A Little Clarification

Something I failed to make clear in my earlier post is that the Dems’ complete failure on the torture vote—silence the week before; no filibuster; split voting; general timidity against this astounding rubbish—makes me loathe to accept the premise that, even if the Dems win one House of Congress, they’ll deliver on the gossamer promise to stop this madness in its tracks.

The argument for tactical voting is predicated on the assumption that the Dems will do what we hope—block outrageous SCOTUS appointments, restore the rule of law, guarantee fair elections, etc.—but what if they don’t? That question is haunting me today in a way it hasn’t before, explicitly because of their performance regarding the torture bill.

If you totally believe that the Democrats will deliver, as I did before now, then of course voting Dem is the only principled option. But if you have concerns, as I do now, that voting for the Dems could mean tacitly voting for the Bush agenda, then voting Dem could mean complicity in what’s happening (which is what I’m referencing when I talk about my principles).

And that’s what I’m really thinking about today. Do I believe that the Democrats are still willing to mount a vociferous opposition, given the majority?

It’s taken as read by many people that they are. I’m not so willing, after the torture vote, to give them that benefit of the doubt. Not today, anyway. Which is why I said I need time and distance to consider the question from a different perspective.

(And, bear in mind, I’m coming at this from the perspective of someone who would be voting for an unchallenged Democratic Representative, so my vote is basically symbolic. The Dems have given me no alternative to my Republican Senator, who is also running unchallenged; obviously I won’t be voting for him. I might feel differently, even right this moment, if my vote would actually make a difference.)

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