Hang together or hang separately

This is a significant day in the campaign, but we go on. Mark has a great post below and there are also lots of good posts around blogville today. I just got done reading Kevin’s post over at American Street and he, too, makes a good case for why we should be disgusted with the Democrats and their nominee.

I was struck by Mark’s mention of the founding fathers and of Voltaire; Franklin in particular held him in high regard — no surprise there. I also note Mark’s mention of John Adams who, as President, signed the Alien and Sedition Acts into law, a heinous blot on constitutional history (part of which was still legal in 2008). Despite that, we remember Adams as a giant of the American Revolution, easily Jefferson’s equal. That Adams could be both things — a genius and yet a seriously flawed politician — should give us some insight into the quandaries (and temptations) of leadership in the American system of governance.

So here’s the thing: those of you who want to quit the game at this point are ceding the field to others who take comfort in our disunity. We’ll survive yesterday’s vote — one of many to come — in the Senate. But only if we don’t break apart. Tomorrow the sun will come up again and for many days to come. We’ll get another chance to get it right.

Attention should be paid to Russ Feingold, a champion of civil liberties but also a politician:

Maddow: With this vote, voters have to be asking if there is any meaningful difference between the parties on executive power, between the Democratic vision of executive power and the GOP. Certainly your vision of executive power is different than the president’s. But can you say the same for your party?

Feingold: I’m very concerned about it. People have a great right to be disappointed and to look at the 2006 election both rigard to Iraq and say, “What are they doing?” But having a Democratic president, in particular Barack Obama, should allow us to greatly change this mistake.

Barack Obama believes in the Constitution, he’s a Constitutional scholar. I believe he will have a better chance to look at these powers that have been given to the Executive branch. And even though he’ll be running the Executive branch, I think he will understand and help take the lead in fixing some of the worst provisions.

So this is a huge setback. It would have been better for Democrats to stand together and not let it happen in the first place because it is much harder to change it after the fact. But I do believe that Barack Obama is well-positioned in terms of his knowledge and his background and his beliefs to correct this. So I do think the people have a right be disappointed, but they also have a right to hope for change on this issue particularly, starting in January.

As Franklin said, we must all hang together or we will surely hang separately.