Entry for November 10, 2006

The photo is of Gail Parker, the Independent Green Party of Virginia’s  candidate, whose garnering of 25,000 + votes at the polls November 7 almost got George Allen reelected to the Senate.
On October 19, a Nashville Blogger S-TownMike (email) wrote an entry, “How Harold Ford Lost My Vote.”
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Harold Ford joined the Tennessee congressional delegation in voting nearly unanimously three weeks ago in support of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which George W. Bush signed into law today. … After much thought, I have decided that I cannot in good conscience vote for a man who supports the notion of detaining American citizens without the writ of habeas corpus. My Democratic friends need not bother to tell me how important taking back Congress in November is. Taking back Congress matters little to me when we face a bleak future of omnipotent Bush-picked tribunals declaring anyone an “unlawful enemy combatant.” Congress has made itself moot in such a world.
The Democrats are in worse shape than merely lacking majority power; they lack any sense of duty to protect Americans who otherwise cannot protect themselves. Harold Ford should be held responsible by voters for not embracing that duty; my only way of holding him responsible is to choose not to vote for him in November. I will not simply go with the increasingly surreal and ghastly flow.

This horrible Republican legislation was sponsored by none other than Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell, the coal operator’s friend and Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao’s husband.  The co-sponsors were the Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (TN) and I’m sorry to say, John Warner (VA).  After its introduction on September 22, it passed the Senate by a 65 to 35 vote.  Only Lincoln Chafee deserted the Republican party.  Independent Jack Jeffords also voted no.  Both were defeated in the recent election, not because of their votes, which are usually with the Democrats, but because of their affiliation.
So who were the Democrats who joined the majority?
Carper (D-DE)
Johnson (D-SD)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Lieberman (D-CT)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Nelson (D-FL)
Nelson (D-NE)
Pryor (D-AR)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Salazar (D-CO)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Some of this can be explained away by fear of constituent or right wing havoc in conservative states.  But not all.  For instance in Delaware, Biden voted against the measure and Carper had a huge lead in the polls.  Stabenow of Michigan,  ran well ahead throughout her campaign, saying it was a referrendum on Bush. Byrd of West Virginia, who was also running, voted against the measure.
I am a Virginian who voted for Jim Webb, not the green candidate.  Webb may have been  better than Ford.  Webb was against the war, pro-choice and against the gay marriage amendment ban, although against gay marriage also.   He also spoke up for economic justice.   Still, I cannot agree to take “principled stands” until we have instant runoff voting, or a similar alternative that doesn’t ensure office to the worst candidate and/or party.  The 25,000 + voters took such a stand almost ensured George Allen another Senate term as a Bush rubber stamp and ,presidential viability. The Green candidate garnered these votes despite her stated preference for Webb and her appearrance at his November 6 rally in Roanoke, the city where I live.
No matter how much you may have thought that Gore and Kerry were  lesser evils rather than straight-out good, it was George W. Bush and his cronies who masterminded the very tribunals for which you justifiably criticize Ford. It was Bush who put Roberts and Alito on the Supreme Court.  It was Bush who just recess-appointed Richard Strickler as head of MSHA despite the Senate refusing to approve his nomination because of his history of poor safety as a coal boss.  And you know I could go on and on.
A look at committee chairmanships in the Senate also reveals a reason to vote for any Democrat this year.  Who would you rather have for:
Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry–Saxby Chambliss, (R-GA) v. Tom Harken (D-IA)
Commerce, Science, and Transportation–Ted “Mr Bridge to Nowhere, the internet is a series of tubes”  Stevens (AK) v. Daniel K. Inouye (HI)
Energy and Natural Resources
Pete V. Domenici (NM)  Jeff Bingaman (NM) who led an effort to amend the Senate Energy bill to curb green house gases from coal-based power plants
Environment and Public Works–James Inhofe (OK) (co-sponsor of Terri’s law) v. ? (The ranking member, Jack Jeffords, lost to Bernie Sanders .  Max Baucus (D-MT) is next most senior, but he’s already ranking on Finance.   Lieberman, who I think the Dem’s should strip of any chairmanship, is already ranking member on Homeland Security.  That puts Barbara Boxer up next in seniority.
Finance –Chuck Grassley v.  Max Baucus
Foreign Relations–Lugar v.  Biden
Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions–Michael Enzi v. Teddy Kennedy
Judiciary–Arlen Specter v.s. Patrick Leahy (VT)
Rules and Administration–Trent Lott v. Chris Dodd
And in the House, you could say the same.  Some examples:
Energy and Commerce–Joe Barton (TX) or John Dingell (MI)
Goverment Reform– or Tom Davis (VA) or Henry Waxman (CA)
Ways and Means  Clay Shaw (FL) or Charles Rangle (NY)
Judiciary–James Sensenbrenner (WI) or John Conyers (MI).
Not only that, but consider how the election has stopped Denny Hastert’s use of the “majority of the majority” policy to keep measures such as Rush Holt’s improvements to HAVA bottled up in Committee, while declaring “marshall law” to force through Republican-favored legislation without debate, amemendment or even sufficient review.
I hope y’all in TN are doing something to move forward so that you can elect progressives to statewide office.  Until then, as that defender of civil liberties, Voltaire,  wrote way back in 1772 in  La Bégueule, “Le mieux est l’ennemi du bien.”  (The perfect is the enemy of the good.)


4 Responses to “Entry for November 10, 2006”

  1. Beth Wellington Says:

    From my friend Barry in Radford via email:

    Dear Beth,

    Just a note on your concluding translation from Voltaire in your blog. The French text you supplied would be accurately translated, “the better is the enemy of the good.” “Mieux” is the comparative, not the superlative, of “bien.” I haven’t gone back into the dictionary for this, so it’s just possible I’m applying egg to my own face. I believe that we have a cognate for the translation which was supplied to you: “le parfait.”

    I seem to recall Marx having written something along the line of the way the translation you cited ran, though. I don’t remember it exactly. It may have been “the best is the enemy of the better.”



  2. Beth Wellington Says:

    A second comment from Barry:

    Dear Beth,

    It occurred to me it might be apt to mention that the other person who ran for Senate in Virginia was an “Independent Green.” My understanding is that this is a splinter from the Green Party, but I’m really not up on the ins and outs of that. Anyway, she wasn’t a candidate of the Green Party of Virginia. I don’t know that the Greens won’t every run anybody for Senate (and I cheerfully second the call for instant runoff), but since the Greens have taken such grief over Nader having run in the presidential race, I thought it might be well to distinguish what went on in Virginia’s Senate race.

    And never having passed along an email about your blog, now I’ve done it twice!

    Warm regards,


    Hee’s right. Wikipedia has an entry on the Independent Greens. See tomorrow’s entry.

  3. Beth Wellington Says:

    From Barry on November 12:

    On “mieux,” I couldn’t put my hands on my French dictionary after I sent you that note, so resorting to online, I see that “best” is also a possible translation. More of the context of the Voltaire might help on that, but perhaps whoever had translated it where you found it in the first instance put acquaintance with the context to good use, and did it right, no matter my quibble. I may poke around some more, since I launched out on the matter, and if I find something helpful, pass it along. I think perhaps the most common use may be in the _expression, “faut de mieux,” which I think would fairly be translated “for lack of anything better.

  4. Beth Wellington Says:

    From Barry again on November 12:

    On further inquiry, not only was I possibly wrong about the Voltaire, I was flat wrong. I went to the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations (second ed, revised – not the latest version), and it also gave “The best is the enemy of the good” for the translation. Even more, the famous quotation from Candide, in French, is “Tout est pour le mieux dans le meilleur des mondes posssibles.” Here, “All is for the best in the best of possible worlds.”

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