78 to 15.
That was the vote in the senate to confirm Michael Hayden as the new head honcho of the C.I.A.
78 to 15.
One brave Republican, Arlen Specter, voted against Hayden, citing his record as head of the National Security Agency, where Hayden was in charge of the warrentless eavesdropping program that official Washington expressed grave concerns about for, oh, about a day. Then the press stopped hammering the story, and Mr. Bushie said heck, he'd never do anything against the law, and everyone believed him and everything was sunshine and lollipops.
Next time you hear John McCain described as a maverick, a senator bucking the system, a guy who says what he thinks no matter what--and you'll probably be hearing that load a lot, since another presidential run for the guy seems certain--just remember, he's had a habit during the Bush years of expressing mild indignation about some of the president's more outrageous schemes, then turning around and voting for them anyway. He's a career politician, and if he ever had a soul, he lost it long ago. Don't vote for this guy.
But the real question about this vote is, What's the deal with the Democrats? Hayden is a career military guy up for a job running a supposedly autonomous, civilian agency. He defiled the constitution by spying on U.S. citizens without warrants, an act for which he offered no regrets and basically promised to do again. (Apparently, we must destroy our civil liberties in order to preserve them.) At this point, the fact that he was hand-picked by Bush should itself raise a few hundred red flags, but only 14 Democrats had a problem with him.
Is it the Stockholm Syndrome? Have the Democrats been beaten and reamed up the ass by the Bushinistas for so long that they've decided they like it?
How else to explain the fact that the party is giving serious consideration to anointing either Al Gore or Hillary Clinton as their next presidential nominee? Gore already lost once--a sitting VP to a relatively popular president couldn't convincingly trounce a flyweight nobody like Dubya Bush. And Clinton carries with her that scent of patrician disdain for the commoners, so that no matter how many rodeos and weenie roasts she attends, she'll still seem as out of place as...well, John Kerry.
This is a time for bold action on the part of the Democratic party. Bush is absolutely out of control, and the damage he's already done to the nation is permanent. This is not the time to roll over. But sadly, it's the only trick they remember.