Wednesday, December 12, 2007

With all due respect, Rep. Harman (update)

Looking at your profile here, it is clear that you are familiar with posting diaries at Daily Kos. So you know how we like to engage with each other, especially when one posts a diary here. However, with today’s diary scolding the community as well as the one a few weeks ago actually calling out a respected community member, coupled with the lack of any comments or replies to any of us here for nearly 18 months, I am at a loss as to figuring out what you want from this community.

As you know, we are a passionate bunch. But we are generally very respectful of our elected representatives, even when we disagree (even vehemently at times) with them. And we do expect some level of respect back from those who post here. We are also a very smart community, and know when we are being told the truth, when we are being lied to and when we aren’t being told the entire story.

We are fiercely protective of the United States Constitution. And we do not like one bit that it has been trampled or treated the way that it has over the past 7 years. Unfortunately for us, for Congress and for the rest of the world, the former Democratic minority and current Democratic majority are at least complicit in this by:

  • Not using whatever tools were available while in the minority to block horrific legislation from being rammed through;

  • Allowing the republican minority to do just that with legislation that will help millions of Americans;

  • Allowing torture to be committed by the CIA and authorized by the highest levels of this government and not blowing the whistle when any of this first came to light;

  • Allowing horrific candidates to be confirmed for positions that they do not deserve (and I know this is the Senate not the House, but it is the frustration that we have with the Democrats);

  • Allowing subpoenas to be ignored without any ramifications;

  • Allowing the stonewalling by the administration regarding illegal acts on wiretaps, data mining, misuse of intelligence, destruction of evidence – whether it be CIA tapes of torture or of emails that should be preserved; and

  • Most importantly, folding over and over and over again on Iraq (and Iran) while hiding behind “we don’t have the votes” as an excuse to not stand up for the Constitution.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it is a good start to see why the frustration level here (and across America) is where it is. Put bluntly, we feel that Democrats see a golden opportunity for huge gains next year if they “don’t rock the boat”. However, this is something that we feel is unacceptable – as the Constitution and human life here in the US as well as overseas in Afghanistan and Iraq is way too important to not take a stand for what is right.

The Iran NIE was very telling – you are right about that. But the rhetoric is still being used to saber rattle and try to discredit the findings. At the same time, the right is pushing the meme that “Iraq is just not a big deal for voters anymore” despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary and there is no pushback from Democrats in Congress. Not to be outdone, we find out that the CIA willfully destroyed tapes indicating torture and you may have had knowledge that torture was being used but didn’t shine a spotlight on this. We appreciate the “sternly worded letters” but that won’t do with this administration.

Not by a long shot.

You chide us in your diary today about needing to build bipartisan bridges on Iran and Iraq. But let me ask you this – whether it is judicial appointments and the “nuclear option”, or it is FISA patches or it is Iraq funding or it is AMT legislation or other legislation that will benefit millions of Americans - just what compromising is Mister Bush or your republican counterparts doing?

We are frustrated with there being no compromise of any material consequence by ANY republicans while Democrats continue to give more and more, as We the People get less and less.

If the bar is now being moved from “just wait until the Democrats are in the majority” to “we don’t have 60 votes in the Senate” to “we don’t have veto proof majorities” (as you said in your diary today), then do you really expect us to swallow all of that and not question why this is the case now where it was never the case before?

On Iraq and Iran it is simple – Kyl-Lieberman should never have come to a vote. Iraq funding bills need to be passed in order to continue the occupation. You will never get enough republican support to pass a bill that Americans will be happy with. And even if you did, Bush would veto it. But if no spending bill is passed, then there is no funding and no more occupation of Iraq.


Bush and the republicans count on Democrats folding if they hold their breath and stomp their feet long enough. And we expect more from our elected leaders. So please, and I have kept this very respectful, if you are to come here and scold us, don’t expect us to take it lightly. And if you don’t even have the courtesy to stick around and answer the tough questions that we have, then why bother coming here at all?

Update [2007-12-12 16:24:53 by clammyc]:: Even though I doubt she will do this, I would welcome Rep. Harman onto my BlogTalkRadio show to talk through these matters and to see what she wants or expects from the netroots. Maybe this can be a starting point to develop some sorely needed dialogue between the netroots and our elected representatives. If any of her staffers read this, my email address is in my profile.

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