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September 20, 2006


Curious about whether anyone else saw Turley on K.O last night. I know he has a mission but he seemed to be saying that there would soon be disclosures from detainees about waterboarding. He said that it is illegal here and in every country of the U.N. He sounded very serious about the possibility of that Bush (wonder if he has proof) signing off on certain people being designated as "torturers" (his word, I think). He said it would be coming out in the next few days. ????

try this:


oops... try this for the interview...


Why that came to me as I read this blog is the split in the republican party regarding torture. I realized with that one sentence from Turley about fighting a war with immoral means that McCain's bill is too much of a compromise and that I am very unhappy that a compromise is being worked out! Yes, it's better than what would have happened with a rubber stamp but it made me realize that we need to turn the screws. There should be no compromise in regard to torture. Also I realized that the dems have been absolutely ineffective in framing this issue.
They are still too afraid of being called weak. This must be addressed firmly. It's not weak to have morals or integrity. The split is helping but the dems need to speak up to the public and frame the issue the way Turley did. Meanwhile, I pray that we can get Bush out of office before he attacks Iran.

I realized that the dems have been absolutely ineffective in framing this issue. They are still too afraid of being called weak.

That's nonsense. The discussion has not started in earnest and won't until it gets to the senate floor.

Couldn't senators be speaking out?? Couldn't they have been speaking out even as McCain wrote his bill months ago?? Do our politicians have to rely on only the use of house and senate. Can they not use communication as a tool to fight this president?? Persuasion. I see them pussy footing around this topic. There should be no compromise.


Couldn't senators be speaking out?

If they were interested themselves in events past any given election, many of them might. But the very, very few principled legislators are going largely unheard here. Where's the commentary from Feingold, for instance? The politicians are interested in salvaging their careers. They don't give a shit in an outhouse for the country.

The "liberal media" seems not to care what true voices of opposition have to say, and the crocodile-tear shedding Republicans will go back to business as usual in December.

The only way to forestall that is drop a straight Dem ticket in the ballot box in November.

Katie Jensen, let's play politics. First, the senate needs to know how many votes there are. Warner has 52, the vast majority of which are D votes. Without that, Bush's bill passes without discussion.

What does the Qwarner-McCain-Graham-Snow bill say? will it pass? will it be filibustered? will it even come to a vote before the senate recesses?

If the bill does not advance, the Dems, in the minority and without a pulpit that the media will cover, have done their job.

You are calling the game's results when we're in the third inning.

I saw Turley on Olberman and he indeed did seem to say that as soon as the Red Cross was able to interview some of the prisoners, there would be revelations of torture. He was pretty clear on that.

If the "principled R's" really are, they will stall this past the recess. Instead, they will still try to give Bush something. Heather Wilson is in a very tight race, that much is obvious, and the GOP must think she can't win unless they cut her some slack.

Mimikatz, I fear you're right on the Wilson bill. And it sounds like it wouldn't exactly be the Constitutional remedy that's called for -- a bone thrown to the same handful of leaders they're already "briefing" in exchange for the freedom to go warrant-free in an "emergency" when they can already get warrants after the fact. We may have better luck on the torture-immunity bills; I sure hope so.

But all this brings me back to the points I've made here recently. DemFromCT, I understand what you're saying; not only is it politically helpful to have the Republicans fighting each other but the Democrats can't do anything legislatively right now anyway. But the fact that we haven't been talking in strong, general terms about these issues means that: 1) most people really don't get what's at issue, and at stake, in the NSA "program" (again, even Robert Reich doesn't seem to get that it's not the spying, it's the oversight); and 2) the Dems, as a whole, are missing a crucial chance to show what they stand for, and THAT they stand strong (again, Schumer on FTN saying Dems will "follow the lead" of McCain et al...!). I'm not arguing for the Dems to step on the fractured-Reps story, or to take actions that would be legislatively futile or counterproductive; but isn't it long past time they finally did demonstrate, even just rhetorically, the clarity and principle and strength they're accused of lacking? To me this is an ideal opportunity to do so, and I worry that it's a costly one to pass up.

rj, that's timing. Saying anything now except in general terms makes it R vs D, and changes the bad press. Without D's Bush is forced to argue on the merits and can't say "it's politics". He loses on the merits.

But Dem from CT: we can't trust the R's to argue "against" Bush. The best they do is try to save their self-respect while going along. I agree with ri -- Dems have refused to try to get the issues out to the American people and so the people think we live within false choices. The opposition party is not doing its job.

I think the "refused" label is frustration from not having any branch (House, Senate or WH) to command a platform.

I'm sorry, but shooting yourself in the foot by clumsy maneuvering just weeks before the election isn't very helpful. What's needed is "neutral" voices on the topic... academics, lawyers, and other professionals, as Bush calls them, explaining why torture is bad (see Turley and Countdown). For Dems to do it just before an election allows an unwanted change of topic.

Further, there's plenty of time for this to be discussed IF the bill gets that far. The Senate will adjourn in a week and a half. As I said above, this is all about timing. If Katie Jensen's post is correct and Turley is correct, suggesting the Bush Administration and the CIA on Bush's watch tortures human beings is best done after the facts come out and not before.

I'm in the squishy middle on this one. As far as temporal political tactics are concerned, I think Dems are absolutely right to let McCain/Warner/Graham carry the water. The sole point of raising this issue in apocalyptic terms right now was to make it a "Bush wants to fight terror/Dems want to coddle" dichotomy, the Pubs' best frame possible seven weeks out from election day. Merely neutralizing that topic is a huge win for Dems, as it minimizes its impact as a voting issue, allowing all the other Dem-favoring subjects to come to the fore.

However...the now long-running tactic of saying "I'm with John McCain" is clearly not in the long-term interst of a party that might find itself running against him for president two years hence. Yeah, GOP primary voters might make that a moot point, but should McCain become the Pub nominee, it'll be awfully hard for all these Dems to backtrack on their effusive praise of Mr. Straight Talk.

I know it's not quite the sense you meant in putting the topic in your heading, but let me say that, for much the same reason, I also have a problem with preaching the virtues of divided government. Yes, it might win over some alienated conservatives this cycle...but, supposing our party does take back Congress in November, how do we square this with asking the nation to select a Democratic president in '08? It'd be better to sell "vote for good policies", something a Democratic Congress and presidential candidate will both be offering two years from now, rather than this tactical "split the difference" approach that too many people have adopted as philosophy (when, I think, it's really an alternative to thinking issues completely through).

DemFrom, I hardly even hear the Dems talking about this in general terms. And it's not just that they don't get the coverage they should; it's a matter of deftly taking advantage of the opportunities they're given. If Schumer, eg, had expressed approval of the Republicans who agree with US rather than literally calling his party followers, it would have implied strength and conviction, as well as making it easier to frame (traditional sense) any unacceptable compromise as principled rather than political. And on the NSA thing, I'll resist the urge to clutter up this thread with a regurgitation of my comments from yesterday's...This is just one more area where we need to learn the art of savvy opposition: the Reps had it mastered when the Dems were in charge and at each other's throats. I'd be more sanguine about it if I didn't really feel that 2006 is kind of make-or-break for the country (which I didn't quite in 2004, actually); and it's frustrating beyond measure when the remedy seems so simple (easy for me to say, I know).

And thanks, demtom, for saying the rest of what I was going to say until I figured I'd gone on too long already...

rj, demtom, all good points. The fact is that Americans happen to like divided government. Given what we have now, so do I... for now.

Could Dem leaders be better, stronger, more articulate? Sure. They can and should. But you can't make up for missed ooportunities all at once. I expect them to step up to the plate if and when the senate debates any bill suggesting Common Artice 3 of the geneva conventions be reinterpreted. And if Turley is correct and stuff comes out, Dems had better be there.

only slightly tangential, this is from Hotline's blogometer today:

MCCAIN: Picking The Right Fights?

John McIntyre at RCP Blog, looks at how Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) position on detainee treatment is playing with the GOP base and argues: "If John McCain still wants to be President - and if he wants to win the Presidency running as a Republican - then he pretty quickly needs to start picking fights with Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer and not President Bush. If McCain is running for President as an Independent, then he's following a perfect strategy." Late McIntyre posts a reader email speculating that McCain may be seeking to harm the GOP this fall, thus making the base more desperate and willing to accept him as a nominee come '08.

The Caucus Cooler has similar thoughts: "Amongst I[ndependent]s, we'd imagine McCain is continuing to build on his already high popularity- but he's going to have to get over his biggest hurdle- the Republican Primary schedule - before he can visit with them. You can see the animosity building in the blogosphere from the "freepers" and Red State folks who have been merciless in attacking McCain."

Over at TAPPED, Michael Tomasky looks at leftyblogger worries over liberal defections to McCain and counsels patience: "Just remember. Every time McCain does something that Richard Cohen likes, his chances of winning the GOP nomination decrease. So, rather than get upset when center-libs throw themselves at McCain, you folks ought to rejoice, because every instance of such makes it that much less likely that the R's most formidable man will gain his party's support."

a "lay of the land" article on NSA and detainees suggests no bill might be enacted...

You all have great political strategy. And you are probably correct. But to me, what Turley is saying is that we are losing support of the world. It appears this is true. On the world front, I would feel better if I knew there were democrats talking with people "out there" and making it clear that Americans do not support the use of torture. I guess I was speaking to Turley's main point that Bush's torture strategy makes him a clear and present danger to our country and that if we lose the support of the world then we are walking alone in forest of terrorists.

This is a national security issue alright, but not in the manner Bush perceives.

I share your concerns there. however, the minority party can't speak to the world on American policy. That's the president;s job.

The best US Government is a SPLIT GOVERNMENT!

It sure won't be perfect, but it will be better.

Contrary to what is invariably the belief – the Government grants are not open throughout the year – the potential Government Grant is not available through the year and neither could it be applied for as per personal needs. In contrast the Government Grant can be applied for only in circumstances where the Federal or the Government Agencies announce and invite applications for the Government Grants. The source is the Federal Register which is published every weekend.





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