Democrats & Liberals Archives

The Republican Security Message

Republicans have designated this month as “Security September” in order to demonstrate how Republicans do more for the security of our country than Democrats do. Republicans believe that a little propaganda goes a long way. Imagine their distress about their probable losses in November due to several Republicans led by John McCain spoiling their security message.

President Bush wants to assure that the CIA can use torture on prisoners (otherwise known as "detainees"). The U.S. Supreme Court has said he can't do that, but Bush is insisting on it anyway. Perhaps he's worried that some time in the future CIA interrogators on trial, when asked why they tortured prisoners, may say that they only followed instructions from the commander-in-chief. So, Bush has been having several discussions trying to make a deal with John McCain, but so far, no luck.

Super-conservative Grover Norquist, after a meeting in the White House, was upset as he said that The White House:

would like to have a conversation between now and the election about punishing the people who did 9/11. McCain is interrupting that conversation and confusing the message.

Norquist is not worried about security. No Republican legislator is introducing any law that will enhance our security in any way. The talk is about whether we should torture or not. The Republicans say that they are so worried about our security that they are willing to make torture lawful. This is a security message - a ridiculous one, in my opinion - but it is not security action.

Norquist wants to have a "conversation." The only purpose for this "conversation" is to confuse the public about security in order to reduce the number of Republicans that are booted out in the fall elections.

McCain is "interrupting that conversation." No doubt about it. He is changing the message. He is making it clear that this is a phony "conversation." Torture is wrong and torture should not be allowed by anyone at any time.

I agree with McCain. Several other Republican and most Democratic senators agree with McCain. But Bush and phony-security-pushing Republicans, such as Norquist, want to maintain the fiction that Republicans will keep us safe while Democrats will not. The fiction worked before. But now that Iraq is in shambles, run by theocrats, friendly with Iran and antagonistic to our foreign-affairs goals, Republican security has become a bad joke.

Regardless of how the torture drama plays out, you can be sure that before the November 7 elections, Karl Rove will have another method for demonstrating that Republicans have a security message. Remember though, that it will be only a message, part of a propaganda-of-fear campaign to scare you back into the corrupt clutches of the radicalized Republican Party.

True security comes not from torture but from strict devotion to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. This is what Democrats stand for. This is why you should vote for Democrats this fall.

Posted by Paul Siegel at September 19, 2006 7:17 PM
Comment #182913

Marysdude. Care to put forth a few quotes to back up that seemingly outrageous statement?

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 20, 2006 5:31 PM
Comment #182914

Paul said: “True security comes not from torture but from strict devotion to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. This is what Democrats stand for.”

That is also what some Republicans stand for like Warner, McCain, Collins, Specter, and others.

Stop with the false choice that it is only Democrats who have the right values. Try to be an American who values truth and objectivity first, and a partisan second.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 20, 2006 5:33 PM
Comment #182918

Here’s an example of the abuses that can take place without adequate legal safeguards.

Not exactly frat party stuff, is it?

Posted by: Trent at September 20, 2006 5:46 PM
Comment #182921

Soooo what exactly do democrats suggest in terms of national security, send Dr. Phil to meet with the terrorists and explain to them that their anger is due to issues with their parents? And why exactly should rights granted under the US Constitution to American citizens be applied to non citizens?

Posted by: Carnak at September 20, 2006 6:11 PM
Comment #182947

First, torture isn’t reliable. You can’t tell the difference between the pain talking and the individual. It also limits the usefulness of the information in our courts and among our allies immediately

Second: Show me the liberal who actually said that the terrorists needed Dr. Phil, and I’ll show you where we’re hiding Bin Laden for a Post 2008 October Surprise.

Don’t hold your breath.

Third: The question has never been about applying constitutional rights to non-citizens. The Wiretap issue has always been about taps on lines of citizens. You don’t need warrants for foreign nationals, but any line that an American is likely to pick up on, or which belongs to American requires such a warrant.

It’s not a matter of waiting on paperwork either. The FISA court can grant them three days retroactively.

So what’s the problem here? The problem here is that the Bush administration wants the authority for these things not under warrants and probable cause, as dictated by the Fourth Amendment, but instead under Bush’s CINC powers.

The Court has said he has no such power to arbitrarily order taps, even as Commander in Chief.

Unfortunately, too many on the right take any interference, even to preserve the law and the constitution, as a threat to national security. At the end of the day, how much else about our country will be crowded out by this panicked abandonment of the limitations the founding fathers rightfully imposed on government?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 20, 2006 8:47 PM
Comment #182948

I’m not sure why anyone would think of this president/vice-president as strong on security or safety of the public.

Passengers are all but strip searched, yet air cargo has been only 10% screened. Cargo containers coming in by sea are seldom screened…only about 1%. The administration (and I’d have to use the term lightly…) consistently pushes for policies (like the ability to torture) that further endanger both the public and our military.

And now the FAA wants air controllers to work longer watching radar screens without a break, endangering the flying public.

Why are people so fearful that they are willing to let their government torture? Why are they so fearful that they are willing to abrogate Constitutional rights?

It’s because they recognize subconsciously that they ARE NOT SAFE…they are constantly fearful of a body of “terrorists” of whom they have no knowledge other than that spoonfed them. Demonizing the “enemy”, the “poor”, the “libturds”…all of this has its roots in fear of the unknown…

Our public is woefully lacking in the practical education they would gain by actually reading outside the mainstream, by watching a myriad of TV news (not just on one station or one type of station), by actually thinking critically and logically when stuff like “Remember 9/11; we’re invading Iraq” is spoken!

Because fiction is often more true than skewed non-fiction, I would offer a quote from Obasan by Joy Kogawa:

“We’ve always faced prejudice. He knows we were no military threat. So what is he saying? That the innocent should be made to suffer for the guilty?…That’s scapegoatism. As long as we have politicians and leaders and media people who feast on people’s fears, we’ll continue making scapegoats.”

“…the fears of the collective can only be calmed by the sacrifice of a minority. Isn’t that the way it’s always been?”

Which “minority” is being sacrificed today? Who is being scapegoated today?

Posted by: Lynne at September 20, 2006 8:51 PM
Comment #182951

“Soooo what exactly do democrats suggest in terms of national security, send Dr. Phil to meet with the terrorists and explain to them that their anger is due to issues with their parents? And why exactly should rights granted under the US Constitution to American citizens be applied to non citizens?”

good questions, although submitted with the typical arrogance and self-righteousness of a republican. In terms of national security the democrats suggest we identify, pursue, and bring to justice terrorists… something that piece of shit in the white house abandoned when he abandoned his pursuit of Usama bin Laden. The key word here, as demonstrated in the Arar case, is ‘identify’. While the American system of justice is not foolproof, as demonstrated in the case of Jeffery Mark Deskovic, the New York man who was just released from prison after 17 years behind bars for a rape/murder he did not commit, convicted on the basis of a coerced confession, it IS superior to most systems of justice. It is through the existing system of American justice that terrorists can be identified and dealt with. On the field of battle, it’s a little bit easier. The guys shooting at you are the enemy. And when foreign nationals who identify themselves as enemies identify themselves, NO ONE says they should be accorded constitutional rights, only those accorded by the Geneva Convention. And make no mistake about it. We didn’t agree to the Geneva Conventions out of some misguided bleeding heart, we agreed to them to protect our own soldiers from cruel and inhuman treatment in the event that they are captured. This is simply ANOTHER instance of the administration not giving a shit about the welfare of our uniformed men and women of the armed services.

Posted by: Thom Houts at September 20, 2006 9:24 PM
Comment #183035


You say “NO ONE says they should be accorded constitutional rights”.

Pauls initial post says…
True security comes not from torture but from strict devotion to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. This is what Democrats stand for. This is why you should vote for Democrats this fall.

When he connects torture to the constitution I think it is pretty clear he is talking abut non US citizens being held at Gitmo.

Your rhetoric make clear your intense hatred of President Bush and Republicans in general. Does this hatred extend to those who attack innocent Americans or are you one of the “we had it coming to us” school of thought?

Posted by: Carnak at September 21, 2006 1:05 PM
Comment #183060


It sounds like he’s saying that we are Americans. We are a moral and just country built on principles that terrorists could not possibly understand and abide by.
Once we fail to abide by those same morals and just principles we are no better than our enemy.

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at September 21, 2006 2:45 PM
Comment #183159

I just read this a little while ago and wonder if if one else hed read it? This could be very serious.
National Voting Rights Group Condemns Anti-voter Legislation Passed by House of Representatives

National Voter ID Will Keep Many Eligible Voters from the Polls; Voting Rights Experts Available for Interview

9/21/2006 5:29:00 PM


To: Assignment Desk, Daybook Editor

Contact: Tim Rusch or Cole Krawitz, 212-633-1405 or, both of Demos

NEW YORK, Sept. 21 /U.S. Newswire/ — Demos, a leading national public policy organization, denounced the passage of the House of Representatives bill (H.R. 4844) also known as the “Federal Election Integrity Act of 2006,” which would require all voters to obtain and present government-issued photo ID by 2008, and present proof of citizenship before voting in 2010.

All contemporary evidence suggests that the real source of voters’ election concerns are obscured by all of the attention and energy Congress spends on Voter ID. Instead, American voters deserve attention to serious challenges faced at the ballot box - - keeping voting lists up-to-date, making sure that provisional ballots are implemented correctly, ensuring that there are adequate and secure voting machines that count votes properly, providing for adequate poll workers training, eliminating voter suppression and others.

Instead of taking up reforms that could ensure that the types of problems found in 2000, 2002 and 2004 election will not occur again, the House has passed a bill that, if also passed by the Senate and signed into law, could roll back voting rights a century, disfranchising millions of eligible voters — particularly voters who are elderly, disabled, low-income and of color.

Facts about H.R. 4844:

H.R. 4844 would disproportionately impact people of color, the elderly, individuals with disabilities, rural voters, people living on reservations, the homeless, low-income people and married women — who studies show to be less likely to carry a photo ID and often have to change photo ID information. According to the State Department, only 25 percent of Americans over age 18 have a passport.

— By requiring voters to pay for photo ID and proof of citizenship, H.R. 4844 is the equivalent of a poll tax. Further, proof of citizenship may be impossible for some voters to obtain. For example, until recently, it was common in some parts of the country for people to be born at home, without obtaining an official birth certificate.

— While supporters of H.R. 4844 argue that it will combat voter fraud, the evidence clearly shows that current anti-fraud laws work. Congress and the states are already successful at preventing non-citizens from voting and ensuring that voters are who they claim to be. And there is no evidence that the type of fraud that this bill seeks to address is anything but an anomaly.

— Lawmakers should focus on real improvements to elections, such as enacting Election Day Registration, restoring voting rights to the formerly incarcerated, and investing more in hiring and recruiting trained election officials and poll workers. When the Senate takes up this legislation, they should keep mind that there are needed, tested, implement-able reforms to increase fair ballot access and boost voter participation that should be considered-instead of the downturn in democratic participation that will be ushered in by new ID laws.

In response, Demos has a number of national experts on election integrity listed below who are available for interview, and resources available online at

Miles Rapoport is president of Demos and former secretary of the state of Connecticut. As a state legislator, he was a leading expert on electoral reform, chairing the Committee on Elections. Miles has an extensive record of speaking and writing on issues of democracy, election reform, voter access and voter disfranchisement. He has often been quoted in national magazines, newspapers and wire services, including: Associated Press reports, Reuters, UPI, Bangor Daily News, Bergen Record, National Civic Review, Hartford Courant, American Prospect, The New York Times,, The Oregonian, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, Washington Times and others. He has also appeared on TV and in numerous radio interviews, including: CNN News, CNN with Lou Dobbs, CNNfn, ABC News Radio, Democracy Now!, the Brian Lehrer Show and many others.

Stuart Comstock-Gay serves jointly as director of Demos’ Democracy Program and executive director of the National Voting Rights Institute, Demos’ formal collaboration partner. Stuart has an extensive record of speaking and writing on issues of democracy, foundation practices and civil liberties. He has often been quoted in national magazines, newspapers and wire services, including Baltimore Sun, Washington Post,, United Press International, Wilson Library Quarterly and more. He has also appeared on TV and in numerous radio interviews, including: C-SPAN Morning show, National Public Radio, Fox Radio News and numerous local radio shows.

Steven Carbo is senior program director of the Democracy Program, Steven works to eliminate barriers to political participation through applied research, policy analysis and organizing assistance. He has 14 years of experience in advancing progressive civil rights, social justice and community economic development policies at the federal, state and community levels. Before joining Demos, Steven worked as legislative director for U.S. Representative Nydia Velazquez, special counsel on environmental justice for U.S. Representative Jose Serrano and legislative staff attorney with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

Spencer Overton is a law professor at George Washington University. He specializes in voting rights, served as a commissioner on the Jimmy Carter-James Baker Commission on Federal Election Reform, and is also a member of the boards of Common Cause, Demos, the Center for Responsive Politics and the People’s Community Baptist Church. He is a frequent media commentator and has appeared on various shows and networks, including ABC Television, Air America, Canadian Broadcast Corporation, C-Span’s Washington Journal, Independent Television News of London, National Public Radio and Wall Street Journal Radio. Spencer’s commentaries on election law have appeared on the opinion pages of several major newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Boston Globe, the L.A. Times, New York Times Upfront Magazine, Roll Call, Newsday and the Washington Post.

Brenda Wright is the managing attorney for Demos’ partner organization National Voting Rights Institute (NVRI) in Boston, Mass. Before joining NVRI in 1997, Brenda served as Director of the Voting Rights Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in Washington, D.C., litigating cases throughout the country to protect the voting rights of citizens of color. She successfully argued Young v. Fordice, the first Supreme Court case involving the 1993 “Motor-Voter” law, which challenged Mississippi’s effort to establish a racially discriminatory dual registration requirement for voting in federal and state elections. Brenda has testified before Congress, federal agencies and state legislatures and makes frequent presentations at national conferences and convenings. She has also authored numerous opinion pieces, law review articles and other publications on voting rights, campaign finance reform and other democracy issues.

For more information on ideas to expand opportunity and revitalize our democracy, read Demos’ Policy Briefing, Fulfilling America’s Promise visit

For more information on Demos experts, visit speaker’s bureau at


Members of the press: to schedule an interview with Miles Rapoport, president of Demos and former secretary of the state of Connecticut, Stuart Comstock-Gay, Steve Carbo, Spencer Overton or Brenda Wright, contact Tim Rusch or Cole Krawitz at or 212-633-1405.

Posted by: Sue McAvoy at September 22, 2006 1:07 AM
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