Democrats criticizing Democrats

MB has another thoughtful post up today regarding the need for Democrats to criticize Democrats. In it, he refers us to this Glenn Greenwald article. This part of the article jumped out at me:

Telling Obama that you’ll cheer for him no matter what he does, that you’ll vest in him Blind Faith that anything he does is done with the purest of motives, ensures that he will continue to ignore you and your political interests.

I’ve mentioned in this space Black Agenda Report on a number of occasions. BAR has had no problem with criticizing Democrats in general and Obama in particular. In fact, what Greenwald said has been written over and over, most recently in this post:

Obama is held to no standard at all. He is free to do exactly as he pleases to black people, who are all too happy to go along with any treatment that he chooses to mete out.

As Greenwald points out, this is “warped authoritarianism,” and it is what brought us the Bush years. In his book, Conservatives Without a Conscience, John Dean lays out how the Republican Party tacked right. As I wrote a couple of years ago, these folks are more likely to follow authoritarian leaders.

If Democrats refuse to hold our “leaders” accountable, how does that make us different from Republicans?

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19 thoughts on “Democrats criticizing Democrats

  1. Fairly good point about being able to select between people who deal with collection and analysis and people who simply empty the trash cans at the NSA.

    There is no easy answer, but I like neither holding people without a trial with the excuse that the evidence is classified, nor letting people go because we cannot hold a trial without revealing “sources and methods.”

    I agree. That’s a large part of why I’m so friggin’ furious that we’re still basically making this up as we go along–if we’d planned ahead and done our best to utilize as much precendent as possible in advance, we wouldn’t have nearly so many problems. But by creating a novel system of justice and then seeking novel arguments to distance ourselves from precedent, we’ve gridlocked ourselves into a situation that’s frustrating and a little bit alarming.

    I think the lesson to learn here is that the rights of the accused don’t only protect the defendant, they also protect the system itself. If the government had planned on being accountable for observing those rights instead of dismissing them out of hand, Gitmo wouldn’t be nearly the legal embarrassment that it is today; we’d have already held our trials and convicted or exonerated the detainees in accordance with the rule of law.

  2. Mouse –

    You don’t remember an abortion amendment being discussed? It’s been in the Republican Party platform since at least 1980, possibly longer. It seldom gets very far, but it’s been national party policy for nearly thirty years now … though, yes, you would be pardoned for not knowing it for how little attention most GOP leaders pay to the issue. (Yes, I’m a pro-lifer.)

    Anyway …

    Vivian, brilliant point. Far too many people who call themselves supporters of the original intent of the Constitution have rolled over and let warrantless searches happen, argued in favor of Bush’s demand that he be allowed to detain anyone for any length of time (the Moussaoui case — thankfully he was beaten back), and so on. True believers in original intent have to come out against the USAPATRIOT Act, but too many won’t because they don’t really want to fight the Republican President. Sure, there were a few things that were just too much (the Miers nomination, for example), but they put up with a lot of other garbage (just about anything Donald Rumsfeld did, for example).

    It happens a lot, but I think that the Democrats right now are doing a better job of keeping their leaders’ feet to the fire. Although some of the Mouse’s examples are good counter-examples, on the overall execution of policy, far too many on the Right have given a pass to the Bush administration and ignored their own beliefs.

  3. No, Winkle, I was not aware of any such amendment proposal in the Party Platform. Yup, it’s there: “We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and we endorse legislation to make it clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.”

    Very cool.

    Speaking of originalism, did you read Scalia’s Heller opinion? Brilliant.

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