From Le Blog Bérubé:
All you have to do, in order to become a leading national figure … is to get out there and say something like this: “Torture and ‘extraordinary rendition’ are contrary to everything this nation stands for, every tradition of liberty and the rule of law for which our brave fighting men and women have died over the past 230 years. This administration’s craven and reckless policy will not only endanger our servicemen and women overseas … it will also erode our moral fiber and damage us irreparably in the fight against totalitarianism and political extremism around the world. No one who proposes such a policy is fit to lead this land of the free, and the political party that supports such a policy, and such a leader, can rightly be called anti-American.”
There! It’s that easy. You say a bunch of true things, you defend your country’s best political traditions, you remind millions of your fellow citizens that your party opposes the other party on some core issues, and you get some face time. It’s a win-win-win-win!
As Bérubé implies, the terrifyingly obvious question is this. Why has not a single member of Congress said anything like this? What is holding them back? What is their fucking problem?
[Added 24 September:] It’s possible that “not a single member of Congress [has] said anything like this” is an exaggeration. I don’t think so, however. A search of the Congressional Record for all of 2006 got me nothing. New York’s Charles Rangel had a good moment, but even this was not as strong as it could have been. And this was the only one that was even in the ballpark. Am I an inept researcher? If so, please help me out. If any of y’all can find any other instances where a U.S. senator or representative has stood up and said something strong about torture, I’d love to read it.