Skip to main content

Daily Kos appears to be in a state of uproar once again to the tune of three recommended diaries, and a number of front-page stories.  By voicing their displeasure with the potential appointment of Leon Panetta, Senators Feinstein and Rockefeller have become, according to the headliners, Bush-enablers, pro-torture and anti-Constitution, and whiners.

At the risk of being obtuse, I'd thought I present a counter explanation, that seems, at least to me, to be rather compelling.  From day one of the transition, the Obama Administration has made every effort to build political capital for upcoming legislation battles.  We saw this most recently in the Rick Warren hubbub.  Other examples were Nancy Pelosi, the figurehead for liberalism on conservative talk radio, actively picking a media fight with the President-Elect, and the large number of Blue Dogs selected as potential appointments.

Even the selection of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State spoke to the Administration moving towards inclusive political ground.  The way New York Senator was somehow able to turn herself from liberal punching bag to the working class candidate during the extended primary.

Which brings us to the topic du jour, torture.  It's hard to consensus on this issue, but most polls suggest that Americans are relatively strongly opposed to the use of torture:

CNN, 11/16/07:

Asked whether they think the U.S. government should be allowed to use the procedure to try to get information from suspected terrorists, 58 percent said no; 40 percent said yes.

Pew, 10/24/05

Do you think the use of torture against suspected terrorists in order to gain important information can often be justified, sometimes be justified, rarely be justified, or never be justified?

Often  15%
Sometimes  31%
Rarely  17%
Never  32%
Don’t know/refused  5%

ACLU, 10/4/07

# End torture: "make it clear that the policy of the United States is to oppose torture and follow the Geneva Conventions" (Democrats 80 percent, Independents 87 percent, Republicans 74 percent)

The ACLU's agenda must be taken into account when interpreting their numbers.  But their statistics are particularly interesting, suggesting that there may be a division on this issue between voters (the people politicians care about) and non voters (the ones left behind).  Furthermore, I'm willing to believe that there is relatively strong public opposition to torture given that both Presidential candidates, the Republican and the Democrat, campaigned on the platform of eliminating torture.

So, while it's certainly fun to target Feinstein and Rockefeller with all the energy we can muster, this is probably just more of the same: political theater.  Feinstein and Rockefeller's oppositions creates a mini-controversy that raises the profile of the torture issue, allowing President-Elect Obama to earn political capital that he can cash in once legislating begins.  

Originally posted to such sweet thunder on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 09:12 AM PST.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

tmo

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site