The Democratic leadership in Congress is sorely trying the patience of the activist wing of the party. While the Patriot gave up on the boot lickers about a week after the mid-terms (when Pelosi took impeachment off the table), the rest of the base has seemingly been content to be strung along by a series of empty resolutions and emptier promises. One of the few Democratic senators who bucks the trend of complacency is Wisconsin’s Russ Feingold. Feingold has been calling for the (figurative) heads of Bush and Cheney since mid-March 2006, when he proposed a resolution to censure the administration for their illegal wire-tapping program. Due to the fall elections and the Democrat’s unnatural fear of being seen as soft on terror he received no support from the rest of the and was actually attacked by others in the party for wasting the Senate’s time with such partisan blather. This past Sunday on Meet the Press Feingold showed that he is still in temporary possession of his backbone unlike the rest of his Democratic colleagues in the Senate. While talking to Tim Russert, Feingold proposed another course of action because Bush and Cheney “have committed impeachable offenses with regard to this terrorist surveillance program.” Unfortuately, Feingold is advocating something less than impeachment. Rather, he suggests that the House and Senate pass a series of resolutions “that make sure that the historical record shows the way they have weakened our country, weakened our country militarily…[and] weakened our country's fundamental document, the Constitution.”
Pretty tame stuff, but more than anyone else on the left side of the isle is suggesting. I guess if there are historians sifting through the Congressional Record 100 years from now they’d duly note that Congress at least put up some sort of a fight before it was completely neutered as a body by unrestrained executive power. One would think at the very least the Democratic leadership would want to go on record as opposing warrantless surveillance of American citizens. One would think. Yet the response from Pelosi and Reid has been muted, to say the least. Reid said he wouldn’t support the resolution because the Senate “has better things to do”. I’d love to know what Senate business is so important that it trumps saving the Republic. More changes to the bankruptcy law? Creating debtors prisons, perhaps? Digby, posting in the War Room on Salon notes that, “In case anyone's wondering, the latest poll on the question of impeachment had 46 percent in favor of impeaching President Bush and 54 percent in favor of impeaching Vice President Cheney.” Why is Reid so resistant to passing a resolution when it appears that almost ½ the country would send Bush and Cheney to jail if they had half a chance? The easy answer is that he is in the pocket of his corporate masters just like the rest of them.
In related political news, Cindy Sheehan has reappeared on the scene, throwing down the gauntlet squarely at the feet of Nancy Pelosi and challenging Pelosi to either begin impeachment proceedings or run the risk of losing her seat to, well, Sheehan. The mass media predictably ridiculed Sheehan’s plans but the bloggers as usual had the correct take on things. This past Sunday, in an article titled "Impeachment Question Divides Democrats," the Politico's Dan Gerstein analyzed the Sheehan/Pelosi clash, calling it indicative of an "existential conflict within the Democratic Party.” He continues: "Many progressive activists are incredulous at the inability of the congressional leadership to end the war, move big pieces of their agenda and (not least of all) defenestrate The Decider. Their frustration is starting to boil over." If you ask me it ain’t boiling over fast enough. It’s time to turn up the heat.