It appears the Democrats can behave like a supine minority while in the majority:
A furious push by the White House to broaden its wiretapping authority appeared on the verge of victory on Friday night after the Senate approved a measure that would temporarily give the administration more latitude to eavesdrop without court warrants on foreign communications that it suspects may be tied to terrorism.
The House is expected to take up the White House-backed measure on Saturday morning before going into its summer recess.
Democratic leaders acknowledged that the bill would probably pass.
Democrats in both the House and the Senate failed to pass competing measures on Friday that would have included tougher judicial checks and oversight on the eavesdropping powers.
The White House and Congressional Republicans hailed the Senate vote as critical to plugging what they saw as dangerous gaps in the intelligence agencies’ ability to detect terrorist threats.
“I can sleep a little safer tonight,” Senator Christopher S. Bond, the Missouri Republican who co-sponsored the measure, declared after the Senate vote.
Are we really passing legislation so Chris Bond can sleep better?
At any rate, well done Democrats. If you are wondering why your poll numbers in Congress are so low, it is because the Republican opposition hates you, and the people who voted for you hate you more. Why? Because of stuff like this.
Grow a spine, you cowards.
it’s hard work maintaining that massive 3% approval rating.
New leadership, and primaries for all blue dogs.
Feinstien has to go, no if, and, or buts.
Why the hell did we hold elections in 2006?
Nothing to see here – move along.
Long live one party rule ! ! !
~bangs head on keyboard~
I do not undertstand why they did this?
This tears it for me. I’m changing my registration to Republican, so I can cast a primary ballot for Ron Paul.
I we need to recognize that, much like the old USSR, our leadership caste (public and private) has abandoned any meaningful allegiance to things like the rule of law, representative government, all of it. The days of the United States as a constitutional republican are truly over.
Tell Bond that another pull on the bottle will also help his sleep.
If the Democratic Party can’t even stand up to the fear of being called Wimps About War by the Hannity et al. crowd, how in the heck do we expect them to stand up to any real crisis?
I can’t be the only one thinking this.
Anyone interested in getting Ron Paul and Wesley Clark to start a third party?
This vote is disgusting and demoralizing, but it isn’t “the Democrats” or “the Democratic Party” that caved — it’s 16 specific Democrats, most disappointingly Jim Webb, who gave in to the Republican cries of “We have to vote for this RIGHT NOW or the Islamofascists will kill us all!!!” I don’t think anyone will be mistaking Webb for one of the fabled “libertarian Democrats” again. Jon Tester, on the other hand, actually stood up for civil liberties, which you can bet the guy he replaced wouldn’t have.
What a bunch of chickenshit, spineless weasels. They ought to just toss BushCo the keys to the Congress and go home for good. My wife and I just may sit out the next election or vote against the incumbents, no matter the party line.
What these idiots don’t realize is that they look like weak fools giving token opposition to Bush, only to capitulate the next day. Talk about making flip-flopping a career.
I am sure that they expect the right wing blogs to be crowing about what a great bunch of Democrats they are for doing what is ‘right’ for the country. If they think that this makes them look strong on turrists, they are suffering from rectally impacted craniums.
I think the Dems are counting on winning in ’08 because they are not the Repubs. At this rate, there is no difference between them, so why waste the time even voting?
ConservativelyLiberal, to temper your understandable anger with a bit of rationality, how about voting against incumbents who voted for things you don’t like (or against things you do like), rather than treating Democrats as a hive mind who all voted for this when only a minority actually did?
Yes, it’s too bad (in this case, at least) that Democrats don’t do lock-step voting with the leadership as Republicans do, and the Democrats have severe flaws, but that hardly means that the party that votes 100% against you is the same as the party that votes 20% or even 30% against you. That sort of Naderism is one of the things that got us the Bush administration in the first place.
Tester and his Governor, love those guys.
That’s my kind of Democrat. How did Wyden vote?
Wyden voted no. The Senate hasn’t gotten its act together to get the vote online yet, but there’s a list here (via Marty Lederman).
I can’t comprehend what was going through Mikulski’s head. Does the administration have something on her (maybe something discovered by illegally listening to her phone calls)? It’s depressing that that sort of speculation can’t be written off as a joke nowadays.
Wyden is one of the best democrats out there. Independent and reasoned.
I can’t imagine why congress would succumb to a white house that has no credibility on anything, has proven incompetent, and acts totally against the interests of the people it represents.
Wait, am I talking about Democrats or Republicans here? I can’t tell!
Thanks for the link KCinDC!
So 6 Dem Senators didn’t vote, that kinda irritates me.
Yes, I like Wyden a lot. Wasn’t too sure of him when he first got in, not a big fan of Portland politics (hello! remember you aren’t the entire state) but he has really reached out to the rural areas and has done little to disappoint me. Plus, as a completely shallow aside, he is way taller than I ever imagined.
It’s nice to have a little of our old self back. Morse, McCall, Hatfield and even Packwood (yeah, yeah that grabass thing was bad)..level headed politicans, whether I agreed or not, you could talk straight to them face to face, which I did on many occassions, well not McCall and Morse. Back before the GOP was hijacked.
Smith, once in awhile does something to suprise me, but he’s not an independent politiian.
I wish Kitzhaber had an interest in going to Washington.
I knew the DNC was selling us down the river when they foisted Casey on us here in PA last year. Useless piece of crap. Not that I’m surprised.
They caved because they’re big pusses who are afraid they’ll have to get real jobs if something bad happens.
They caved because they’re big pricks who didn’t want to change their vacation plans.
I can’t decide which would be worse, but I do know term limits for legislators look m-i-g-h-t-y good on days like today.
The Democrats are conducting an experiment to determine just how many times you can smack your core voters before you find yourself in the minority again.
My guess: just rubber stamp his war plan again in September.
At that point, the Republicans look good to retake both Houses of Congress and send Rudy to the Oval Office.
Thank heaven for those wise and courageous Democrats who, despite Bush’s six and a half years of lawless incompetence, had the guts to roll over yet again. Without their fearless leadership, why, we might be bogged down in an illegal war, while simultaneously trashing the Constitution and letting a bunch of autocratic morons run wild.
No, sadly the Democrats are demonstrating that they can’t get their members to vote in lock step.
16 of them didn’t toe the line. And shame on them. I want to hear their rationalisations, but don’t blame the Dems in mass.
If one of those Senators is yours, call them and give them an ass chewing they won’t forget.
So you guy agree with this ruling that two foreign agents talking to each other can not monitored by the NSA if the signal is routed through the US.
You can view it as a good thing that now the Bush administration cannot scare the american people with “the increase of chatter by Al Qaeda”.
The Democrats seem more concerned with winning the White House in ’08 than actually carrying out what they were voted in to do; roll back Republican eviscerations of ethics and the Constitution.
You’d think they realized that holding both houses of Congress is probably a stronger position to be in anyway, but instead are terrified of doing anything right now the GOP can paint as terrorist-loving.
I realize the rhetoric is pretty heated on this, but there is actually a happy medium between sacrificing all of our civil liberties and sacrificing all of our security. I think a few brave Dems were able to resist their fear of hyperbolic bloggers and do the right thing — pass a bill that gives our intelligence community the tools to keep us safe WITHOUT sacrificing our privacy.
You mean when Boehner leaked classified information about the methods of operation of our intelligence agencies? I thought that was treason.
Paul L, I think it’s a good thing that the American people have ceased to be scared, if they have.
Jesus, buck up. There’s being vigilant and then there’s bed-wetters. The admin prefers the bed-wetters.
The Admin has done this to themsleves. Americans as a whole can be a bit slow on the uptake, but after awhile, they do know “Cry Wolf” when they see it. The sad thing is, after crying wolf so long, a REAL threat gets lost in the noise. Well a real threat was lost in the noise in 2001, but don’t let that stop you.
Only if you are a Democrat.
Paul L., yes, amazingly I do prefer to have the determination of whether something is legal be made by the courts rather than by the whim of the executive branch. If it may be necessary to do something that’s currently illegal, then perhaps the laws should be changed. That would certainly be an improvement over the administration’s previous method of just ignoring the law.
But such huge changes in the laws related to our government’s ability to spy on us should be made with care, and subject to extensive oversight — not made in a last-minute panic stoked by a delayed announcement of a court ruling accompanied by a convenient terror warning, immediately before a congressional recess, and subject only to the “oversight” of a politicized executive branch. Please remember that some day there may be a Democratic president, and you might not be so happy to surrender your privacy to Our Leader then.
Aw fuck, Jim Webb went with it? The one guy in the entire Senate who I thought had any huevos at all. Christ on a cracker. Republicans suck ass with a Krazy Straw, and Democrats are legislative stooges. Stupid fucking government.
Votes that cave in to George Bush are the best way for the Democrats to lose in 2008.
Let’s see, every single Republican voted to trash the Constitution again – but it’s all the Dems fault.
Sounds like solid neo-con thinking to me.
Yeah, I see your point but no one is surprised that the Repubs went with the president. I, at least, am disappointed in the Dems who voted Yes on this turkey. I was hoping they had the ability to refrain from grabbing ankles before the Great bin Laden Boogey Man.
BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU BIG BROTHER IS LISTENING TO YOU
Lowell at Raising Kaine has posted Webb’s statement about the vote (not that it explains much).
BIRDZILLA gets it right again. It’s a good thing that the government can monitor terrorists. I, for one, am glad that there are still some non-Cindy Sheehan legislators in the Democrat party.
It took them less than a day to capitulate to the president, and 16 of them defected to the Republican side.
You might have noticed how easy it is for one or two republicans to gum up the works when Congress votes on a bill they don’t like. Imagine what the majority Democrats could do.
The President makes ultimatums and gives red lines he won’t cross. The Democrats need to come up with some of their own. Requiring oversight of the Attorney General as he decides to tap your phone seems like a low standard to demand.
Right…. Because that was totally illegal until Sunday.
Sad, but not surprising. Dems are so afraid of looking weak on terrorism, they’d sellout their mothers if need be. Lieberman is the biggest wanker of them all. A sanctimonious pri** at that. There is so little difference between the parties, which at their core are both sellouts to corporate interests, that I really do fear this country is losing what has made it great.
I wonder if the Senate Dems have ever heard of thee Filibuster. Idiots.
Feinstein will never ever get my vote again. I’ll vote for freaking Brownback before I vote for her.
At least it has it go to the House now.
I don’t understand why people get all upset about things like this. If you aren’t a terrorist, what’s there to worry about?
Dave, the vote in favor was 60. That’s enough to override a filibuster, without even bothering to bring in the Republicans like Lott who didn’t show up to vote.
Frank, suppose Hillary Clinton were president. Would you be comfortable with her having these powers and possibly using them to spy on her political opponents? Great power without oversight will inevitably lead to abuses.
I imagine that was what the defecting Dems were thinking about. “Heh, sure, sign over all this executive power! It’s gonna come in handy in 2009!”
Well, I think it’s time for Feinstein to retire, don’t you? Let’s help her gently retire to a wine estate, or something.
And WHAT was up with Webb? I get the point about needing to reform FISA, but why allow Bush – playing fracking hardball, chicken, with NATIONAL SECURITY, the malevolent d**khead, to get everything he wants?
Why not push through a bill, that is the RIGHT bill, and then if he vetoes the bill – anything happens, he is the guy responsible for playing politics with national security.
Hell, he already was playing politics with national security, of course, but in this case it’s so effing obvious
The FISA judge rejected the NSA practices in Feb/March, and ONLY NOW – at a well-timed two weeks before end of session – Bush blindsides the Congress with the “must have” legislation, and then THREATENS TO VETO the legislation the Congres passes? At the same time, criticizing democrats for not taking national security seriously, and “delaying”, when he could have started working with the Congress IMMEDIATELY after the judge ruled against the NSA practices?
A damn liar, is what he is.
They should have stood strong on that veto threat. Especially since they would have voted for a bill that was acceptable by the DNI, until Bush vetoes it for political reasons, having nothing to do with national security.
NYT: “It also allows the interception and recording of electronic communications involving, at least in part, people ‘reasonably believed to be outside the United States’ without a court’s order or oversight.”
My, my. And who defines “reasonably”? Why, the President by himself, of course, since the courts aren’t allowed to take part in the process of course.
John’s right. Disgusting. Why the hell couldn’t the Dems — or, more precisely, their leadership — grow even a little bit of a spine on this one? But then, why have they been totally passive so far about the deprivation of habeas corpus?
I was spluttering with rage. Change “…since the courts aren’t allowed to take part in the process of course” to “…since the courts aren’t allowed to take part in the process at all”.
Meanwhile, the House also passed it tonight — although with a lot fewer Dem defectors (227-183 passage). Lovely. Maybe some Dems ARE thinking of all that power being in the hands of a Democratic President instead…
So the house passed the FISA changes too. How lovely.
I hope the democrats get whatever politcal capital they think they are going to get out of it. I doubt it though. It will backfire and it will all be for naught. Morons.
The Democrats are doing exactly what has plagued them for years and that is shooting themselves in the foot… I have always thought it was the DNC that pulled this type of crap in terms of putting up less than worthy candidates for President — in 2004, you should have been able to put up a blind monkey to beat Bush and yet they chose Kerry for the fight…
Whenever I hear about these votes that the Dems fall lockstep with the WH on, I have to wonder if these Dems are not pulling a move out of the old pro wrestling book of plot twists in which trusted members turn heel at one of the most pivitol moments… do they take off their Donkey pin and replace it with an Elephant pin while screaming “Republican 4 life!” on the House or Senate floor?
Maybe they are setting something up for 2008, but right now it looks like it is going to be a Hail Mary for them gain the Oval or the Majority… the only thing they have going for them at the present time is that the Republicans are possibly screwing up more…
Think about who determines that you are or are not a terrorist.
Then relax, bend over and ask for another.
This country will be a much better place when people realize that democrat and republican politicians are mostly the same at the core. Sure they disagree about superficial issues, but when it comes to the real meat and potatoes of policy (plunder and power) they have a lot more in common than anyone on either side of the aisle will cop to. These are the issues that are never discussed in the media. All this crap about abortion and gay marriage is slight of hand. A clever distraction while they pick our pockets and put us in chains. People in a financial prison can’t afford abortions(or children, truth be told) and people in a desperate struggle for survival against a collapsed economy don’t have time to worry about marriage rights. Don’t worry about border fences or illegal immigrant amnesty either, after bush and his puppet congress get through with America we will be flooding over the Mexican border anyway. Think they will offer us amnesty?
The dems could have been fighting this shit for years, even as a minority they could have vocalized disgust, but they didn’t. Being the minority was a convenient cover for capitulation. There are even a few lefties in this thread carrying water for these spineless fucks. “Don’t blame them all” they say, “at least they’re not in lockstep” is the inference, and if this vote occurred in vacuum I would agree. The fact is however that it did not occur in a vacuum, this is another step down a long dark path to tyranny and the dems ARE in lockstep, just with the “other team”.
This is purely an issue of perception, from most reasonable Americans point of view they are fucking up in a major way. Shift your perspective to that of a criminal enterprise bent on capturing as much of this nations wealth as possible and you will see that their plan is a massive success, and it wouldn’t be going so smoothly without the capitulation of the helpless minority turned supple majority.
So if the wiretapping is now legal doesn’t the case for illegal wiretapping get thrown out the window? That means if we wanted to impeach Gonzales or Bush/Cheney our legal grounds for doing so is now kaput since they can argue that it’s no longer illegal? It seems that Democrats may have cut their own throats for the case of impeachment for these bastards.
when it comes to war and unchecked executive power, they’re not giving people much reason to vote D over R.
The Democratic base is livid. Reading Digby and others you can tell they are just seething. It’s the talk of YearlyKos as well. Democrats have a huge PR nightmare right now. Every speech after this about how they are going to be fighting Bush is going to sound hollow. They’ve succeeded in proving the meme that democrats are weak and that they can be bullied into anything.
It might be the perfect storm to start pushing for a new party or go third party. They don’t deserve the White House or any house…
To those who say, “Oh, but only a minority of Dems sold out”, please explain something to me: The Dems have majorities in BOTH houses of Congress. THEY set the agenda, the schedules all of it. God knows the Republicans ran it that way, right down to assigning meeting rooms.
So why did our fearless Dem leadership decide to have this sell-out vote just now?
NONE of the explanations I’ve heard are what I’d call convincing. Especially the one about passing the piece of shit before vacation time. These people are going to fight for, say, universal health care, a reinvigorated labor movement, a more equitable distribution of wealth?!?!
It’s time for liberals and progressives to face facts: Nader was wrong in the particular case of Bush vs. Gore, but he was right in general. For all practical purposes, for anything that really matters, the Democratic Party is indistinguishable from the GOP.