Monday, July 14, 2008

Edge Of No Escape

I'm a tad late to the FISA outrage party, and from the look of things, that's probably just as well. Broken bottles litter the torn, soiled carpet. Vomit flecks the battered walls. A few stragglers try to drag themselves out the door and into the morning light. Some righteous rhetoric can be heard in a back room, apparently an argument that has no resolution, but I'm not going to check. I'll grab the two remaining brews -- light beer, natch -- and be on my way.

Yes, there is much to be angry about; but as with so much else in our corporate cage, the FISA vote was inevitable and unstoppable. Some in the pricier pens, like Salon's Glenn Greenwald, rattled their bars for days and yelled with pious indignation, hoping that Obama would not only hear them, but would shift away from laying the groundwork for the next administration, presumably Obama's. Others, like The Field's Al Giordano, perhaps knowing that there was no chance to change the FISA vote, comforted themselves with the thought that since Obama has the presidency locked-up, there was no need to get upset. Obama had to appear "serious" concerning "national security" and deprive the desperate McCain campaign of any negative talking points. Once President Change is elected (a formality at this point), he'll naturally overturn the nastier aspects of the FISA give-away. Because when you study American history, you'll notice that most chief executives seek to limit state power as much as possible. So why all the caterwauling?

Of course, these serene observers have yet to adequately explain what happens should McCain be elected. I know -- only whack jobs and conspiracy theorists believe that's possible. Still, Obama and his colleagues have given a President McCain much to play with.

Cause for concern? Nah. It'll never happen.

I can only watch all this with bemused contempt. We are truly living in some kind of madhouse, not startling news, but occasionally one must say so out loud in order to verify that it's not a twisted dream. The Obamaites have just begun their march to power, and already you can see the crazed Joker smiles on their faces. Despite the pacific tone established by their leader, the foot soldiers are in no mood to brook dissent. While they insist that Obama's going to Make History, they bash any faint-hearted or concerned liberal over the head with a Crazy McCain stick, telling them that a single waver might push our once-magnificent nation even deeper into fascist Bushworld. And in most cases, the bashed liberals will meekly comply. Race is occasionally employed as well, and depending on how the campaign looks in the Fall, you can bet that skin tone will become a major weapon -- on both sides.

But for me, the most nauseating noise came from Sen. Chris Dodd, who last week sent out an email titled "A Heavy Heart." Touted as a Hero Of The People by libs like Greenwald and Jane Hamsher, Dodd's opposition to the FISA "capitulation" was mostly cosmetic, as he'll support Obama no matter what the man does. It's easy to appear like a civil libertarian firebrand when you have no shot to alter the grim reality. It's a time-tested money raising scheme, and helps to fence off the outer reaches of permissible debate about vital issues. I mean, you can't get more noble than Dodd, can you?

This has long been Dodd's game, going back to the Central American wars of the 1980s, when Dodd put a happy face on mass murder, political repression, and torture. Back then, as Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua where assaulted by US-backed terror armies, Dodd sought regional "compromise," critical of Reagan's worst rhetoric, but wholly in line with the overall policy. And let's not discuss Dodd's involvement with Indonesian terror, Israeli violence, and of course the Iraq war, the latter of which Dodd now "regrets" backing. Given all the blood he helped spill up to that vote, I don't know why Dodd would get the shakes at this late date. It's not as if, true to previous form, Dodd's attempting to fence off respectable opinion about the Iraq quagmire, is it? No, that's just too cynical to even consider.

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