Monday, August 06, 2007

Progressive Naivete

There are a lot of Democrats and progressives lamenting the recent House decision to permit further government wiretapping without FISA oversight. Unfortunately, a lot of these well-meaning folk are calling the Democrats spineless surrender-monkeys. That's EXACTLY what the Republicans want. It's self-defeating and naive for progressives to strike at their own people in the name of ideological purity.

The recent bill is a 6-month stop gap measure. This is not the ideal outcome, but it's good strategy on the part of Democrats (and maybe better policy than having no surveillance at all). There's no point in Reid and Pelosi spilling valuable treasure just to go down in PR flames at the end of the day.

We should be playing up the story that Bush is threatening the Bill of Rights in the name of national security, and that the Democrats are taking the mature, sophisticated, nuanced and responsible position.

Knock the party on pragmatic grounds, if you must. Spin the results in your favor, and elect Democrats in 2008. Once we have a veto-proof majority (or a Democratic president), our government will start to look more like the humane, responsible and competent one we deserve.

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