S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Voting one's conscience --

Being power-down when casting votes often requires listening to one's own voice, despite engendering an unpopular response from constituents. Today's post contrasts several stances that seem to be the result of courageous conscience versus what I consider to be a really dumb vote out of an opposite place -- Hillary Clinton's vote for the naming of Iran's Republican Guards as a terrorist group. Lynn Sweet's column at the Chicago Sun Times is a good exploration of the Clinton/Obama argument over this vote. For the life of me I cannot understand Senator Clinton's thinking on this. It was either naive or calculated, and either way that is a bad vote for Senator Clinton.
Senator Chris Dodd, on the other hand, is very willing to take principled action in fighting for civil liberties. Though he cannot get the Democratic nomination, I would vote for him based on his constitutional commitment and thoughtful voting record alone. He always seems to behave like a grown-up. From Melissa McEwan on Comment is Free at the Guardian, "The netroots' new hero," comes this excellent piece on Chris Dodd's work on the foreign intelligence legislation mess-up. To quote (her links),

Dodd, whose focus on restoring the constitutional rights eroded under the Bush administration has been a centrepiece of his campaign, has finally found himself with some real traction in the netroots by challenging the dreadful, corporate arse-kissing Fisa bill, about which progressive activists have been rightfully up in arms since August, when Congress hastily passed what the Democratic leadership swore was a stop-gap measure on their way out the door for their summer holiday.

The House is still about 15 votes short of a veto-proof margin on reauthorizing the Children's health Insurance Program. It is sad that more Republicans could not find a way to vote for kids rather than other constituents on this legislation. In any event, I hope people will continue to stand their ground despite the veto threat of our current president (OCP). My own Texas Congressional delegation split its Senate vote on reauthorizing SCHIP back in Early August. I continue to be happily surprised by how freeing it has been for Kay Bailey Hutchison to announce her retirement. She voted for the bill and John Cornyn voted against it.
From living in the biggest state, Texas, to living in the tiny state of Poland is a long leap. But again, I think they are voting their consciences over there. At the same time I have complete disagreement with the U.S. deploying missiles in Europe, I admire Poland's standing up to Russia on the question. The Russian news service, RIA Novosti reports that "Poland has the right to decide on U.S. missile base - official-1." To quote:

Washington insists broader missile defense capability is needed to counter possible strikes from rogue states like North Korea and Iran, but Russia says new missile bases in Europe will be a threat to its national security and will undermine the global strategic balance.

Polko said Warsaw was hoping to resolve the dispute with Moscow over the U.S. missile base through constructive negotiations.

"I am certain that we will make a breakthrough in this [missile defense] respect and will overcome a stereotype that has nothing to do with reality, meaning that this [missile ] shield is being set up for offensive purposes," the Polish general said.

He reiterated that Poland had never planned any military confrontation with Russia.

"We simply want a normal life and to function normally," Polko said.

I would vote for that! My countdown to the end of the reign of OCP shows 451 more days. That still feels like an awfully long time.
My links to previous posts on voting and conscience:
My “creativity and dreaming” post today at Making Good Mondays is 250 words about fish.
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