The Torture Party

September 27th, 2006  |  Published in etc  |  1 Comment

Jim Henley:

My personal domestic politics analyst insisted to me tonight that the Democrats are still going to win one or both houses of Congress this year. I disbelieve her, but even if she is right, all it means is that a Democratic Party that has already ceded the principle that “our security depends on hiding people away and torturing them” will take power. That party will not have the self-confidence or ambition to spend political capital undoing what it allowed this week to be done. That party will be able to provide a nice living for its officials, and to a tidy business in fundraising and maybe push marginal tax rates up or raise the gas mileage requirements on new cars – in a country whose official policy is that “our security depends on hiding people away and torturing them.” It will not be a party that opposes anything worth opposing. It will not be a party that can sustain majority support for an alternate philosophy of governance. In important ways it will hardly even count as a second party. And that’s the pleasant scenario.

There is, as they say, a lot of ruin in a nation. I expect the yoke of our weirdly Brezhnevite future to fall relatively mildly on most necks for quite awhile, including mine.

“Brezhnevite” resonated, because Leonid was in power when mom decided I was old enough to get Communism explained to me. I can tell you exactly two of her talking points:

  1. You stand in line a lot for poor selection, and your shoes will never fit.

  2. There’s only one political party.


  1. pk says:

    September 28th, 2006 at 11:50 am (#)

    You actually quoted one of the easier-to-take passages from Henley’s post. I’ve been following what all my main bloggers are saying, and somehow his post was the most icy and sobering.

    Even as I wrote what I posted yesterday, I thought we’re still a ways from that. But then Greenwald noted the language in the NIE about “leftists,” and I felt kinda creeped out.

    Henley’s commenters were pretty trenchant, as well. It gets kind of contagious to call things a “watershed,” but this is all a pretty cold hand on one’s shoulder.

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