Why? 34 to 10 is why! That’s the final tally on the Democrats’ response in favor of renewing the Patriot Act. Only 10 of 44 Democrats were willing to stand up to this administration and represent my views. The complete details of the vote are listed here, and both of my representatives from California, Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, seemed to cave and ignore the principled position on the Patriot Act, spearheaded by Russ Feingold and spelled out in his words here and here.
The Democrats have let me down, and Feinstein and Boxer owe me and other Californians an explanation for why their “YES” vote on the Patriot Act is in our best interest! I looked on Feinstein’s website, hoping for an explanation. Nothing! Boxer has a brief statement where she acknowledged the difficulty of the decision, but includes very little to make me feel better about her vote on my behalf. Certainly, her closing doesn’t help:
I also wanted to show my support for Senator Dianne Feinstein’s anti-methamphetamine bill, which was included in the conference report. Meth has become a terrible scourge across our country and Sen. Feinstein’s bill will go a long way to combat the spread of the drug by restricting access to the ingredients used to make meth.
First of all, while I don’t exactly consider myself to be “pro-meth,” isn’t methamphetamine already illegal? So what, exactly, is this bill doing for me that offsets the harm of the Patriot Act? And second, what the hell does methamphetamine have to do with the Patriot Act anyway?
If they are going to stick two seemingly unrelated items in the same bill, at least weigh the harm of one against the benefit of the other before voting for it on my behalf! Don’t just stick in something that nearly everyone supports in order to justify a “YES” vote in stark opposition to my views on the underlying issue – and then expect me to keep donating money to keep you in office!
To put it more bluntly, I don’t want my representative to vote for a bill that would allow the government to plant an electronic tracking device in the skull of every American, just because it also happens to contain a prohibition on putting puppies in a wood chipper!
So from now on, when I get a call from the Democratic Party asking for money, I will tell them that I only donate directly to the individual candidates I support, as I no longer trust the Democratic Party to represent my views. When they ask me why, I will tell them:
34 to 10!