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Patriotic Republicanism

Republican leaders are so patriotic they want to renew the Patriot Act without much change. Democrats and Independents (and some Republicans) want to make changes to assure greater civil liberties to Americans. One can argue the merits of each position, and the merits were, indeed, argued in the House. After the arguments, the House voted in favor of making a few changes to the Patriot Act. Patriotic Republican leaders could not allow this to happen so they came up with a bill minus this provision and did not allow amendments. This way the super-patriots got a “pure” Patriot Act.

I'm not familiar with all the shenanigans these Republican leaders went through. There appears to be no limit to their high-handed, secretive and sleazy operations. But, in outline this is what happened:

  1. Back in June, Representative Bernie Sanders, an Independent, authored an amendement to protect library records from hidden snooping. This was an amendment to the appropriations bill. (Why appropriations bill? I have no idea.) The amendment passed 238 - 187

  2. Republicans in the House Judiciary Committee stripped Sanders' amendment from the Patriot Act. Since they have a majority, this is the way they voted the bill out

  3. To assure Sanders' amendment does not get a hearing, Republicans in the Rules Committee did not allow the House to add amendments to the bill

  4. The House passed the "pure" Patriot Act
Is anybody willing to call this democracy? Skullduggery, yes. Democracy, no way. This is sophisticated Republican corruption.

As can be imagined, Sanders was upset. He called the work of these Republican super-patriots

"an outrageous abuse of power."

Even some Republicans were upset. According to Representative C. L. Otter of Idaho, the action amounted to a "gag rule" that prevented a full debate on needed restrictions in the law. He said:

"I'm embarrassed to be on this side of the aisle."

Now the Patriot Act is in the senate. Suppose something like Sanders' amendment passes. What do you think will happen in conference? It will be dropped.

This is an example of patriotic Republicanism. Republican leaders will do anything to achieve what they consider to be patriotic goals - even if they must evade democratic procedures to accomplish them.

Posted by Paul Siegel at July 22, 2005 5:16 PM