Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 27, 2006

Smartass Rove

You have to concede that to him - he IS a smartass.

There is the planed drop in oil-/gas-prices which of course will fit Rove and his party. There is the superb voter turnout strategy and there is the self-absolution of this administration on torture. But even Balkin misses that last, most important, point.

The bill's "terror" relation and its late introduction has the superficial function, so far successfully, to frighten the Democrats in Congress to not oppose it. They could be called weak on the t-word. In Republican voter strategy minds, this meens week on terror, but in any clear liberal mind is simply weak on opposing torture and basic values.

But terror/torture is not the essence of this. Rove does not care if his boss will be superficially (unitary executive?) restricted to order eternal internment and torture of anybody materially supporting hostilities against official U.S. policy, i.e. us.

Cheney will do whatever he gets away with anyway. Rove does not care about reason or habeas corpus. He cares about winning elections - and that is what he will do.

To him, this bill is an insurance policy. If the Democrats, through some curious circumstances, would win a majority in a part of Congress, their first thought would be to find a line for legal steps probably leading to an impeachment investigation of Bush. That would be a catastrophy to the Republican case worse than seen during and after the Nixon impeachment.

So, to Rove, this is about the survival of his party.

Currently, there are probably no people in secret CIA prisons. There is no immediate need to torture anybody (there could, to me, never be a need at all). But the real intent of the rush to this bill is to put into law an indemnification of prior deeds.

This may be the very last chance for the Rove administration to do such dike building against the probably coming flood of hearings.

This bill would effectively pardon any CIA agent, any of his/hers superiors and, most importantly Cheney, for ordering their deeds.

That, and only that, is what this really is about.

The Democrats seem to fail to see how their hands may be bound in future by supporting this legislation.

They also fail to see how their potential voters see this as cowardice against a basic assassination of their values, as a clear sign not to vote for them, i.e. not to vote at all.

So Rove, smartass he is, wins.

An additional late thought on this: If this legislation fails, there is a real, REAL "1%" danger for Cheney to see the ICC from the dock side. To avert that, an attack on Iran may be worthwhile - even before this election. That could be a reason to support its passing, but that is not what the Dems are about.

Posted by b on September 27, 2006 at 19:54 UTC | Permalink


Currently, there are probably no people in secret CIA prisons.

I seriously doubt that.

Posted by: Pyrrho | Sep 27 2006 21:10 utc | 1

If the Demos do win a majority, they are going to do exactly what? If they won't stop torture or spying now, they're suddenly going to grow balls and impeach Lucifer Himself a few weeks from now after the election? "Cut and run" in Iraq? Oppose war with Iran? Repeal the Patriot Act? Would someone please tell We the Sheeple what we can realistically expect from the flip side of the Asshat Coin?

Posted by: m | Sep 27 2006 21:14 utc | 2

karl rove is certanly a liberachean form of lucifer of that, there can be little question - but what exactly are they winning

the world(s) they are constructing are turning to shit within a week of each & every turn that they claim as victory on this & that front - whether it is in war or on the homefront

the sole area which from here seem to be consolidating are the institutions & the affects of fear & those of internal security

i cannot see, as is proved tonight on the 'detainees troture guidelines' - that on every count - the democrats have proved they are both victims & perpetrators of the institutions of fear

or of illusion as is the case with the ever dissapearing patrick fitgerald

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Sep 27 2006 21:39 utc | 3

Pretty piss pathetic, the Dems are.

That for sure.

Posted by: Ms. M | Sep 27 2006 21:46 utc | 4

I think this is mostly about the Arar and al-Masri rendition cases that are gathering steam in Canada and Germany. Eventually either could prove to be major embarassments for the US internationally, and
I'm sure this is the argument that's being made for bi-partisan support of this atrocious legislation. And of course the Dems in Congress will roll over once again and Rove and the Rethugs will use this just as Bernard so eloquently predicts.


Posted by: | Sep 27 2006 22:05 utc | 5

Sorry, that was me at #5....

Posted by: McGee | Sep 27 2006 22:06 utc | 6

There are many who still believe that the outcome of the election depends on how the voters vote.

Posted by: pb | Sep 27 2006 23:02 utc | 7

I wonder what would happen if every Democrat in Congress, House and Senate did not debate the bill but simply voted against it? Would the ayes still have it?

Posted by: pb | Sep 27 2006 23:16 utc | 8

@pb #8:

I wonder what would happen if every Democrat in Congress, House and Senate did not debate the bill but simply voted against it? Would the ayes still have it?

Not exactly "every Democrat", but looks bleak.

Via Glenn:

UPDATE II: The House voted today to pass the President's interrogation and detention bill. The roll call vote is here. Democrats voted against the bill by a vote of 219-34. Republicans voted in favor of the bill by a vote of 160-7. Of the 34 Democrats voting in favor of the bill, two are currently in close races for the Senate: Rep. Harold Ford in Tennessee and Sherwood Brown in Ohio.

House Democrats acquitted themselves reasonably well on this issue. Several House members gave very stirring and passionate speeches about defending core American values. It remains to been seen whether Democratic opposition to the bill in the Senate will be anywhere near as overwhelming.

So an enemy combatant will be "anyone who has purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States"

Sure feels like that speaks directly at me.

Posted by: montysano | Sep 27 2006 23:29 utc | 9

it seems we will need at least two republicans to vote against it in the senate. the targets are snow and collins from maine. there will be no vote in the senate before tomorrow.

there is a live thread on dkos about the proceedings there. i'd post a link, but either my computer or typepad will not allow me to cut and paste tonight. it is easy to locate in the recommended section. it appears that specter introduced an amendment today which could make it difficult to reconcile the the senate bill with the house bill within a 48 hour or less timeframe. i do not know what specter's amendment was yet - thread is 469 comments long and the specter amendment is buried someplace in it. if i learn more i will post more.

Posted by: conchita | Sep 27 2006 23:41 utc | 10

rebooted and typepad began to cooperate again. here is a summary of today's events and an explanation of the specter amendment from a comment at dkos:

The House bill adopts all the provisions pretty much that the Bush Administration wants including provisions allowing evidence otained through cruel and inhuman treatment and suspension of habeas corpus. It passed the House today.

The Senate has defeated an amendment which would reinstate the bill that was reported out of committee. This means that the "compromise" version that the Bush Administration insisted upon is the one they will vote on. This is largely the same as the House version. They are currently debating an ammendment, the Specter Amendment, that strips the provisions that would eliminate habeas corpus rights.

That is, they are debating eliminating habeas corpus, the right not to be just tossed in jail forever with no recourse, permanently for an entire class of prisoners for the first time in US History. Lincoln suspended habeas corpus for a time during the civil war, but this just for a period of insurection. The Constitution says that you can not suspend habeas except for INVASION or REBELLION. They are effectively saying we either have been invaded or are in rebellion. Today the debate in the Senate over the Specter Amendment was tabled until tomorrow. The Republicans gave their reasons why these people that Bush decalares enemy combatants should not be afforded constitutional rights. Tomorrow the Democrats, lead by Leahy will pick up the debate...

If the Specter Amendment goes down. It will be the first time in US History that habeas has been eliminated permanently. It is blatantly unconstitutional and Unamerican. This is a seminal moment in our history.

once again i can't believe the opposition party has not organized a filibuster.

Posted by: conchita | Sep 28 2006 0:03 utc | 11

they are going to come and get me and lock me away forever.

Posted by: annie | Sep 28 2006 0:38 utc | 12

Opposition Party? Is there one? Did I miss something while away from here?

Posted by: Malooga | Sep 28 2006 1:18 utc | 13

Welcome to the opposition party, Malooga. (byob)

Posted by: beq | Sep 28 2006 1:24 utc | 14

Maybe not, Annie. If this comes down anything like the "Drug War", the Criminal Class may be more interested in your "terrorist-supporting assets" than locking you up.

Posted by: m | Sep 28 2006 1:24 utc | 15

If this thing passes, we are looking at 'president for life' Bush. Otherwise President Dennis Kucinich could have him arrested in 2009 and deny him habeas corpus.

Posted by: pb | Sep 28 2006 2:40 utc | 16

"Democrats voted against the bill by a vote of 219-34."

If there were 253 dems in the house we wouldn't be in this mess.

Posted by: Brian Boru | Sep 28 2006 4:36 utc | 17

"If there were 253 dems in the house we wouldn't be in this mess."

Way too simplistic. I'm sorry. If there were a plurality of jackasses in the House, you just wouldn't see the same kind of unity in opposition. Nobody wants to get "Wellstoned" (or did you really think that Pervez Musharraf climbed aboard the Empire wagon all of his own free will?). Since there is not a majority of jackasses in the House, and since it's an election year, they are not being pressured to vote in any particular way.

That's how things work under a unitary executive system. You guys are still clinging to the model that the USA has a federalist government... if that ever truly were the case, it certainly isn't any longer. If substantive change is going to come, it's not going to be coming from the legislative branch anymore. The days of Watergate-style accountability or even checks-and-balances have become as "quaint and obsolete" as the Geneva Convention.

Posted by: Monolycus | Sep 28 2006 4:51 utc | 18

@Malooga...hope you had a softer than anticipated landing...and that you're back w/us in some form close to the original...

re Monolycus' post: Glad to see I'm not the only one who speaks of people being "Wellstoned"...FDR wouldn't have been "FDR" had there not been the enormous pressure from popular movements that there was. Conversely, Clinton might not have been the lootocrat's stooge had he had serious countervailing pressures. But everyone's apparently more worried about Israel's bullshit than about domestic economic nightmares the lootocrats are pulling..

Posted by: jj | Sep 28 2006 5:06 utc | 19

@Malooga...hope you had a softer than anticipated landing

ditto , good cheers and toastin' to ya. round on the house.

Posted by: annie | Sep 28 2006 5:18 utc | 20

NYT top editorial: Rushing Off a Cliff

Here’s what happens when this irresponsible Congress railroads a profoundly important bill to serve the mindless politics of a midterm election: The Bush administration uses Republicans’ fear of losing their majority to push through ghastly ideas about antiterrorism that will make American troops less safe and do lasting damage to our 217-year-old nation of laws — while actually doing nothing to protect the nation from terrorists. Democrats betray their principles to avoid last-minute attack ads. Our democracy is the big loser.

Posted by: b | Sep 28 2006 5:44 utc | 21

Yesterday I saw a short sequence of an interview with former German Kanzler Helmut Schmid. He was asked what he thinks about Iran and the US and the upcoming elections. His answer was and I am paraphrasing:

I am not very hopeful, I do not think the American people have yet learned the lesson of the Iraq war and Congress has barely awakened to the lessons of that war.

This the essence of what he said and what sticked in my memory and I must say I do agree with him.

Posted by: Fran | Sep 28 2006 13:27 utc | 22

so do i, fran, so do i.

Posted by: conchita | Sep 28 2006 13:31 utc | 23

& i fran

& mucho gracias à toi for yr thoughts

given last nights vote it looks like the reichstag circa 1935

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Sep 28 2006 14:23 utc | 24

out of the bottle,and right back,this is just to much.............................................................................................................................................................................................................

Posted by: onzaga | Sep 28 2006 17:25 utc | 25

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