Thursday, June 23, 2016

Excusing Brad Ashford's tardy, tepid sit-in support. He probably has his reasons.

The current incarnation of former Republican Brad Ashford is the sort of go-along get-along Republicrat that alternately makes us very glad Lee Terry is gone and disgusted enough to  throw a shoe at the TV (the latter would be for Ashford's contemptible betrayal of Nebraska farmers and ranchers in supporting Keystone XL).
     As a newly-minted Democratic congressman in one of America's reddest states, we imagine he prays nightly to the tightrope-balancing shrine of Senator Ben Nelson.
     Right now, Ashford is being criticized on Twitter for his silence, then tepid support of the Democratic sit-in over gun control legislation.
     As people began to notice the conspicuous absence of his ass from the House of Representatives rug, he tweeted something about "standing" with his Democratic colleagues, which made us laugh almost as much as he must have while tweeting it.
     It's easy to see the practical reason Ashford isn't sitting cross-legged on the floor. He knows that Dark Money Koch Bros. ad agencies — not to mention his September opponent, Air Force Gen. Don Bacon — are drooling at the prospect of ripping him him in TV attack ads as a leftist refusenik stuck in 60s Yippiedom. Obviously, Bradford ain't gonna let that photo op happen.
     But there could also be a principled reason that Ashford isn't willing to go to the carpet on this.
     We remember the Brad Ashford of the Unicameral Judiciary Committee and his cross indignation at contrived and specious antigay testimony. He knows bullshit when he sees it, and within the bounds of political survival, is loathe to suffer it. We're guessing he finds the current no-fly-no-buy bill toxic. (We could be wrong; after all he didn't find Keystone XL chemical horror show toxic.)
     As even people who don't worship at the Church of Glock have noticed, adding weight to the terrorism watch list is an ugly, potholed, rutted road that ends in a civil liberties swamp.
     Secret government lists that effectively limit where you can go and what you can buy are the very definition of 1984 totalitarianism.
     Naturally Republicans in the main only get exercised about this when their assault weapon fetish is reconsidered and they're hypocrites for it, (don't expect to tell you that the Reagan administration put Nelson Mandela on the terrorism watch list, where he stayed until 2008 or that liberal Actor Mark Ruffalo was added to it) but that doesn't mean the convenient excuse of on-the-NRA-take Republicans' is wrong.
     We saw a chart the other day which revealed that 280,000 people are on the mistake-riddled terrorism watch list (no breakdown of how many are U.S. citizens) for which the government can show no link whatever to terrorist organizations.
     Obviously you can still be a dangerous lone wolf without subscribing to the Al Queda Post-Dispatched, (See Omar Mateen, Reps Steve King and Louie Gohmert, and Wayne LaPierre), but without any evidence whatever of links to terrorist organizations, shouldn't you have at least be able to confront your accuser?
     Democrats who want to expand the use of secret government lists, whose dragnets offer little to no recourse to ensnared innoocents ought to be ashamed of themselves. Assault weapons should be banned for everyone except enlisted military personnel, period.
     Conditioning any ban on a secret blacklist compiled by anonymous, unaccountable functionaries at the NSA, FBI, CIA, Homeland Security or the Mayberry PD is a really, really bad idea.
     If that's what's giving Brad Ashford pause, he's right.

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