…I'm bringing another comment to the front page, because Mark Centz raises some points worth response and amplification. He begins
Shaun, certainly you know that using pacifist left is a propagandist tactic. Many of us against this war are not pacifists, we are against illegal wars of aggression carried out in our name at the cost of untold lives, 2 billion a week, and the respect of the world.
To the first point I can only say, well, yeah. Pretty much every thing I write here uses language as a propagandist tactic. Everything I write, everything I quote, every graphic I post, all of it's here in the service of a particular point of view. I'm not objective, not about most anything. Heck, I was picking teams to root for in the World Cup and I don't really give a good goddamn about the World Cup.
As to the second point, well, yeah again. Since I'm
against the Iraq war and the ongoing occupation, and since I'm not a pacifist, I'll readily concede the point. To argue that many, even most, opponents of the war aren't pacifists isn't to say that there are no pacifists in the ranks of the anti-war left, or that faction doesn't represent a significant force in the assault from Maria's left flank.
Of course, it's not "just about the war," is it? Mark raises some of the other issues in play...
You and Carl are correct that she voted correctly on the Flag Burning Amendment. It’s astonishing that any Democrat would even consider voting for it, but there they were doing so, and the Junior Senator resisted, so hooray. Meanwhile, as shoephone rightly points out, the odious Patriot Act is law with her support. The slim chance we had of stopping Alito was made slimmer by her vote for cloture. Didn’t your guy Kerry start that ball rolling? Yes he did, and good for him. Her votes for Ashcroft, Rice, and Gonzales were indefensible.
The Patriot Act became law, of course, with the support of 99 Senators. That's every single one of them, save Russ Feingold, who coincidentally is a Cantwell supporter, not just in name or by check. No, Russ came to Washington to campaign with Maria. Maybe that's because he values her support during the Patriot reauthorization as a group of Democrats, faced with the certain passage of such a reauthorization, labored hard to make such improvements in the margins as they could. Maria co-sponsored the SAFE Act with Feingold and others, to protect librarians, booksellers and their patrons. She joined a filibuster in an effort to force concessions, including retention of sunset provisions, and, in the end, that effort enjoyed a degree of success. Hardly the degree I'd like, but this is hardly the Senate I want. Of course, in a legislative environment, sometimes the price of winning on a small point or two means sucking it up come final passage time. "Give me what I want but don't expect me to vote for it" is a lousy bargaining chip.
And then Alito. No, Maria didn't join Kerry's filibuster. Of course, most of her colleagues didn't. The filibuster wasn't authorized or whipped by the Democratic caucus. It was something John Kerry was honor bound to do to fulfil a long-standing commitment to his constituency, and while his willingness to stick his neck out in the face of certain failure may be laudatory, it was a personal, not a partisan, battle. While I, too, would have been delighted had Maria cast a toke vote for the filibuster, its fate was sealed by the Gang of 14's decision to support the nomination. Again, Maria's failure to sustain the filibuster he led didn't deter Kerry from traveling to Washington to campaign at her side, nor should it deter Democrats from enthusiastically supporting their Senator.
Mark quickly acknowledges
that Maria didn't, in fact, vote for Gonzales. Neither, in fact, did she vote for Ashcroft. She did vote for Rice, but frankly, I can see several possible lines of defense for that confirmation. Others may or may not find them persuasive, but "indefensible" is simply inaccurate.
Your ongoing meme, it’s Cantwell or McGavick., is flawed. Not because Mark Wilson has no realistic chance of winning in November, but because our reasoned and vocal displeasure with the candidate for reelection may result in a better Senator. No question the Cantwell in hand is better than the McSafeco in the bush, but there are too many of us that think Cantwell ought to be better than she is. If she defended the Constitution with the same ferocity that she defends the wilderness, she’d have many more champions, and no shortage of doorbellers.
Except that, well, it is
Cantwell or McGavick. I you won't take my word for it, ask Mark Wilson. Should Maria be "better than she is"? Well, sure. She should
be perfect, by which I mean she should reflect my personal view on every issue, every time. As the great American philosopher Lenny Bruce said, though, "What should be is a lie. The truth is what is
." And what is
is a binary choice. Cantwell or McGavick. Flawed? I beg to differ. It's the truth.
But in the end...
Right now, the only reason I support her is because I want Harry Reid as Majority Leader. Without that, ANWR drilling becomes a certainty in the next Congress, no matter what the Junior Senator does. And far more importantly, we might just get some real oversight on an outlaw regime.
There ya' go, Mark. All said and done, you support her. We're on the same team. You, Mark and I all view Maria through our own reality tunnels, all find our own points of agreement and dissent, and all come to the same conclusion. We support Maria. Dissent can't make her a better Senator if it takes forms that make her an ex-Senator. It's past time to choose up sides. It's time to get to work.