Saturday, August 11, 2007

Finally, I Scoop Drum

Ha ha! Several times I've posted something only to find out that Kevin Drum beat me to the punch. Well, Finally I made a point before he did. Take that, Drum! Bwahahahaha!

The point was that we got the new FISA bill roughly like we got into Iraq: the Dems knew that if they voted against it and things went bad, they'd be toast. The Republicans can afford to be wrong about such things, but Dems can't. If they make an error of that kind, the Republican noise machine will make them out to be Quislings. If Dems had opposed the invasion and it had been a cakewalk, or if they'd stopped it and there'd been another terrorist attack, they wouldn't control Congress or the presidency for...god knows how long. Similarly with the new FISA law. If they'd stopped it and there'd been another terrorist attack, they'd be toast, regardless of whether it had anything to do with the law or not.

The charitable interpretation of all of this is that the Dems are playing the hand they've been dealt: they'll always be at a disadvantage in such cases, and they've got to make concessions, doing what's bad for the country so that they have a chance to stay in power and put the breaks on this out-of-control administration. They're thinking long-term, and trying to do the best they can with what they've got.

The uncharitable interpretation is that they're spineless.

My guess: some of both. But my guesses about such matters are worth little.

I deleted something from that earlier post to work it up more fully. That point goes something like this:

So long as this type of dynamic holds sway, the more aggressive party will tend to have an advantage in all such debates, since those who counsel moderation will always be subject to charges that they were responsible for any terrorist successes. This will tend to make our policy too aggressive and tend to erode civil liberties.

I haven't yet gotten around to that post, and Drum beats me to it, writing:

"Nobody wants to risk being proved wrong in a way that's so crystal clear there's simply no chance of talking your way out of it. It's this fear that gives national security hawks the upper hand in any terror-related debate. Still."

So the guy still managed to scoop me anyway...]


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