The bill to strip the President of the authority (granted by the PATRIOT act) to appoint prosecutors without consulting Congress, the abuse of which is part of the current scandal in Washington, passed the Senate on a vote of 94 to 2, with four abstentions. Here’s the roll call.
Interestingly, one of the two “Nay” votes came from Chuck Hagel, R-NE. Hagel is very likely to run for the Republican nomination for President, and is considered one of the strongest candidates in that field. Remember this vote for future reference. This scandal is probably going to expand somewhat more, we’ll have some high-profile resignations, and probably a few prosecutions for perjury or obstruction of justice. So later on, if and when Hagel enters the race full-force, this will be a good question to ask him: Why, even after the nature of the abuses of authority became publicly clear, did he vote against restoring to Congress the right to approve the appointments of federal prosecutors?
Unfortunately, the Democratic party — at least, the main machine part of it, that’s pushing so hard for Clinton — seems to be run by spineless fools, and I seriously doubt that they will have either the presence of mind or the courage of their convictions enough to actually remind the American people of the details of a scandal once the media is no longer focused on it. They’ll make it sound like a question about his vote on some minor technical issue, and the larger issue, of subversion of the democratic process by a sitting president and Hagel’s tacit encouragement thereof, will go unnoticed.
On the subject of the machine of the Democratic party, I don’t know how many people have seen this ad that some unknown person made for Obama. (It wasn’t made by Obama’s organization, as far as anyone can tell) It’s based on Apple’s famous “1984” ad:
Apart from being a lovely little hatchet job, it’s been making me realize how strongly I dislike the idea of Clinton running for president. (Which, media furor to the contrary, has nothing to do with Clinton’s gender, or Obama’s race, or whatever the fuck else is the “interesting topic” of the moment) Clinton represents what in my mind is a failed generation of Democratic leadership, one that Bill Clinton succeeded in as a shining exception rather than by any design. I see her as the emblem of a party that’s incapable of defending itself against even idiotic accusations, that allows another party to lie, cheat, and harm the interests of the country without having the brains or the balls to publicly say that this is wrong, and that in general has no clue of which way it would like to lead the country. Nothing that Sen. Clinton has said or done in the 15 years that she’s been in national public life has convinced me that she’s any different.
This isn’t to say that I don’t think she’s a good senator — in fact, I think she has the potential to be an extraordinary one, a powerful force in that house for many decades to come, and a key player in making the United States successful. But I don’t think she’s a good leader for the party, much less for the country as a whole. Her entire generation, AFAICT, has blown it badly, with one side running half-witted demagogues and the other side unable to tell why that’s a bad idea.
I don’t know much about Obama’s politics, yet. His speeches are all well and good, but he hasn’t really gotten down to brass tacks so far. But I do know that he seems to have a clear understanding of the mess, and to not be infected with the mental malaise that seems to permeate the party. If the primary were held today, he would get my vote. For basically the reasons that this ad hints at.