For the record, 16 Democratic Senators and 41 Representatives crossed the isle to vote for the expansion of warantless surveillance before skulking away to their summer vacations. Slate had a good take on how this abdication of leadership in the face of the White House’s red-baiting compromises the so-called “opposition” party’s stance on other important issues like Gonzalez’s complicity in the firing of US Attorneys:
“There is virtually no way to reconcile Sen. Mark Pryor's, D-Ark., claim that Gonzales has "lied to the Senate" and needs to go with his vote to expand the reach of our warrantless eavesdropping program. And how can one possibly square Sen. Dianne Feinstein's, D-Calif., claim that the AG "just doesn't tell the truth" with her vote to give him yet more unchecked authority? You either trust this AG with the power to listen in on your phone calls or you do not
With this FISA vote, the Democrats have compromised the investigation into the U.S. attorney scandal. They've shown themselves either to be participating in an empty political witch hunt or curiously willing to surrender our civil liberties to someone who has shown—time and again—that he cannot be trusted to safeguard them. The image of Democrats hypocritically berating the attorney general with fingers crossed behind their backs is ultimately no less appalling than an attorney general swearing to uphold the Constitution with fingers crossed behind his own.”
Amen. There is no legitimate reason to support the Democrats in the 2008 Congressional elections if the leadership is planning to continue to operate in this manner. While a third-party presidential candidate has little chance of prevailing, serious consideration should be given to supporting your local Green party candidate for whatever seat he or she happens to be running for.