Scott Horton has the most succinct analysis:
Those who expected the Democrats to stand up to this may have gotten a shock. I wasn’t shocked at all. Many see a Democrat-Republican divide over the rise of the National Surveillance State, but that’s foolish. * * * What we’re witnessing is another demonstration of Lord Acton’s famous maxim: those who hold power tend to seek to extend it.There was a time in America, within the memory of most of us, when voting to violate the Bill of Rights and blurring the U.S. Constitution's fundamental principle of Separation of Powers would have meant political ruination. Today, it happens with regularity and goes unremarked by most voters.
At this point, Democrats are nearly giddy with the prospects of recapturing the White House and resuming rule with a solid power base in the Executive and the Legislature. And with this prospect, suddenly the specter of intrusive big government seems somehow far more palatable to them, and America’s constitutional system and the rights of the individual citizens are less of a concern.
It must be true that we get the government we deserve. This Fall, Bush will be asking that same Congress to write new laws granting legal immunity to everyone in the administration for the crimes they've been committing. No doubt, congressmen and senators will strongly object to this anti-law-and-order measure -- until they get included in the deal.
Glenn Greenwald, writing for Salon, has it right about what divides we, the people, from the Bush administration and its many congressional enablers such as Nelson:
The common, defining political principle here -- what resonates far more powerfully than any other idea -- is a fervent and passionate belief in our country's constitutional framework, the core liberties it secures, and the checks and balances it offers as a safeguard against tyrannical power. Those who fail to defend that framework, or worse, those who are passively or actively complicit in its further erosion, are all equally culpable.In his despair for our Republic, Scott Horton writes, "Today, our civil liberties state is withering away and the National Surveillance State surges without control. Retrenchment will be impossible. Resistance is essential, especially by those within."
With each day that passes, the radicalism and extremism originally spawned in secret by the Bush presidency becomes less and less his fault and more and more the fault of those who -- having discovered what they have been doing and having been given the power to stop it -- instead acquiesce to it and, worse, enable and endorse it.
Then, he offers this quote from George Orwell's 1984, a novel no less prescient for having come true some thirty years late. O'Brien from the Ministry of Love:
There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always -- do not forget this, Winston -- always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless.
If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face -- forever.