

    "That does it!  I'm calling  my Senators and telling them to Stop the RepubLickan obstruction now!"  etc...

    War is outdated. Dalai Lama

    by x on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 02:18:12 PM PST

    •  And there is no way (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      x

      these cowards would ever air that ad. If they did the punditocracy would cry foul and be "shocked! Just shocked!". Wherein Reid and Pelosi would appear on every pundits show to apologise. Though they cannot be found when an issue or candidate needs to be pushed. And you'd have a lot of our very own surrendercrat crowd tisk tisking.

      We need Jeffersons and Roosevelts again. Not carters and clintons.

      I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever TJ

      by cdreid on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 03:04:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sigh... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cdreid

        I've never heard a R apologize for anything... but D's apologize for telling the truth!  It's very discouraging.

        War is outdated. Dalai Lama

        by x on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 03:10:14 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Moveon.org (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cdreid, x

        would run the ads, in the sense that they would have the guts to make such ads.  I'm not positive which networks/channels would run them, but if they would run them a LOT on the networks/channels that would run them, and we sent moveon.org money so that they could KEEP running them, even Faux would eventually run the ads, for the money.  These kinds of ads would also help elect Democrats - sort of generic ads that would help all Democratic candidates.  All in all, this is the best, most positive idea I've heard so far.

        •  Sadly (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          x

          we live in an age when the Clinton telecom sellout allows the MSM to simply refuse to air the ads. You see not only do rich/corporate have the right to "speech" via money, they have more of a right than we do, and in fact the right to stop us from speaking. How attorneys can take themselves seriously is beyond me.

          I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever TJ

          by cdreid on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 07:34:08 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Funny (0+ / 0-)

          they're so eager to run Swift Boat lies & CFG attack ads, but if MoveOn attacks, it's tutut, Dems should apologize.  We need some orgs like CFG & Swift Boats to spring into action.  MoveOn is good, but we really need more orgs to start hammering the bastids, rapidfire, so even the Dems can say, "I don't know who they are, & I can't comment on them."  Deniability.  The RepubLicks have used it since the '80's & they're still using it today.  And like the CFG, there should be an inherent threat to Dems imbedded in the message.  RepubLicks are scared shitless of CFG.  

          War is outdated. Dalai Lama

          by x on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 09:41:56 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  With Democrats like this who needs Republicans,. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cdreid

    With Democrats like this who needs Republicans,...!  Let's get rid of bullshit, even if it's served with A! sauce, lets get rid of the weaklings and lets elect strong Democrats.

  •  Fewer words (0+ / 0-)

    Problems Cowardice and corruption

    Solutions Replacement and Prison

    I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever TJ

    by cdreid on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 03:01:51 PM PST

  •  Spineless, jellyfish (0+ / 0-)

    useless as tits on a boar hog. That's what Pelosi and Reid are. Don't think the 2008 election will make a difference in their lack of spine. They will still cave routinely to bushist ideas no matter how large the majority gets. They need to be removed from their positions of power because they don't have the guts or common sense to exercise power for their constituents much less their own beliefs.

  •  On Bill Moyer's Journal (0+ / 0-)

    or maybe it was Washington Now, they addressed this very questions, "What's up with Congress?"  Their answer was that a president has to be careful of using veto power to avoid antagonizing Congress and motivating Congress to work against a president's pet projects in retaliation.  Makes Congress seem like a bunch of children.  They went on to say that lame duck presidents generally are less reluctant to veto, and this president in particular has nothing left to lose because he already lost his two pet projects: Immigration and Social Security privatization.  

  •  We need a constitutional amendment (0+ / 0-)

    It finally sunk in the other day.  When the Senate passed the Energy Bill, and stopped to put back in billions of dollars in subsidies to the oil companies - that's when it finally sunk in for me.  Our federal  government is a fully owned subsidiary of Big Oil, inc.  That's all it is and all it ever will be, unless we change something now.  Think of it - the same week as the big Climate Change Conference in Bali, with the U.S. government throwing up obstruction at every angle, after years of increased oil prices, after a trillion dollar war to steal Iraqi oil... the oil companies still needed extra subsidies from the U.S. taxpayer.

    This is something even the reddest of red state voters can understand.  They might support torture and illegal war and cruelty to the poor - but surely even the biggest suckers out there can understand that their tax dollars are going directly to line the pockets of Big Oil, in spite of or no matter how much they pay them at the Pumps.

    That's why we need a constitutional amendment.  One that makes sure all elections are publicly funded, and that no lobby group is ever allowed to buy a member of Congress again.  I've looked into the way constitutional amendments are done, and I know we can't count on Congress to help... the people we have in there now are nothing but puppets.  But there is another way, a way that's never been used.  We'd need to get 38 states to attend a constitutional convention, then get the state legislatures to vote on the proposed amendment.  It might work at the state level, because people have a better chance to reach their state officials.  

    If people think this is a good idea, I think we'd want to start organizing it right away.  There is really no time to waste.  Lately I have been seeing a quote everywhere, something to the effect that democracy can only last as long as the people don't realize they can vote themselves money... then it's all over.  But that's not true.  What really happened was that democracy only lasted until big multinational corporations realized they could buy themselves a government - and then that government could pass on taxes collected from the people directly to them.  I think our choices are either a constitutional amendment, or democracy is deader than the dodo.

  •  Very Birilliant Post (0+ / 0-)

    Thank you for this analysis.  You've have pretty much summed up the constitutional crisis.  And it is a constitutional crisis.

    To quote Lenin:  What is to be Done?

    This aggression will not stand, man.

    by kaleidescope on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 07:31:33 PM PST

  •  Do It Like They Did.. (0+ / 0-)

     It starts with the message.  You have to define your message like an ad agency would, AND define the gooper message as what it is.  Then go from there.  It is nasty, but we live in a world of mindless boobs that decide the future of our country.  Treat them the way Proctor and Gamble does.  I would campaign year round with soft message of goopers evil, dems good.  I'd teach every candidate from dogcatcher up to never open his mouth without using language that damages goopers and strengthens dems.  Content is less important than getting the "message" across.
     The big advantage is the gooper message is so evil, that if properly presented, it melts their already declining base.  Why do you think they spend so much capital on criminal theft of votes? It's because they looked in the crystal ball and saw blue America.
     

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