Serving Their Interests

00:54 Thu 09 Aug 2007. Updated: 00:25 10 Aug 2007
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On Monday I referred to the Democrats who voted for the FISA cave-in last Friday as “[s]pineless, stupid, or fully invested in the machinations of the elite class against the rest of the United States”. While not wishing to rule out spinelessness or stupidity, I suspect that the last option is the most realistic. Dianne Feinstein, for example, has been quite successful in Washington, and doesn’t appear to be a pushover that anyone can manipulate. So why would she vote for that change to FISA?

Becuase she was hoodwinked by the Bushites, and believed what they’re telling her? Given her part in the investigation of Gonzales, that seems unlikely. She’s seen up-close evidence of their deceit. I don’t think she’s that stupid. I don’t think she’s that spineless, either, or is afraid of being tarred as “soft on terror”. There’s not much chance of a Republican taking her Senate seat away.

So why would she (and the others) vote to give yet more surveillance power to an administration that’s already demonstrated multiple times that it’s not fit for it?

Perhaps because she identifies with this country’s ruling class, and thinks that this bill (or the larger trend towards totalitarian surveillance) works towards the interests of that group.

How would it do that? It’s a simple power grab. Any removal fetters on the power of the state obviously increase the power of the state. And if you are part of the ruling class, you tend to identify state power with your own power. Even if your faction isn’t in control right now. Feinstein isn’t so concerned with the fact that powers like these will be abused by the current Administration, because the unfortunates who suffer that damage aren’t people she’s concerned with.

This last point, incidentally, explains why the US Attorney scandal has met with so much Democratic Party action as opposed to the far more egregious scandals of torture, the false pretexts for war, and the elimination of habeas corpus. The US Attorney scandal touches directly on the interests of her faction in the ruling class. A Republican-controlled Department of Justice that’s let loose exclusively on Democratic candidates is cleaerly a threat that needs to be reined in.

The other explanations for the Democratic vote last week range from the ridiculous (that the Democrats somehow really believed that completely unsupervised surveillance in the hands of this executive branch is somehow critical to the country’s security) to the more common one among the progressive netroots: incomprehension. There are also claims that the Democratic leadership is incompetent/stupid/triangulating, but the fact that they always seem to be incompetent/stupid/triangulating towards greater state power gives the game away.

This post, graphic, and clip sum up the current situation quite well.

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