Sunday, October 21, 2007

Ron Paul paves the way for the Democrats

By Libby

I did a rather longish post on this last night at the Detroit News so I won't repeat all my points here but Ron Paul's proposed bill, HR 3835, the `American Freedom Agenda Act of 2007' is worth disseminating widely. [Steven D*] at Booman has the links the bill itself and a summary of the provisions. It's a good bill, one as Booman points out, the Democrats should have proposed the day after they took power.

Why wasn't this the first piece of legislation proposed by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid when they assumed control over the House and Senate, respectively? Eliminate the Military Commissions Act. No more torture. No more secret CIA prisons overseas. No more signing statements that can't be challenged in Court. No more show trials at Guantanamo. Restoration of Habeas Corpus.

I mean what's not to like? But instead we get Reid trying to shut down Dodd and Pelosi ready to embrace the latest GOP resolution of faux outrage over Stark's all too true remarks. You have to wonder WTF are they thinking? A question being asked by many bloggers today including, Paul Rosenberg at Open Left and Steve Soto who posts his polite, but scathing letter to Feinstein on the FISA cave-in.

I see a couple of dynamics in play here. First, both Dodd and Paul are bucking the establishment Congresslizards with their candidacies. They are unsupported in their worthwhile efforts by those in control of the party machines. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to conclude that perhaps the 'leadership' on both sides would prefer not to raise their profiles by allowing their proposals to go forward in order to keep their campaigns out of the limelight.

But there's also a deeper dysfunction in the system. The biggest reason I see that nothing of substance gets done inside the Beltway is that everybody is so afraid of the other side taking the credit for legislation that might actually benefit the population instead of the corporations, that they continuously one up each other with competing bills that are pretty much designed solely to thwart their opponents.

All this pretty talk about bi-partisanship is just that. If we had a Congress whose main concern was for the good of country, they would be working together to put forward joint bills. They don't seem to understand the low approval ratings are a result of even of the most uninvolved observers finally figuring that out.

The Democrats have a golden opportunity here to co-sponsor Paul's bill, which appears on its face to be a good one and make bi-partisanship an act instead of simply an empty phrase. It's too bad they're so unlikely to take it.

[Ed. note*: Text added to clarify it was Steven D. and not Booman who wrote that post, as pointed out in comments at Jim Henley's post, who kindly linked in.]

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