Democrats For Torture
This NYT article focuses on the torture bill vote as a sign of strength for the Dems, but I'd like to review the flip side. What's not discussed is why 12 Democrats voted for the torture bill.
Now, maybe some actually thought it was good legislation. Let's leave that aside, and assume the vote was cast for political reasons, so GOPs couldn't accuse them of being soft on terrorism. (Not too far a leap to make, I think...)
Politically, did this vote make sense?
Are these Dems still scared of the Bush/GOP smear machine? Even in their states, they must have a sense that Independents, and even some GOPs, have had their fill of the Bush Administration and the Republican one-party rule, and see we need some accountability in DC.
We're not just talking NE and SD. It's NJ, DE, FL and MI. (CT, we all know about...)
Couldn't this vote be framed -- given Iraq, given WMD, given the incompetence -- as the Bush Administration going to far? Is there no way of positioning this vote in a way that works for their constituents? Again, this isn't 1994, or 2000 or 2004. There is a long record of failure in the Bush Administration to run against. As TPM reader noted over on Josh's site: "Basically, their entire argument is that if we don’t stick with their failures, they will become bigger failures."
Most important -- how can any of these Dems now use the "rubber-stamp Congress" frame against their opponents? This vote has now neutralized that (very valid) line of attack.
Are these Democrats truly tied by their constituencies, or are they just demonstrating a lack of imagination around the politics of national security?