The New York Times says the Democrats' actions on the detainee torture bill show that they think Bush is weak:
The Democratic vote in the Senate on Thursday against legislation governing the treatment of terrorism suspects showed that party leaders believe that President Bush's power to wield national security as a political issue is seriously diminished.They cite the fact that Democratic presidential hopefuls voted against the bill. Yeah, that's true, but I can't get past the fact that the Democratic leadership couldn't even muster a filibuster. And not all the Democrats who voted for the bill are up for reelection.
The Republicans, meanwhile, stayed in perfect lockstep, except for Lincoln Chafee, who's got special dispensation so that they can keep their majority.
I don't think the Republicans won anything politically. Yes, Bush got the bill he wanted, but the country isn't with him on this one. This bill, coupled with the disaster in Iraq and an economy that is only booming for the wealthy and upper middle class, could very much backfire on the Republicans in November.
But that's politically. The law is going to be on the books, and it's hard to get rid of something like that once it's there.
And the Democrats didn't win anything either. They look weak when they don't fight a president who's on the ropes. They look even weaker when they don't take principled stands. I understand why they don't have a plan for Iraq -- Bush and his posse have made such a mess there that it's virtually impossible to come up with a plan, much less a plan that can be explained in a sound bite -- but they've got to make a better effort to come up with one.
The majority of the country has given up on Bush. The Democrats should be running with that. Instead, they're running scared.
I still hope the Democrats take back both houses of Congress in November. I really hope they come up with a decent, viable presidential candidate for 2008. But I hope for these things because I have nowhere else to go, not because I believe in the Democratic Party.
There's no point in dealing with the Republicans -- they are continuing their goose-step to the right. Third party efforts in this country are usually an ego trip by one person and are only good as spoilers, sometimes disastrously so. (Yes, Ralph Nader, I'm talking to you. If Al Gore were president right now this country would be in significantly better shape.)
So I'm stuck with the Democrats. I guess they're counting on that. And I'm used to supporting the lesser of two evils. But it sure isn't the kind of inspiration that makes me want to write checks or knock on doors. My support will come through Move On. They know how to take a principled stand.