Thursday, May 21, 2009

Running Scared

Yesterday, the Senate handed President Obama a resounding defeat. They voted 90-6 against the funding for the closing of Gitmo. This astounding vote can only be described as an absolute victory for the Right wing fear machine. Since Obama announced that he was going to close Gitmo, the voices on the right have been screaming that this will certainly make us less safe. Republican representatives have been using every available pulpit to assert that they are not willing to take these dangerous detainees in their state prisons.

It seems almost laughable to hear the Right talk about these detainees as if they were master criminals from fiction. It would seem that we have everybody from the Joker to Lex Luther and they are just waiting for the opportunity to be on American soil so that they can reap havoc on the citizens of this country. The fact that we already have convicted terrorists in our prisons does not seem to matter to the Right. Those guys are apparently just the B team. The people we have in Gitmo are the real criminal masterminds. Never mind the fact that no one has ever escaped from a supermax prison, to hear the Right tell it, those super fortified detention centers are no match for the brilliant and devious minds of the detainees at Gitmo.

Before yesterdays vote, Senator Dianne Feinstein of California gave an impassioned speech in which she explained that the supermax detention centers in her state were more than capable of handling these detainees. She also said that she hoped that her fellow Senators had not been swayed by any words to the contrary. Of course she then went out and voted against the funding herself. Amazingly, this was not the most egregious action in the Senate yesterday. That prize would have to go to Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader. After having voted against the funding, he gave a press conference in which he stated that he didn't want these people released onto American streets. He was reminded by a reporter that the President wasn't talking about releasing anyone, but just transferring them. He responded that you can't put them in prison unless you release them??!?!?!?!?! I have no idea what he could have possibly meant, but when the leader of the Democrats in the Senate is spewing ridiculous right wing talking points, you know that something has gone terribly wrong.

Maybe I don't understand. Perhaps our federal prisons are as easy to get out of as jury duty. Who knows? I somehow find that hard to believe though. As stated before, we already have terrorists in our prisons. They have not managed to escape and unless we are bringing the inmates from Arkham asylum, I don't think that we'll have a mass escape any time soon. The Republicans love to play the politics of fear and this time it seems to have ensnared most of the Senate. I thought that the Democratic Senators were smarter than that, but then I tend to give people too much credit.
UPDATE: Here are the six brave souls who voted for the measure: Durbin (D-IL)Harkin (D-IA)Leahy (D-VT)Levin (D-MI)Reed (D-RI)Whitehouse (D-RI). They deserve our thanks.


Jack Jodell said...

I am with you every step of the way on this one, Michael. It was flabbergasting to see so many Dems crumple under this far-right, hysterical lie that putting these detainees in our supermax prisons will somehow endanger this country. These crazy Republicans talk as though we would be allowing the prisoners to roam freely all through our malls and on our playgrounds. What a load of bull! Even if one of them WERE to escape (virtually impossible), wholly unsure of our terrain and our customs, and probably unable to coherently speak our language, where would he go, and how long would he be able to stay free? The notion is utterly preposterous, and it was disgusting to see so many Dems fall for it. Feinstein's turnabout is inexcusable. Harry Reid is a weak, wimpy, limp-wristed pale shell of a man. How he rose to become Senate Majority Leader defies logic. He isn't even 10% of what great previous majority leaders like Lyndon Johnson, Mike Mansfield, Robert Byrd, or Tom Daschle were!

SJ said...

@Mycue23, @ Jack
Here's a few quotes from yesterday to let us see just how unfocused on reality we are as a nation:

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): What we need here is not a speech, but a plan, and a plan was what was clearly missing from the speech here today. What is driving this issue? In my view, what is driving this issue is a quest for popularity in Europe more than continuing policies that demonstrably have made America safe since 9/11.-A plan Mr. McConnell? As if the last eight years weren't a slapdash power grab by Cheney, Rumsey and the rest of those Nixon era goons?REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), House Minority Leader: Despite the overwhelming opposition from the American people and a bipartisan majority here in Congress, he's moving ahead with importing terrorists into the United States for trial in our civilian federal courts. I think this is a pre-9/11 mentality, and I think it'll make our nation less safe.-Nobody cares that you, -John Boehner- thinks we're less safe. You're a member of the party whose goldbricking candidate cheated his way into office and let 9/11 happen in the first place. This was not a bipartisan effort, just a bunch of pussies running scared from their principles and our Constitution.and finally some sanity...SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), Illinois: For us to continue to keep voting on ways to foreclose the possibilities of bringing Guantanamo to close in a responsible fashion I don't think is responsible conduct. I hope that we will stop this, allow the president to show his leadership. He inherited this mess at Guantanamo. He's doing his best to find solutions consistent with our values and keeping in mind his primary responsibility to keep us safe.Everyone in this country needs to hear those last remarks over and over again, as for those other "Democrats?" I am again convinced they are capable of woefully little in the face of political adversity.Where are the James Carvilles, the Howard Deans of the world when we need them most? -When we need them to point at an imbecile like John Boehner and say:
"Would you just look at that imbecile?!"

BurrDeming said...

Just a few years ago, when Senate Democrats cowered before abuses by the Bush administration, then-Senator Obama remarked on the frequent charge that Democrats do not stand for anything. "It now appears we will stand for anything."

Jack Jodell said...

Side not for SJ and Michael: I just learned the DCCC is intending to hit that crazy Michele Bachmann hard next year in an attempt to unseat her, which I hope will be successful. They've started a great new website with direct quotes and videos of her insane statements, and they slam down each thing she says with documented fact. For some great comedy, go to That woman is truly out of her mind!

SJ said...

many thanks for that link. Aubrey Immelman is certainly an interesting candidate. How he lost to someone as crazy and vapid as Bachmann in the primaries would be shocking... -if we hadn't already lived through the presidential elections in 2000 and 2004.