by Ari Rutenberg
Once again the Democratic Congress has missed a chance to expand civil rights protections for Americans. The congress has dropped Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy's new expansion to the current hate crime laws to include sexual orientation and disability. They didn't lose a vote, they simply withdrew the bill rather than bring it to the floor to expose those who would deny American citizens their civil liberties for religious reasons or political considerations.
They have yet again allowed process to dictate policy, and shown the lack of spine and convictions that Republican strategist are so adept at exploiting. This Congress does not listen to its constituents, nor do they show the passion that might convince Americans they can really create change in our nation and truly keep them in power. Instead they play the safe hand and fold any time they see a confrontation. I am truly disappointed in the Democratic leadership. From political hacks like Rahm Emmanuel to appeasers like Harry Reid, they have failed to address the most serious issues faced by America because their main concern is trying maintain a politically neutral middle ground in which no issue is above equivocation in the pursuit of campaign dollars and inside-the-beltway approval.
They refuse to bring impeachment up, not because it is unpopular (about 50%, according to an Ipsos poll),
but because the conventional wisdom of the Washington punditry is that
it is politically unfeasible. These are the same people who apologize
for the neocons and try to call we, who predicted the complete and utter
failure of the Bush Administration, "extremists" and "idiots" and "traitors", even though
we have been proven right time and time again. From the lies about Iraq to the obscene abuses and mismanagement of professional government institutions like the EPA and the Justice Department to the mindless acceptance of right-wing propaganda as fact the Washington punditry as fact, and who when given the chance to hold someone accountable instead attempting to ingratiate themselves with the political and corporate plutocrats who are their paymasters, we of the left have been proven right time and time again.
The real problem (see Barack Obama) is that even our best and brightest are dominated by the cartoon fantasies of these corrupt and out-of-touch consultants and 'journalists'. Instead of listening to their constituents, they listen to those who claim to know what people really want, which is simply preposterous. Then their chosen candidates win not because they are the best or hardest working, but because they get the most free media coverage. Then we get a spineless and ineffectual Congress which seems to lack any sort of moral backbone, much less parliamentary ingenuity in terms of bringing legislation to the floor or ability to publicly confront President Bush and come out seeming like anything but the scared moral weaklings they are.
There are still a few strong figures, like Ted Kennedy, Russ Feingold, and Sheldon Whitehouse. But most of our elected representatives think that theirs is a job like any other. The simply want to keep it. They assign no higher moral value to what they do than a bartender. They do the minimum that is necessary but no more. It is yet another sad episode in a long line of failure and capitulation, and gives me little hope for the near future.