"Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you”

Pericles



Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Senate Scaredy-Crats

Many of us hoped Karl Rove's post 9/11 fearmongering political strategy had become a relic of the past with the Democratic victories of 2006 and 2008. We viewed the ridicule that greeted "A Noun, A Verb, 9/11" Guiliani's stillborn presidential campaign as a sign the electorate had grown wise to being manipulated by images of terrorists on every corner. Surely, the landslide election of a president who rose to prominence through his opposition to a war launched on false claims of imminent mushroom clouds allowed us to dream the voters had seen through the Republicans' scare tactics.

Turns out all of that was nothing more than wishful thinking, if the behavior of Senate Democrats is any indicator. They are still acting as if this were Memorial Day Weekend 2002.

How else could one explain the ever-shrinking Republican minority's ability to successfully return to their "Terror, Terror, Everywhere!" playbook and masterfully play Master Harry and his spineless caucus. Cowering to the specious specter of terrorists running rampant through the streets if America followed through on President Obama's first-day-in-0ffice pledge to close Gitmo, the Senate Scaredy-crats abandoned their Commander-in-Chief and disappointed their political base.

Gitmo - and the enhanced interrogation techniques that unfolded there - will be remembered as one of the more shameful chapters in American history, alongside the Alien and Sedition Acts and the WWII Japanese internment camps. Closing the prison is a critical step in restoring America's moral standing, at home and abroad. Gitmo is not merely a "taint" on America's image, it's continued existence makes us less safe. With each passing month Guantanamo remains open the terrorists ranks expand. Osama bin Laden's most effective recruiting tool must be closed.

But under Harry Reid's intrepid leadership, fifty Democrats (including the two independents) joined with every single Republican (there's the bipartisanship Rush Limbaugh was looking for!) supporting an amendment to the Supplemental Appropriations Bill barring the transfer of Gitmo detainees to prison facilities within the United States.

Sensing he may have boxed himself in and needlessly created a political problem for the president, Harry the Decisive quickly backtracked. As Greg Sargent reports, despite his embrace of Republican talking points and apparently unequivocal statement, “You can’t put them in prison unless you release them. We will never allow terrorists to be released in the United States,” Reid is now searching for wiggle room.

Wishy-washy, which-way-is-the-wind-blowing decision-making is embarassing, Senator Reid.

You have to wonder how the President - who wants to move past the sins of the Bush era as quickly as possible - views the recent missteps by Pelosi and Reid that have only served to put a spotlight on the issues he wants to put in the rearview mirror?

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