Thursday, January 26, 2006

Tell me what Democracy looks like

To be clear, Senators, what you have to lose by not filibustering:
Posted by bleever
Added to homepage Thu Jan 26th 2006, 06:57 AM ET

There's an axiom in marketing that it's the "Enthusiasts" who drive sales and innovation. The notion of what is worthy of attention or even excitement (when it comes from the customer base, and not fabricated by some ad writer) comes from the people most passionately involved, whether it be bicycling, shoes, or high-fiber breakfast cereals.

What the party has to lose by not filibustering is the opportunity to call the Bush's bluff on the limitlessness of his power. To say, "I call, and I raise." In other words, to show up and do the work of being a real opposition party, towards which Democrats have been working with increasing skill and intelligence for the last five years. This is the moment we've been working for.

To pass on this opportunity is to release the very carefully built-up steam out of the pushback against creeping anti-Constitutionalism, and to misuse one of the party's crucial assets: their passionate citizen base, especially on the internet, and perhaps most especially DU (though I don't want to debate the size of DU's share of the blogospheric credit/blame).

Yeah, we'll still show up and vote for them. But how hot will the fire burn amongst their supporters (especially the "enthusiasts") to feel like real winners, who can promote a message that sells itself, when it comes time to mobilize every possible occasional voter?

And to be completely honest, my own preference would be to filibuster IN ORDER TO trigger the nuclear option. Then walk out of the State of the Union speech. Tell the American people:

"We didn't do this to break the government. We did this because the government is already broken, and it's broken because that's what the Republicans have been trying to do. Cut the minority completely out of the picture, disable the two party system, and let the 'tyranny of the majority' that our founding fathers feared take over. Disable the checks and balances of the three branches of government, first by gaining and holding controlling majorities in both houses of Congress by whatever means necessary, regardless of established ethics, and also by creating a Supreme Court that is reluctant to question the Executive branch. And finally, to change the historic rules of the Senate, the world's greatest deliberative body, so that by getting just a single vote over 50%, they can force a choice onto 100% of the American people.

"It is time to stand up to these anti-Constitutional tendencies and say, No. We believe in the wisdom of the Constitution, with its three equal branches of government, and will not let them be undone. To say, No, never before in American history has fear caused us to turn our back on the Constitution, and we will not let it be done now.

"President Bush has his opportunity tonight to tell the American people what he sees as the state of our union. We want it to be clear to the American people that no man, no president, can use the threats that face America to say that we should weaken essential American liberties. Because anyone who believes that threats justify weakening our liberties, in the end only weakens America. If fact, America is strongest when it stays true to itself. To its liberties, to its founders' vision, and to its innate ability to withstand any attack or foe, without flinching."

Seize the moment, or be seized by it. We have nothing to fear, but fear itself.


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