Russ Feingold continues to tug and pull at the Democratic right, attempting to shine the spotlight on the 800 pound gorilla in the room: The President of the United States broke the law, and continues to break the law, violating fundamental constitutional rights, while the Democrats finish their posturing as tough on national security vis a vis the bogus security issue of Dubai and wait for the Republicans to take the lead on the next Bush stumble.
Even with the Republican party wallowing in scandal (Abramof-gate, Plame-gate), open revolt among the ranks (the religious right on Harriet Meirs, congressional GOPers on Dubai, George F. Will, Wm. F. Buckley, and a growing list of neo-cons opposing the war, etc. etc.), Cheney shooting a guy in the head and chest, and the worst polling numbers since Nixon, even with all that, the Democrats aren’t willing to take the opening and define a new message.
Only Russ Feingold is willing to stand alone (again), this time calling for Censure of Bush for the NSA’s domestic spying.
As predictable as the Republican’s response was, it was most galling to see the Democratic response—or lack thereof. So far only Tom Harkin and Russ Feingold seem to be willing to define a leading edge of a more assertively dovish, civil-libertarian policy package to counter the insane, fear-based myth of a national security state offered by the Republicans (and willingly abetted by the Dems).
I’m still waiting for the putative ’08 Dems (Hillary? JFKerry? Obama?!?) to take a clear constitutional case against the Eternal Warfare and Surveilence State. Right now I’m wondering if the Dems can even take back a single house of Congress. Even as the Republicans themselves abondon that profligate wastrel son-of-a-Bush, how can the party of FDR have become nothing but a echo chamber of the Republican party, only challenging the President when the Republicans do first?
I smell a weak showing in ’06 and defeat in ’08 without stronger leadership on every issue, but especially civil liberties and peace (both prime political openings and righteous issues). Hopefully Russ Feingold will start a trend.