Political Wushu II: Double Double Crossers

Friday, May 25, 2007

Appearing at The Blogging Curmudgeon, My Left Wing, and the Independent Bloggers' Alliance.




I was reminded today of a term I haven't thought about in a while, which is funny, because I coined the phrase: "political wushu." I introduced this concept on my blog here, and on My Left Wing here. Wushu means "Arts of War" and once described a body of serious martial arts disciplines in China. But under Mao it was stripped of any real fighting utility and became a dizzying acrobatic sport, which is, to this day, enjoyed as entertainment. Sadly, this is exactly what has happened to our representative democracy. What was once a brave experiment -- a practical application of principles rendered in the age of enlightenment -- is now an empty spectacle. The Democratic Party has put on something of a show of being an opposition party, but it is all part of a choreographed routine, in which the outcome is never in doubt. Their spears are flimsy tin. Their swords, dull.

Did we really expect Congressional Democrats to fight to the finish for timetables in Iraq? Did we honestly think they would put a stop to the madness of this Administration? No, friends. That's not how it was scripted. This week, the mighty Democrats took a dive.

Sure, opposition to this war is at an all-time high. Sure, three quarters of the country thinks the surge is a failure. The American people don't so much as pick out the music for these performances. We just stare slack-jawed from the audience and wait for the curtain to come down on yet another predictable denouement.

As David Sirota points out, Democrats are proud of their performances, and of their ability to dazzle and deceive.

And here's the worst part of it all - Democrats are now bragging about it. Not only have they sent out a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fundraising email attempting to confuse voters by claiming with a straight face that they really stood up to President Bush. But most insulting of all, they are actually running to reporters to pat themselves on the back for engineering a procedural pirouette designed to confuse the public. Here's the [Washington] Post again:

"But while protesters outside the Capitol condemned what they saw as a capitulation, Democrats inside were remarkably understanding of their speaker's contortions. Party leaders jury-rigged the votes yesterday to give all Democrats something to brag about...Democrats saw brilliance in the legerdemain. And with such contortions came more appreciation for the efforts Pelosi was making to fund the war in a fashion most palatable to angry Democrats. 'It was the responsible thing to do, and she's a responsible speaker,' said Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.)."

This is what we're dealing with folks. A party that runs to the press to brag about the brilliance of using their majority not to end the war, but to create a situation that makes it seem as if they oppose the war, while actually helping Republicans continue it.

Sleight of hand, indeed. Here, Sirota breaks down, step-by-step, the complex choreography of the Democrat's illusion.

...Every bill comes to the House floor with what is known as a "rule" that sets the terms of the debate over the legislation in question. House members first vote to approve this parliamentary rule, and then vote on the legislation. Today, however, Democrats are planning to essentially include the Iraq blank check bill IN the rule itself, by making sure the underlying bill the rule brings to the floor includes no timelines for withdrawal, and that the rule only allows amendments that fund the war with no restrictions - blank check amendments that House Democratic leaders know Republicans will have the votes to pass.

This means that when the public goes to look for the real vote on the Iraq supplemental bill, the public won't find that. All we will find is a complex parliamentary procedure vote, which was the real vote. Democratic lawmakers, of course, will use the Memorial Day recess to tell their angry constituents they really are using all of their power to end the war, that they voted against the Republican blank check amendment which the rule deliberately propels, and that the vote on the rule - which was the real vote for war - wasn't really the important vote, when, in fact, they know very well it is the biggest vote on the war since original 2002 authorization for the invasion. It is a devious, deliberately confusing cherry on top of the manure sundae being served up to the American public, which voted Democrats into office on the premise that they would use their congressional majority to end the war...

As I said here:

Establishment Democrats have long since ceased to be an opposition party. They are tools of a statist regime giving us all a good show, but stripped of any real power to stop a political juggernaut years in the making; one that would make kings of presidents and reduce Congress to a sad spectacle.

And so we are saddled with this war for the indefinite future; one that has claimed 3437 of our troops, as of this writing, and at a rate that spirals ever upward.

Today I learned that still greater horrors may await us, as the Bush Administration prepares to make its consolidation of power complete.

President Bush, without so much as issuing a press statement, on May 9 signed a directive that granted near dictatorial powers to the office of the president in the event of a national emergency declared by the president.

The "National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive," with the dual designation of NSPD-51, as a National Security Presidential Directive, and HSPD-20, as a Homeland Security Presidential Directive, establishes under the office of president a new National Continuity Coordinator.

What will the Democrats do? Will they stand and fight to the last for what is left of our tattered Democracy? Will they guard the gates to their dying breaths like the Spartans at Thermopylae? Or will they simply dance, dance, dance!


2 comments:

J Crowley said...

I think Democrats need to grasp the idea that it's all image. The public is reluctant to vote for Democrats not so much because of the party's standpoint on issues but because they all come across as indecisive, bland fuckwads. How many people voted for Bush because he seemed like the candidate they'd most like to have a beer with? Politics became American Idol with the dawn of television, and anyone who expects to win really needs to understand that.

J Crowley said...

Er, sorry, forgot to include my point:

They're so afraid to get things done because they're afraid of pissing off voters, but that's an attitude that, I think, the American voters find repellent and pathetic. If they stopped being such whimpering little indecisive puppies, not only could Democrats maybe stand a better chance of getting (re-)elected, we could also actually maybe accomplish something for a change.