Say, Kos: "What is the Democrats' plan to restore Constitutional Government?"
[I'd like to leave this up top for awhile, 'til I get some kind of answer. - See Update 1 - Update 2 - Update 3 - Update 4 - Update 5: At last! Somebody gets it! Read more for the YouTube. - Update 6]
[Welcome, Readers of Duncan The Grey. I was starting to think nobody noticed this one. Question: I thought by this time that it would be obvious that Bush wasn't governing Constitutionally. Was I wrong?]
Since I won't be in Chicago, I thought I'd put the Constitutional Question now.
Je repete: Say, Kos: "What is the Democrats' plan to restore Constitutional Government?"
Is the replacement of Constitutional government by tyranny under Bush on anyone's radar? Is there a workshop, maybe? Some kind of panel?
Kos? (Since your mission is to elect Democrats)
Speak up! I can't h-e-e-e-e-a-r you!
UPDATE 1 After capitulating to Bush on Iraq, it looks like the Beltway Dems are going to capitulate to Bush on warrantless surveillance. Can you believe this shit:
Bush and his spy chief warned that the nation needs Congress' help _ this week.
"Our intelligence community warns that under the current statute, we are missing a significant amount of foreign intelligence that we should be collecting to protect our country," Bush said.
Bollocks. Since when did Bush believe he had to obey the law? And what exactly does he need that he doesn't have? How does he know it's "significant" unless he's already been gathering it illegally?
Aides to senior congressional Democrats and Republicans say they recognize the threat and are willing to pass legislation to address it before Congress adjourns for a month next weekend.
The real threat is going to be some sort of retroactive legalization that one of Spector's staffers, say, is going to tuck in under cover of darkness.
The argument seems to be that email--oh, now the program is email--where "the other end" is in another country need to be surveilled. I've detailed the problems with that stupid meme until I'm blue in the face, and I'm not going to do it again.
Farewell, Fourth Amendment! The Republicans took an axe to your head, and the Beltway Dems, so much kinder and gentler, held a pillow over your head until you suffocated. Assholes. (Oh, the Fourth Amendment says "secure in our papers and effects." Surely nobody can argue that paper applies, today, only to content delivered with dead trees? Email and web traffic are today's paper, and the committees of correspondence of the present day.)
UPDATE 2 I love the JFK speech, particularly the part about social invention -- because, as we've seen, the Conservative movement only seeks to destroy.
However, I also think there is such a thing as human nature, and that humans are capable both of great good and great evil. (That is, both capacities were selected for by evolution.) The history of history's most lethal century, the 20th, should be enough to disabuse anyone of the notion that humans are intrinsically good at heart, if only this or that veneer could be stripped away. (Or, to be fair, intrinsically evil. Like I said, both.)
That is the genius of the separation of powers. As I said:
And the Founders wisely put the separation of powers in place to protect us against the evils of tyranny. As I wrote back in 2005 (“Republicans vs. the Constitution: The problem of evil”):
James Madison writes in Federalist #51:
Different interests necessarily exist in different classes of citizens. If a majority be united by a common interest, the rights of the minority will be insecure. There are but two methods of providing against this evil: the one by creating a will in the community independent of the majority that is, of the society itself; the other, by comprehending in the society so many separate descriptions of citizens as will render an unjust combination of a majority of the whole very improbable, if not impracticable. The first method prevails in all governments possessing an hereditary or self-appointed authority. This, at best, is but a precarious security; because a power independent of the society may as well espouse the unjust views of the major, as the rightful interests of the minor party, and may possibly be turned against both parties. The second method will be exemplified in the federal republic of the United States. Whilst all authority in it will be derived from and dependent on the society, the society itself will be broken into so many parts, interests, and classes of citizens, that the rights of individuals, or of the minority, will be in little danger from interested combinations of the majority. In a free government the security for civil rights must be the same as that for religious rights. It consists in the one case in the multiplicity of interests, and in the other in the multiplicity of sects. The degree of security in both cases will depend on the number of interests and sects; and this may be presumed to depend on the extent of country and number of people comprehended under the same government.
(via Federalist Papers)
For Madison, evil was to be minimized through the separation of powers: Powers in conflict, doing small evils, are to be preferred to powers united, capable of doing great evil.
So, yes to JFK, but the liberal's "attitude of mind and heart" needs some structural and institutional underpinnings. If this is a "conservative" position, looking toward the past, then so be it. As I recall, the Founders looked to the history of Rome to right the foundational document of the Republican we may not be able to keep.
UPDATE 3. Some alert readers construed this post as an attack. I responded:
I guess I don't see how asking a simple question could be construed as an "attack."
Surely it's a simple question and the Democrats have a simple answer.
And if the Democrats don't have an answer:
1. Best case: Congress lacks institutional focus, and this is the sort of question that crosses committee and interest group boundaries.
2. Next best case: The Republicans have defined Constitutional deviancy down, and the Democrats can't see what's in front of them.
3. Next best case: The Democrats know what's going on, but they've made a putatively rational case that it's not important politically, and the consultants told them that the Constitution has no constituency [What could be more important?]
4. Bad case: They know what's going on, but they don't have the stones to deal with with. [Please, shoot me now]
5. Worst case: They want the powers Bush seized for themselves. [Do you think that's a good idea?]
Now, the Dems can clear up this matter very easily and simply by answering the question, eh?
UPDATE 4: Some slight editorial revisions. I'm still w-a-a-a-a-i-t-i-n-g! Hillary? John? Barack? Anybody?
After the lovely, the talented Girl in the Turtlebeck bra linked to this post, the Dodd campaign called with this YouTube:
Good for Dodd. He wasn't on my radar before, but today, after making O'Reilly look like the loofah-lovin' blowhard he is, and now this YouTube, he's got my attention. Wonder whether he feels he's got to bomb Pakistan, too.
Tomorrow, on the convention's busiest day, an "Ask the Leaders" forum in the morning will feature Reid, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), Rep. Rahm Emanuel (Ill.), who heads the House Democratic Caucus, and Sen. Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.), chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Later in the afternoon, a panel with the Democratic candidates promises to be the highlight of the convention, with Clinton, not exactly the favorite of the progressive crowd, and the rest of the presidential field taking questions from the Net roots.
Wouldn't The Constitutional Question be a good question to ask?
No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.