Thursday, October 05, 2006

24th District Democrats Accept The Rove Frame

I feel foolish about it, but I'm surprised at the reaction of other 24th District Democrats to the news that Michael Arcuri supports the Bush Administration's grab for dictatorial power through the Military Commissions Act. That reaction: If the Democratic candidate supports it, don't criticize him for it.

What are we working for, anyway? Just to get our team in power, no matter what it takes to do so?

The hunger to win this election has twisted the identity of the 24th District Democrats into something downright ugly. The 24th District Democrats have now accepted the ideological frame of Karl Rove.

In this new way of Democratic thinking, defending America's fundamental freedom takes a back seat. The Geneva Conventions aren't so important any more. Neither are habeas corpus, the separation of powers, and the Bill of Rights. Most Democrats now seem to believe that these things can be sacrificed, so long as it helps a Democratic politician win election.

It appears that I'm in the minority in the Democratic Party on this issue. I think that sacrificing American liberty in order to help politicians get elected is unacceptable. I'm different that way, I guess, in having limits beyond which I'm not willing to go.

Oh, I'm not saying that the Democrats who continue to support Michael Arcuri like torture, or that they don't care about the Bill of Rights or habeas corpus. I'm just saying that they've made plain that they're willing to go along with the sacrifice of these things, in the pursuit of electoral victory.

I didn't think that Democrats were like that. What a terrible way to find out that I was wrong.

The sad thing is that these Democrats will complain on and on and about George W. Bush and Karl Rove, even though, all the while, they've accepted the Bush/Rove frame. They have accepted the idea that voters will reject a political candidate unless the candidate embraces a totalitarian security agenda. They have accepted the idea that Americans will respond more strongly to fear than hope and an appeal to fairness. They have also accepted the idea that ideas and values matter less than winning. That's pure Rove.

We didn't get a primary this year, so it's in the congressional general election that we will have to make a statement about what we want the Democratic Party to be. We'll see, the morning after Election Day, whether Democratic voters are in it for the team, or are motivated by the idea that America can still be as it has been promised to us.


Anonymous said...

No Jon. The essence is that you don't battle your opponent with a slingshot when he's got a cannon.

The winners get to make choices, the losers get to make excuses. I'd rather be making the choices.

Americans would give up their freedom for their security. I think it's foolish, but I've seen it over and over these past few years. We are a weak people now, living in fear. We have become fat and lazy. We are ripe for Rovian tactics and this bill is one of them.

If Arcuri opposed it, he would spend the rest of the time to the election trying to educate an unsophisticated and fearful populace. If he accepted it, he loses people like you.

This is least common denominator politics. And we are sinking low because the least common denominator is getting lower in America. You want to change that, you need to get rid of the Republican Congress. This year.

24 Independent said...

So, better to abandon the Bill of Rights, throw habeas corpus to the wind, and allow torture, huh?

Better to win an election, and then, magically, when Michael Arcuri becomes a "winner", he'll suddenly change his mind, become someone different and do the right thing?

No, I won't follow you there, anonymous.

Allen Carstensen said...

Jon asked "What are we working for, anyway? Just to get our team in power, no matter what it takes to do so?"

Exactly right Jon. Here are a few of our most valuable players. I want to give them the ball and see what they can do with it.

Judge Anna Diggs Taylor

Russ Feingold

Patrick Leahy

Bernie Sanders

John Conyers

Dennis Kucinich

Jim McDermott

Jerold Nadler

Charley Rangell

Henry Waxman

Carl Levin

The American Civil Liberties Union

The Center for Constitutional Rights

Who's going to have the ball if we stick to our principals and don't vote Democratic? Where will they go with it?

24 Independent said...

Allen, Michael Arcuri opposes the values those people fight for.

Anonymous said...

You know Jon, if this legislation is unconstitutional the Supreme Court will rule it such. I'm much more concerned about taking the government back from these Republicans so they can't do things like pack the Supreme Court with jurists who would gut the Constitution.

Mike Arcuri took this position at the behest of the DCCC so you really ought to be attacking the DCCC. I'm sure Ray Meier will appreciate that.

In fact you seem to have forgotten about Ray Meier. He's the fella who's going to be endorsed by the Central New York Black Republicans tomorrow apparently. Who the hell are they?

24 Independent said...

You can't count on this Supreme Court, stacked with right wing ideologues, to do anything right.

Michael Arcuri is the one we have a chance of exerting influence over. Ray Meier's supporters really don't give a damn about liberty. At least Democrats have said that they care about this subject.

Ray Meier is doing what's we would expect him to do. Michael Arcuri is smashing the high expectations we Democrats had for this race. He's been an abyssmal disappointment, and this legislation is too much.

I'm not going to make excuses, like saying that it's okay to rip up half of the amendments in the Bill of Rights out of the hope that sometime, later, after a bunch more people have been imprisoned and tortured without criminal charge, the Supreme Court might possibly overturn the law.

That is a shabby, shabby justification for abandoning your ideals.

Would you excuse Michael Arcuri for declaring his support for legislation that would bring back slavery by saying that it's okay, because eventually the Supreme Court will overturn the law?

Is there anything that Michael Arcuri could do that would cause you not to vote for him?

Where are your standards?

Allen Carstensen said...

Jon said - "Allen, Michael Arcuri opposes the values those people fight for."

No he doesn't. He's too stupid to know what they stand for. You said he's a jellyfish remember? Even if he did oppose those values - I'd vote for him cause we need the ball back. It's not just about one player. Don't you get it?

You say you'll vote for Sylvia?

His team's not in the league!

24 Independent said...

Allen, I didn't ever say I'd vote for Sylvia. I'm not a Libertarian philosophically or electorally. I said I'd consider it.

I'm leaning toward going to the voting booth (or whatever electronic nightmare equivalent we get) and just choosing not to vote for anybody in this particular race. Other races have candidates that merit a vote, but I believe that it's a valid choice to not vote in a particular election if none of the candidates even come close to representing one's values.

Michael Arcuri stands against what I believe in. He won't get my support unless he admits that he was wrong and changes to opposition of the Military Commissions Act. I don't think it's an unreasonable choice to make, though it's earning me the abuse of many Arcuri loyalists.

Do these people really think that by coming here and getting belligerent with me they're going to change my mind?

Anonymous said...

I'm with Allen. I'm voting for Mike even though I disagree with some of the things he is saying. I think he has to say them. Period.

We need the ball in the democrats court and watch how quick Bush gets neutered. I really believe this.

24 Independent said...

Okay - Let's say that a politician really has to say that they think that it's a good idea to torture people, to throw them into secret prisons without any notice, to set up special courts where people can be convicted and sentenced to death without any good evidence, and that war criminals should be able to walk off scott free.

If that's really true, then our nation is marching quickly into genuine, grade A fascism.

If those are the circumstances, I don't think that the best strategy is to go along with the fascists, and say that you're one of them so that you can hope to get power on the inside of the fascist government and make the fascism a little nicer.

Michael Arcuri should have a spine. If what you're saying is really true, it might not get him elected, but it's the right thing to do.

Imagine the tragedy if, on Election Day, Ray Meier wins, and Mike Arcuri will have failed to take the opportunity to stand up for what's right. Arcuri will have joined the Bush pro-torture bandwagon, and for no good reason.

And you will have helped him.

Anonymous said...

Nice one Jon - now you are abdicating your responsibility as a citizen by advocating not voting.

24 Independent said...

Nonsense. I'll show up to vote. I just won't cast a ballot in that particular race.