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Bipartisan mischief

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Bipartisan mischief

When a consumer product safety bill sponsored by Sen. Mark Pryor was approved by the Senate over presidential opposition in April, Republicans joining Democrats in support of the bill, Pryor said this showed how the American people benefited from his policy of working across party lines. We said:

“That might be true, in this case. In others, excessive bipartisanship has produced less happy results. Thousands of casualties would have been avoided, and the world would be safer, if Democrats had been as willing to resist Bush's Iraqi adventure as he is to resist the protection of children.”

Not to brag, excessively, but the Senate proved our point last week. With the aid of Democratic senators, including Pryor and Blanche Lincoln, Bush won approval of a bill to continue government spying on American citizens, and to shield from legal responsibility the giant telecommunications companies that have abetted the administration's gross violation of civil liberties. Republican senators supported the president 100 percent, and almost half the Democrats voted with them. Only 27 Democrats and one independent voted to protect Americans from government snoops.

The other Senate independent, the serpentine Joe Lieberman, voted with Bush, though Lieberman once ran for vice president as a Democrat, and still caucuses with the Democrats. When he's not supporting Bush's disastrous policies, Lieberman is out campaigning for a Republican presidential nominee who has promised to continue those policies. Lieberman left the Democratic Party that had put him in the Senate after he was defeated in a Democratic primary by an opponent of Bush's dreadful little war. He kept his seat by defeating the Democratic nominee in the general election, commanding the support of the mainstream media and bipartisan enablers like Pryor. Would that Arkansas's junior senator were as devoted to the Bill of Rights as he is to Joe Lieberman. My crony, right or wrong.

After the Senate authorized more and better wiretapping, the Libertarian Party sneered (sneering is the Libertarian Party's forte) that Democrats “have been nothing but a doormat to the Republican-led assault on our Constitution.”A harsh judgment, but one can't quarrel with it. (And not so harsh, at that, as a prominent blogger's: “The sons of bitches just repealed the 4th Amendment.”)

The Democrats are paralyzed by timidity, incapable of being either principled or partisan. Apparently fearful of criticism from the corporate media, now Bush's only significant support, they allow a callous and irresponsible president to do as much harm as he can in the closing months of a failed administration. A real Democratic alternative would be far better, and more patriotic.

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