ejac·u·la·tion: a short sudden emotional utterance
Friday’s Oregonian editorial page ran an unsigned piece titled “Oregon’s senators take the high ground on legal rights”, which noted that both Sen. Ron Wyden and Sen. Gordon Smith voted for Sen. Arlen Specter’s hebeas corpus amendment to the detainee treatment bill on Thursday. The amendment was defeated 48-51.
“Oregonians are entitled to feel a somber sense of pride in their two U.S. senators”, according to the editorial, which went on to note the importance and history of the right of a prisoner to challenge the basis for their detention. By voting for the amendment, according to the editorial, “Smith and Wyden showed faith in the strength and nobility of the American system.”
The writer saved special praise for Smith, however, citing his vote as “a particularly principled stand for Smith, who was bucking the president and the GOP leadership”.
Of course, once the amendment failed, Smith’s principles seem to have flown out the window. By the time the editorial arrived on doorsteps in the morning edition, Smith, all but one of the Republican Senators, and thirteen Democrats voted to pass the unamended bill which essentially strips an 800-year-old right of law from anyone accused of terrorism.
Perhaps someone at the Oregonian could have asked Sen. Smith how he was planning to vote on the final bill before laving him with praise for his “particularly principled stand”, which was in fact doing no more than what his oath of office as a Senator required of him, to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic“. If they’d asked me, I could have told them that there wasn’t a chance in hell that Smith was going to break ranks and vote against the bill — amendment, principles, or no — and that they should have pulled their editorial before they showered him with praise for his ass-covering political trick.