Tuesday, January 17, 2006


When Even The Republicans Can't Stomach It Any More...

Dare I hope that BushCo is turning against itself? Considering that some of its key allies are part of the ACLU wiretapping lawsuit, one can only hope so. (And nice clarion call by our True President, Al Gore, by the way.)

I was actually disappointed with the speech. I'll skip my dissatisfaction with the rhetorical structure, the art that makes a good speech into a great speech and stick to substance.

I was glad to see President Gore passionate, of course. But I didn't see much evolution of thought. In terms of laying out the problem, I thought he had a better conceptual framework in this 2003 speech.

More important, he correctly identified the problem... and then left people with no plan of action. Here are what I saw as the key points:

"Whenever power is unchecked and unaccountable it almost inevitably leads to mistakes and abuses. In the absence of rigorous accountability, incompetence flourishes. Dishonesty is encouraged and rewarded."

"But the most serious damage has been done to the legislative branch. The sharp decline of congressional power and autonomy in recent years has been almost as shocking as the efforts by the Executive Branch to attain a massive expansion of its power...often Congress has been a willing accomplice in the surrender of its own power."

"The revolutionary departure on which the idea of America was based was the audacious belief that people can govern themselves and responsibly exercise the ultimate authority in self-government. This insight proceeded inevitably from the bedrock principle articulated by the Enlightenment philosopher John Locke: 'All just power is derived from the consent of the governed.'...it is "We the people" who must now find once again the ability we once had to play an integral role in saving our Constitution."

OK, so we have a clear logical train here: Centralization of power is everyone's problem, even those who support Bush, because it leads to national decay. The Executive has been allowed to concentrate power by a Congress that has surrendered it. And the Congress gets away with surrendering it because the people have not exercised their duty to police the Congress.

What's missing is an action plan for citizens. Gore lays down some things that are necessary: Special counsel, new whistleblower protections, congressional hearings, deny renewal of Patriot Act, and please telecomms, stop spying on us. Oh, yes, and defend the internet and turn off your TV.

Let me ask this question. Suppose you had given that speech. What would you propose as an action plan?
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