In a move that was anything but surprising, the Senate voted to gut the constitution rather than stand up against the politics of fear. Democrats control both houses of Congress and yet this bill passed by large margins in both chambers. Senator Obama thinks that the executive branch is using fear to extract more power and yet he halted his presidential campaigning to go vote in favor of this capitulation to the politics of fear. The New York Times explains the outcome of the vote this way:
. . . many Democrats were wary of going into their political convention in Denver next month with the issue hanging over them—handing the Republicans a potent political weapon.
In other words, the Democrats were so afraid of defending their votes that they capitulated to the minority party rather than cast their vote according to their beliefs. This indicates that they believe in re-election above all else. Maybe we should reword the oath of office to reflect reality – “I pledge to support and defend my re-election at the end of this term.” This is the same thing that had Republicans, when they were in the majority, voting to expand domestic discretionary spending at unprecedented rates in an effort to create a permanent Republican majority. The Republicans were rewarded with the loss of both houses of Congress in the midterm elections. I wonder how the Democrats will be rewarded (probably not with the loss of the majority at this time).
P.S. Naturally Hatch and Bennett voted in favor – they were probably squirming in anticipation as they waited to cast their votes.