Back In Command Of The Out Of Control

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Memo to most of the Democrats: LECTURE TIME AGAIN.

Apparently, I have to explain to our elected leaders how our government works. Again.

If you want something, and the president doesn't want it, then the president holds the upper hand. The veto. He can sit in the White House all day long, vetoing shit to, as he so petulantly put it himself, "ensure that I am relevant". He can be the world's most relevant dickhead. That's his presidential prerogative.

And that's how it went down with S-CHIP. Without the votes to override, all the Dems can do is make sure everyone knows whose fault this is by showing a unified front and driving the point home during every media minute they're given. Well, that or back down and cower, letting Republicans off the hook for opposing something 80% of Americans support and calling it "compromise". Which is more how they roll.

On the other hand, if the president wants something, and Congress doesn't want to give it to him, then Congress has what the founding fathers enshrined as THE FUCKING UPPER HAND. It doesn't matter what it is - Iraq war funds, retroactive immunity for the telcos, or a goddamned tuna sandwich. He can't veto it into existence, no matter how relevant or unitary he thinks he is.

Which is why I find myself in the incredibly discomfiting position of thanking my lucky stars for Chris Dodd. Which feels wrong in my wrong place, but that's post-millenial politics for you.

The Democrats were all set to let the phone companies off the hook, as it were, for voluntarily selling us all out to the Bush illegal spying club. Why? Because either they're idiots, or they're bastards.

Either they're still afraid of being called "soft on terror", which has been repeatedly demonstrated to be the height of moronitude, or they're trying to keep their deep-pocketed buds at AT&T and Verizon out of court. Which is high bastardry. Neither are acceptable.

But yesterday, Dodd nutted up, took a chance, and put a hold on the bill. Which means he won't let it go forward as long as the immunity language is in it. Or the Senate violates one of its most beloved unwritten rules of mutual reacharound.

Why? He's either pandering or righteous. And I don't care which. Because either way, he's using all the power at his disposal for something he wants to be seen to believe in. And the other Democrats need to watch and learn, not undercut him for inexplicable political gain.