stabenow’s response

Senator Debbie Stabenow’s response to my letter asking why she voted for the Military Commissions Act of 2006:

Thank you for contacting me about the Military Commissions Act of 2006. I understand your deeply held beliefs regarding this bill and your distrust of the Bush Administration which I share.

As you may know, the Supreme Court’s Hamdan v. Rumsfeld decision found the President’s military tribunals unconstitutional. This decision created a void with no judicial process in place for the detainees who our country has been holding indefinitely.

I understand the distrust of the Bush Administration which has frankly shown a flagrant disregard for the law. However, having no law in place would have given this administration continued justification to act without any accountability.

This proposal puts in place protections that do not exist today for detainees and is a better system than the one proposed by the President. I strongly opposed the President’s attempts to undermine the Geneva Convention. This bill does not amend the Geneva Convention in any way. This proposal puts in place specific protections against torture, providing needed clarification on what constitutes war crimes and criminalizing specific interrogation techniques.

Could this bill be improved? Absolutely. I supported every Democratic amendment to tighten definitions and strengthen this legislation. Unfortunately, we lost them in close votes. I will continue to work with my colleagues to modify the law, and am hopeful that with changes in the new Congress, we will be successful in making these needed improvements.

There is no question that Congress will need to continue its oversight role of this Administration. While we may respectfully disagree about this bill, my vote was based on the sincere belief that ignoring the Hamdan decision and passing no legislation was not an option. If we had not passed this bill, our military would not have been able to move forward with trials against suspected terrorists now in U.S. custody.

Thanks for sharing your views with me on this legislation. As always, I welcome your input.

Sincerely,

Debbie Stabenow

United States Senator

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25 Comments

  1. mark
    Posted October 24, 2006 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

    I was going to comment on it, but then I thought that I’d better hold my tongue for a while and think it over….

  2. Dale
    Posted October 25, 2006 at 12:46 am | Permalink

    Stabenow is a wanker. How is a bad law better than no law? I’d like to know what she has done since its passage to change this bad law she voted for, which I suspect is nothing.

  3. egpenet
    Posted October 25, 2006 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    A well-crafted response … better to have a bad law on the books … which we can further challenge in the courts … than no law at all.

    Hamdan is only PART of the story.

    Are we keeping track of our neighbors who aren’t showing up for potlucks and world series games at the Corner Brewry?

    “Where’s so-and-so?”

    “He’s late.”

    “Better call the CIA … probably detained, since I saw him fraternizing at the BP again.”

    “We warned him about discussing Sunni politics and death squads. Damn!”

    “Hey, was that a curve or a sinker?”

    …..

    Shame, Debbie. Shame.

  4. Jim
    Posted October 25, 2006 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    I got the same response, and it’s bullshit. There was no pressing need for this legislation, as Hamdan allowed military tribunals to go forward as long as they followed regular court-martial rules. And there’s no chance of improving the law as long as Bush is President.

  5. ol' e cross
    Posted October 25, 2006 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Really? I got this one:

    Dear Ol’ E Cross,

    I thought you may object to my vote on the Military Commissions Act, so the first thing I did after passing it was compose this letter, this letter, this letter

    It’s an election year. If I hadn’t voted for this act, my opponent would have run ads portraying me as soft on terror. I would have lost votes, maybe the election. Besides, my opponent would have voted for this act, too! Who would you rather have as your representative, voting in favor of bills you find reprehensible and erode our Constitution, me or my opponent?

    I thought so. Thank you for your “input.”

    Debbie Stabenow
    United States Senator

  6. ol' e cross
    Posted October 25, 2006 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Really? I got this one:

    Dear Ol’ E Cross,

    I thought you may object to my vote on the Military Commissions Act, so the first thing I did after passing it was compose this letter, this letter, this letter

    It’s an election year. If I hadn’t voted for this act, my opponent would have run ads portraying me as soft on terror. I would have lost votes, maybe the election. Besides, my opponent would have voted for this act, too! Who would you rather have as your representative, voting in favor of bills you find reprehensible and erode our Constitution, me or my opponent?

    I thought so. Thank you for your “input.”

    Debbie Stabenow
    United States Senator

  7. Ted Glass
    Posted October 25, 2006 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    I agree. She’s a coward who couldn’t face the prospect of being called “soft on terror.” She, Hillary Clinton, and the rest of their ilk should be put ashore the first chance we get.

  8. Tony Buttons Esq.
    Posted October 25, 2006 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    And it’s not like it’s a close race. Current polling shows her with a 20 point lead. The vote is inexcusable.

    http://www.democratsenators.org/dia/organizations/dscc/news.jsp?news_item_KEY=3150&t=news.dwt

  9. Dave
    Posted October 25, 2006 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Stabenow is a wanker. I remember many years ago when she ran for governor on the deep, principled platform, “Vote for me because I’m female.” Fuck you, bitch.

    As for Objectivists… I had a brief Randian phase but it didn’t take long to realize they were a bunch of nutjobs, and Peikoff was no small help in making me realize this. If you listen to him rationalizing why it’s ok to nuke a country that the U.S. doesn’t like, man… what an asshole.

    Sorry for the profanity. I guess I’m just cranky today.

  10. rnolan
    Posted October 25, 2006 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    I’m depressed in general about voting this time. I can’t vote Republican but I’m starting to hate every Democrat just as much. Vote Green (or any other) and essentially throw away the vote?
    I really want to vote out every single person who currently holds office – a clean sweep, regardless of their party. Rolling Stone mag’s new cover piece on the current congress is shocking and very good. Their political stuff in general has bee quite good lately in fact. I want to believe that someone will emerge who just voices their own beliefs without consulting a poll or trying to guess what side of an issue will play well for the next election cycle. I’m also sick to death of this media conspiracy to make Barak Obama the Democratic nominee for president. What the fuck has this guy done to deserve this kind of talk? Let him do something and then start looking at whether he might be presidential in another decade. I wonder if it’s just a sick joke that Rove thought up to sink the Democrats. It looks as though the idea is being test marketed by evil Republicans right now via the Harold Ford Jr. race in Tennessee.

  11. jules
    Posted October 25, 2006 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Her yes vote on this bill was the last straw for me and she won’t be getting my vote. Why in the hell would I vote for her if she won’t take a stand and do the right thing on important votes such as this? I was already pissed off at her over the bankruptcy bill but was still going to vote for her. Not anymore. For too long, pols like her figure they can get away with this shit because in the end, they’ll get our vote anyway. Bouchard is an asshole and I don’t want him to win. But if Debbie squanders our trust away with sellout moves like this, can someone tell me what the REAL difference between her and the Republican is? I feel such disgust for her right now.

  12. murph
    Posted October 25, 2006 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    rnolan –

    A few weekends ago, I heard a Garrison Keillor quote replayed from 2002.

    “After all, why waste your vote on a second-party candidate who won’t win anyways?”

    If you think both “major party” candidates suck, then vote for the lesser of two evils, or vote not-the-incumbent, or vote opposite-the-president’s-party, or vote third party, or write-in, or just leave that section blank. “None of the above” ought to be an option, but handing in a blank ballot is the closest option we’ve got.

    Just don’t not vote.

  13. ol' e cross
    Posted October 25, 2006 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    I long for the Australian method of voting. There, you vote for your first choice and second choice. From http://www.australianpolitics.com:

    For example, suppose there are 3 candidates standing for election to a seat in the House of Representatives. They receive the following votes:

    Smith 45
    Jones 45
    Brown 10
    ———
    Total 100
    Taking these figures, we say that Smith and Jones each received 45% of the primary vote.
    Because an absolute majority (50% + 1) of votes is required to win under our system of preferential voting, and no candidate has secured that number, the candidate with the least votes, Brown, is eliminated and the second preferences of Brown’s 10 primary votes are allocated between Smith and Jones.

    Suppose 6 of those votes went to Smith and 4 went to Jones. The new tally would be:

    Smith 51
    Jones 49
    ———
    Total 100
    Smith would now be declared the winner with 51% of the two-party-preferred vote. The 51 votes comprise 45 primary votes and 6 preference votes.

    So, you can safely vote for a Nader knowing that your vote will count towards Gore if Nader doesn’t win.

    I generally don’t like ballot initiatives, but beginning to wonder if this isn’t a perfect example of where that provision might be best suited.

  14. ol' e cross
    Posted October 25, 2006 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    I long for the Australian method of voting. There, you vote for your first choice and second choice. From http://www.australianpolitics.com:

    For example, suppose there are 3 candidates standing for election to a seat in the House of Representatives. They receive the following votes:

    Smith 45
    Jones 45
    Brown 10
    ———
    Total 100
    Taking these figures, we say that Smith and Jones each received 45% of the primary vote.
    Because an absolute majority (50% + 1) of votes is required to win under our system of preferential voting, and no candidate has secured that number, the candidate with the least votes, Brown, is eliminated and the second preferences of Brown’s 10 primary votes are allocated between Smith and Jones.

    Suppose 6 of those votes went to Smith and 4 went to Jones. The new tally would be:

    Smith 51
    Jones 49
    ———
    Total 100
    Smith would now be declared the winner with 51% of the two-party-preferred vote. The 51 votes comprise 45 primary votes and 6 preference votes.

    So, you can safely vote for a Nader knowing that your vote will count towards Gore if Nader doesn’t win.

    I generally don’t like ballot initiatives, but beginning to wonder if this isn’t a perfect example of where that provision might be best suited.

  15. Jim
    Posted October 25, 2006 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    Did you work for a primary challenge to Stabenow, as Lamont supporters challenged Lieberman in Connecticut? Are you actively promoting progressive Democratic candidates for local offices? If not, then you can’t complain much about your choices in November. The most effective way to effect change in American politics is to work within the major parties.

    As disgusted as I am with Stabenow, I’ll be voting for her and for every other Democrat on the ticket. If you can’t abide the thought of voting for Stabenow, think of it as voting to give control of the Senate to the party of Levin, Feingold, and the other true Democrats. If that’s not enough, think of it as voting to restore constitutional government in the United States.

  16. egpenet
    Posted October 25, 2006 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    I will vote AGAINST Debbie’s opponent this November … but it AIN’T a vote FOR Debbie. She is simply NOT very bright and has a legislative team that is very nearly anti-Democratic … the bankruptcy legislation vote was a good example, Jules. She’s way too righteous (socially conservative) for my blood.

    And as for Barak Obama, his eye is on a VP spot on the ticket with Hillary … which is called getting into the West Wing via the kitchen door. He hasn’t done much in Illinois, but his claim to fame is strictly along party lines, which ingratiates him with Dean, Pelosi and the old guard. Anything or anyone to get the Dems into the White House … no thoughts about what WE want or what WE need.

    Same old, same old.

  17. mark
    Posted October 25, 2006 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

    I think, Jim, if the vote on the Military Commissions Act had taken place earlier this summer, we would have begun looking for a better Democratic candidate. As it was, there wasn’t much time. Granted, she wasn’t great before that vote, as several have mentioned, but a lot of us had been willing to cut her some slack up until then.

  18. tommyspangler
    Posted October 26, 2006 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    Haven’t done the research, but I’m very curious as to how many Democratic Senators who are up for re-election this Fall voted for this piece of shit. Stabenow, Clinton, Obama?

  19. egpenet
    Posted October 26, 2006 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    The “list” will be in the roll call for that vote on that day … or ask MoveOn … or write to Debbie and ask her how many/and who of her brave fellows sided with George on this one.

  20. Jim
    Posted October 26, 2006 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    I too was fairly satisfied with Stabenow before this vote. I had forgotten that she voted for the bankruptcy bill, but I can overlook an occasional pro-business vote from a moderate Democrat. (I still like Bill Clinton.) This vote is of course different–there’s no excuse for gutting basic civil rights and authorizing torture.

    Democrats voting for the bill were: Carper (DE), Johnson (SD), Landrieu (LA), Lautenberg (NJ), Lieberman (CT), Menendez (NJ), Nelson (FK), Nelson (NE), Pryor (AR), Rockefeller (WV), Salazar (CO), Stabenow (MI).
    I think Menendez and Lieberman were the only two engaged in competitive races for re-election.

  21. Frank O'Connor
    Posted October 26, 2006 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    There was probably a bill rider in there where each member of Congress who votes for the bill gets a free steak dinner at Applebee’s.

  22. Frank O'Connor
    Posted October 26, 2006 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    There was probably a bill rider in there where each member of Congress who votes for the bill gets a free steak dinner at Applebee’s.

  23. egpenet
    Posted October 26, 2006 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    Jim:

    What is (FK) … Free Kansas … ?

  24. Jim
    Posted October 26, 2006 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    French Kentucky, I think.

  25. mark
    Posted October 26, 2006 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    My money’s on Free Kurdistan.

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