Most Democrats Voting For Bush
Torture Bill Silent About It
by Bob Geiger
As someone who spends a lot of time on
the official web sites of our U.S. Senators, I can tell you without
hesitation that if one of them casts a vote they are proud of,
a press release will be up faster than George Felix Allen can
spit out a racial slur.
Yet the 12 Democrats who checked their
consciences at the Senate cloakroom and voted in favor of the
Bush Administration's torture bill this week, have almost nothing
to say about their votes. In case you haven't seen the roster
of who voted with Republicans on this, here they are:
* Thomas Carper (D-DE)
* Tim Johnson (D-SD)
* Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
* Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
* Joe Lieberman (D-CT)
* Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
* Bill Nelson (D-FL)
* Ben Nelson (D-NE)
* Mark Pryor (D-AR)
* Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)
* Ken Salazar (D-CO)
* Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
Of these, only four have issued press releases commenting on their
vote and, amazingly, those who are talking spend most of the time
sounding apologetic for a vote they obviously know they should
not have cast.
"I think there are some unknown constitutional
issues and it may take a review by the Supreme Court before we
really know whether this approach has towed the line in terms
of protecting the civil-liberties of American citizens or whether
it has gone over the line," said Tim Johnson (D-SD), in a
brief statement that can only leave us wondering why the hell
he voted for it then.
Senator Ken Salazar (D-CO) expresses a whole bunch of concerns
as well and yet voted to make Bush Torturer-in-Chief anyway.
"The bill I voted for today was the
best bill we could reasonably expect in this highly charged political
environment," said Salazar. "Due to the many controversial
and far-reaching implications of this bill, I believe it would
be appropriate to force Congressional review of this bill in five
years. I have concerns with this bill, but on balance it meets
my personal view of what America needs to get the job done."
But some things never change, and here was the biggest DINO (Democrat
in name only) in the Senate, Nebraska's Ben Nelson crowing about
what a wonderful vote he cast and making this strange statement:
"This compromise goes a long way in protecting the principles
of the Geneva Conventions and establishes a standard of treatment
that the world will follow."
Yeah, I'm sure most other countries are
gathering right now to rewrite their laws to follow our sterling
Finally, we have Joe Lieberman, who has
a press release announcing his vote and setting the bar awfully
low for what it takes for him to follow George W. Bush.
"I voted for this bill because I
believe it is better than the Administration's original proposal
to respond to the Supreme Court's Hamdan decision," said
Lieberman. "I would have much preferred the bill we reported
out of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and I supported amendments
to this bill because they addressed concerns I had. I regret that
they were rejected by the Senate."
But Joe clearly did not regret it enough to vote the right way
on the torture bill.
There's currently a big argument going
on in the Progressive community on the tension between calling
Democrats on stances that are so antithetical to what being a
Democrat is supposed to mean and making Republicans positively
gleeful by bashing our own side six weeks before a crucial election.
That's a tough call to make. But it seems
reasonable to question why, on a vote that is such a bellwether
on where American democracy stands in 2006, these 12 Senators
cast deciding votes that they were unsure about or that, deep
down, they flat-out knew were wrong.
Democratic primary voters will certainly
ask that question when these Senators' terms have expired.
You can read more from Bob at BobGeiger.com.