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"Shallow Throat": Do Dems Have a Death-Wish?

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Message Bernard Weiner
"Shallow Throat" joined me at a mostly-deserted park in Virginia, bursting with anger. I didn't even have to ask a question before the rage exploded out:

"I can't believe your Democrat friends are blowing it once again! The Bushies are imploding in one scandal after another, it's dictator-time, the Republicans are tarred by the Abramoff corruption brush, more attacks on Mideast countries are coming soon, Bush ordered spying on Americans with no court permission, impeachment momentum is in the air -- and the Dems have let the President off the hook once again! How many times are you going to push that boulder up the steep hill to the top and then let it roll back down again? Do you liberals really have a death-wish?"

Normally, I have to contact the secretive GOP mole high up in the Bush Administration, but this time Shallow Throat came looking for me. To vent, to explode, to dish.

"Whoa there," I said, as we walked double-time down a tree-lined path. "Slow down and tell me what's wrong. And, by the way, I'm not a Democratic consultant, I just play one on the internet. I presume you're talking about Alito escaping the Judiciary Committee noose in his hearing?"

"No, no, you're missing the point. Your Dem friends --, Democrat pols, liberal pundits -- always miss the point. They're great when they finally decide to hone in on something, usually minor, but they constantly don't see the big picture, and rarely have a world-view, a philosophy, even a sense of what their political enemies are trying to do to them. No wonder you guys lose elections -- wait, before you call me on that last one, I'll admit: balloting fraud helps, too."

"So what is the 'big picture' here? What did the Democrats ignore?"


"The reality they're missing is that Bush&Co. long ago declared war on our democratic institutions, and the liberals pretend that it never really happened. Bush&Co. have set themselves up as a dictatorship, where, under an extreme interpretation of 'the unitary executive' theory, the president can violate whatever laws he wishes whenever he wishes, totally negating the Legislative Branch's lawmaking and oversight powers, and the Judiciary's right to interpret what they're doing in light of the Constitution. Bush&Co. have been doing this in secret for years -- using the 'national security' dodge when carrying out and condoning torture, domestic spying on citizens' emails and phone calls and so on -- and now, thanks only to some whistleblower friends of mine inside the Administration, the whole rotten, stinking pile is out in the open.

"The issue is joined, and yet the Dems simply can't face that they're going to have to really fight for freedom and power, not just mouth the words. The Alito hearings were the perfect platform to make their points openly, and they dropped the ball."

"But they did ask Alito plenty of questions about presidential overreach," I responded. "It's not like they ignored the issue."

"Yeah, they asked some questions, a well-rehearsed Alito bobbed and weaved with platitudes, and then the Dems moved on to another line of questioning, as if each issue were equal and a perfectly normal difference of opinion.

"What you and your friends are failing to grasp is that this is THE issue of our time -- the amassing of total political and military power in the hands of a few dangerous, power-crazed officials down in a fantasy bunker. The result of this liberal denial has led to a withering away of other countervailing powers in our society, in the Judiciary, the Press, the Legislative branch. It happened in Germany in the '30s, and it is starting to happen here. If we don't stop them now, we may never have another good opportunity to do so."

"But you still haven't told me what the Dems -- who are the minority party, remember, with little or no power -- could have done in the Alito hearings other than to press the issue with the nominee," I said.


"Think creatively!" shouted Shallow Throat. "If the Democrats truly and sincerely believe America and the Constitution are in imminent danger from this wild, power-hungry crew in the White House, they can't keep behaving in a normal manner. Al Gore in his great speech demonstrated that he realizes there is no 'normal' anymore in this desperate struggle for freedom, but, believe me, you guys have seen only the tip of the iceberg for how bad it really is.

"For the Alito hearings, the Senate Democrats could have reined in their individual egos, organized themselves and, in effect, held an educational sit-in, using their media face-time to lay out the facts of Bush's cockamamie theory underlying his assumption of total power. They could have met elsewhere in the Capitol and held their own hearings, a la John Conyers in the House, about what Bush has done. They could have said they would be unable to vote for Alito as long as he avoided telling the country his philosophical views -- not how he might rule on particular cases -- on the key issues. As a united body of senators, they could have indicated their support for an impeachment inquiry based on the usurpation of total authority (tieing Alito to this RightWing power-grab), domestic spying, torture, corruption, massive lies, etc.

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Bernard Weiner, Ph.D. in government & international relations, has taught at universities in California and Washington, worked for two decades as a writer-editor at the San Francisco Chronicle, and currently serves as co-editor of The Crisis Papers (more...)
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