Surprise, surprise. The “rebel” Republicans weren’t so rebellious after all. They’ve spent the last week or two grandstanding and insisting on their opposition to the President’s torture and mock trials, but when it came time to choose between their (supposed) principles and helping their party present a united front in an election year, they sold out. Of course the ever-compliant media will bless this compromise since St. McCain can do no wrong. Even when he’s acting like a partisan ass, he’s somehow a non-partisan maverick. As usual, Digby‘s got the right take on all this :
Can anyone in the know explain to me how letting McCain run with this torture debate benefitted the Democrats in any way?
Here’s how the optics look to me:
McCain, the Republican rebel maverick, showed that Republicans are moral and look out for their troops.
Bush, the Republican statesman and leader, showed that he is committed to protecting Americans but that he is willing to listen and compromise when people of good faith express reservations about tactics.
The Democrats showed they are ciphers who don’t have the stones to even say a word when the most important moral issue confronting the government is being debated.
Unless the Dems ready to threaten to filibuster a national security bill a month before an election — which I doubt — I expect that the Republicans are going to rush this through the conference and force through this piece of shit bill in a hurry, just like they forced the AUMF through in October 2002 and give the republicans a big honking “victory” in the GWOT.
The Dems are all going to be twisted into pretzels and look like they have no backbones as they struggle with a united GOP saying that McCain and Huckleberry Graham made sure “the program” is moral and necessary. Vote for it for for the terrorists. So they’ll end up voting for it without getting any benefit from it.
Digby’s not the only one ready to call this one a defeat for Democrats but it shouldn’t be too hard for them to regain control on this issue (provided that a couple of them grow a spine). A decent rebuttal would go something like this :
“Senators McCain and Graham may have sold out on this issue, but the Democratic party still believes that torture is torture, no matter what the President may choose to call it. We in the Democratic party aren’t willing to sacrifice our humanity in order to protect our way of life, because to do so would destroy the moral foundation upon which this great nation was founded. The inhuman treatment of suspects by this administration is deplorable and if Senator McCain is no longer opposed to torture, then we’ll have to continue this fight without him.”
Don’t let the conventional wisdom coalesce around the notion that rubber stamping the President’s bill is a compromise. The GOP “rebels” are cowards for buckling under the pressure of their President and their party. The only compromise was the one made when those Senators sold their souls.