If Hillary and Obama thought they could dodge the bullet on telecom immunity with their tepid and ambigous statements on Dodd's hold on the FISA bill, they had better recalculate their strategy. The blogburst is going forward today and Glenn sums it up very well as usual.
Whatever that is, it's the opposite of "leadership." And it is this passivity and amorphous, shapeless, inspiration-free invisibility that has come increasingly to characterize both of their campaigns, along with the leadership of their party. That is why Dodd's relatively mild actions have generated such intense enthusaism and support -- a drop of water to someone stranded in the desert will seem like a royal feast.
And the "substance" of the statements issued both by Obama and Clinton is no more impressive than their obvious reluctance to get anywhere near this issue. While both of them suggest that they might support a filibuster to stop telecom amnesty, both statements are couched in the sort of amorphous, equivocating hedging that is the currency of the principle-free, cynical-game-playing Beltway insider.
In terms of the instant bill, I continue to think that even their weasel worded statements are a positive step in the right direction. It leaves the two frontrunners with not much room to backtrack if the telecom immunity provision is not stricken. It is however, sadly illustrative of the dearth of true leadership in our 'leaders.' Glenn eloquently points out the obvious.
Amnesty will single-handedly ensure that the most transparent act of Bush law-breaking -- warrantless eavesdropping and illegal spying on millions of Americans -- will not only go unpunished, but will also remain un-investigated forever. Telecom amnesty will provide Bush and Cheney with full and virtually insurmountable protection from any conseqeunces for their illegal spying. Sitting around hiding on this issue, playing fun semantic games, and clearly signalling a fear of being involved at all is actually grotesque, especially for candidates who claim that they are running in opposition to the excesses and abuses of the last six years.
Glenn also hones in on the big but simple question that the frontrunners must answer unequivocally.
Will you support a filibuster of any bill that grants retroactive immunity to telecoms for enabling the Bush administration to spy illegally on Americans?
This is a yes or no question with no rhetorical wiggle room. One candidate, Joe Biden, has already stepped forward with a simple yes. Hillary and Obama can not be allowed to do less.
Glenn has the phone numbers, or if you prefer to email the campaigns, Hillary can be reached here and Obama here. It took me all of thirty seconds to cut and paste that question into the forms and ask for a yes or no answer. I think that's a small investment of time to help rescue the rule of law, don't you?
Update: Well that's better. This just in from TPM.
To be clear: Barack will support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies."
I think we're getting through to them folks.