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Thanks to Pritchett Cartoons

By David Podvin

The United States Senate is a place where those who can’t tell the difference between right and wrong perpetrate evil with the complicity of those who can. Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy can certainly tell the difference, but like his Democratic colleagues he doesn’t allow that ability to affect his behavior.

When considering the nomination of Condoleeza Rice to be Secretary of State, Leahy noted that Rice was an incompetent National Security Advisor who had repeatedly deceived the American people. The senator then said this: “My vote in favor of Dr. Rice is difficult to explain. It is more the product of a belief than a cold analysis of her record. I believe that Dr. Rice is capable of learning from her mistakes and changing her ways. That she will rise to this new challenge. That she can be a good Secretary of State.”

Leahy’s vote is not difficult to explain. He is a coward whose stated principles have no practical significance. This real life Barney Fife is so obsessed with capitulating to an administration that has tarred Democrats as unpatriotic that he gave Rice the benefit of the doubt even after admitting there was no doubt.

The Democratic rank and file has been betrayed by losers like Leahy for so long that any brief respite from the torment is greeted with a sincere outpouring of gratitude. When Barbara Boxer aggressively interrogated Rice about the Bush sycophant’s criminality, Boxer was hailed as a hero by liberals across America. There was a time when brave Democrats risked their lives to promote social justice by taking stands against the ruling class, but the party’s greatly reduced threshold for heroism now consists of the willingness to criticize a perjurer.

A Democratic senator is supposed to condemn a nominee who deceived this nation into supporting an illegal war and then helped prosecute that war in a barbaric manner. Praising a Democrat for not passively submitting to the depravity of Condoleezza Rice is morally equivalent to exalting a business partner for not embezzling. It is an excruciatingly degraded standard by which to judge people.

Boxer is no giant – she is merely the tallest pygmy. Although the senator challenged the presidential election results of 2004, she was morally absent without leave when the Congressional Black Caucus went looking for a Senate sponsor to contest the provable theft that occurred in 2000. And it was Barbara Lee, not Barbara Boxer, who took the lonely stand against providing Bush with dictatorial powers to conduct his international crusade of conquest. Boxer is a basically decent public servant who stands out only because the roster of the Democratic Senate Caucus reads like a Who’s Who of Who Sucks.

There are the parasitic Democratic senators like Max Baucus and Dianne Feinstein, who consistently vote for their own financial interests at the expense of their constituents. There are the ambitious Democratic senators, like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, who are establishing their bona fides with the chattering class at the expense of their purported ideals. There are the elitist Democratic senators like Joseph Biden and Evan Bayh, who view the populist wing of the party with utter disdain. And, of course, there is Joe Lieberman.

The only thing lacking for this ship of fools is the ship.

The Senate Democrats have stood by while an illicit Republican president looted the Treasury and shredded the Constitution and bullied the world. Ninety-five percent of Bush’s ideologically extreme judicial nominations have been confirmed because the “opposition” party is afraid that voting against reactionary nuts might provoke criticism.

As Charles Schumer puts it, “We are keeping our powder dry in order to avoid being marginalized as obstructionists.” He swears that the constant capitulation is all just a brilliant ploy, and at the optimal moment the Senate Democrats will swing into action and become the best doggone champions of democracy you ever saw!

After decades of watching these urinals-masquerading-as-humans repeatedly drop to their knees like porn queens, an observer might be excused for harboring just a little skepticism. The problem with the Schumer Dry Powder Strategy is that the barbarians have already stormed the gate and burned down the village and are now enthusiastically raping the women and torturing the children (literally – just ask the Iraqis). At a point that was reached many years ago, it was necessary for Schumer and his fellow self-styled Machiavellians to stop strategizing long enough to start fighting back.

Democratic senators are not evil – Orrin Hatch is evil – but they are unwilling to combat evil, which in politics is arguably a distinction without a difference. Left to their own designs, they would do good things, yet when confronted by the bad guys they melt like marshmallows over an open flame.

Consider the extent of the pathology: eighteen Senate Democrats recently voted for the Class Action Fairness Act Of 2005 that the GOP had announced was intended to defund the lawyers who help subsidize Democratic campaigns. Despite the fact that Republicans made it unmistakably clear the intention of the bill was to enable the defeat of Democratic senators, longtime collaborators like Feinstein and Bayh voted with the right wing, as did fledgling collaborator Obama.

The Senate Democrats continue to sidestep each new Bush scandal like master toreadors deftly pivoting away from a bull. No matter how hard he tries to get into trouble, Bush just can’t quite pull it off. Whether the issue is war crimes in Iraq or treason at the CIA or gay prostitutes planted among the White House press corps, Democratic senators have abandoned responsibility for opposing Republican wrongdoing.

After having been betrayed time and again, some liberal activists understandably find it comforting to immerse themselves in fantasy. These traumatized souls now perceive an encouraging (albeit nonexistent) trend towards toughness among the senators who supposedly represent them. It is a mirage that has also been sighted by cynical corporate pundits who often pretend the Democratic jellyfish have morphed into piranha.

Alas, the piranha have no teeth. Although Minority Leader Harry Reid is receiving rave reviews from the same progressive über optimists who confidently predicted John Kerry was going to get into the White House, the Nevadan has already stated that he could support totalitarian Antonin Scalia for the position of Chief Justice Of The United States.

Other than that, Mrs. Kennedy, how was the motorcade?

While being optimistic feels good, being realistic is a more important component of the progressive philosophy. Realistically, despite an occasional lapse into honorable behavior, the Senate Democrats are so undependable that they constitute a serious threat to liberal ideals.

The most praiseworthy aspect of the Clinton administration was the president’s unwavering pro-choice stance, but now his wife is making ugly noises about “finding common ground” with misogynists The only compromise that is acceptable to America’s woman haters is the confiscation of reproductive rights, and Mrs. Clinton knows it. However, Hillary is the prototypical Senate Democrat who never met a supporter she didn’t like (to stab in the back).

The ongoing series of senatorial betrayals is a nightmare from which one never awakes. The axiom that Democratic voters must channel their energy exclusively towards beating Republicans is invalidated by the awe-inspiring fecklessness of the Schumers and the Reids. Electing a few more poltroons and numerically retaking control of the Senate will not solve the problem – Democratic senators have previously displayed a willingness to surrender from a position of strength.

When there are players in the huddle who are trying to throw the game, the team’s first priority must be to drag the traitors off the field. Only after the Democrats have seized control of their own party will they be able to defeat the Republicans. This purge will not actually require replacing all the turncoats because once a few of them have been pummeled the rest will meekly fall into line.

Remember, caving in is what Democratic senators do best. The only question is which way they will cave, and provided with sufficient pressure, they will cave in the appropriate direction.

During World War II, Charles DeGaulle bravely led the French Resistance that fought fascism. Domestic conservatives are just as intent on destroying democracy as German conservatives were, but the American Resistance lacks a DeGaulle. As Howard Dean attempts to become that leader, he will begin his party chairmanship burdened by Senate Democrats who consistently provide aid and comfort to the enemy.

Liberals must ultimately assume responsibility for the sorry quality of their senators. Until primary voters stop supporting invertebrates like Leahy and Lieberman and Biden and Feinstein, the Republicans will maim the United States with impunity. The essential counterbalance to evil is resolve. For that quality to radiate again from the Democratic Party, a newly vigilant rank and file must at long last refuse to accept anything less.

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Last changed: December 13, 2009