Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Help wanted for FISA fight

By Libby

Well, the FISA/telecom immunity battle is about to be enjoined in the Senate, possibly as soon as next week and once again we're about to witness the ugly side of so-called bi-partisan cooperation -- read that as capitulation to Bush and sellout to corporate interests. I'm working this week, so I'll send you to Glenn Greenwald who finds the key to turning this defeat waiting to happen around.
The three leading recipients of telecom money for this election cycle are, unsurprisingly, the three sitting Senators running for President (with two Democratic members who are key to amnesty -- Jay Rockefeller and Rahm Emanuel -- close behind). That's how "Washington works" -- the process they are all pledging to battle and change. Needless to say, all of the viable GOP presidential candidates will be blindly supportive of whatever surveillance powers and lawbreaking immunity the President demands, but thus far, Obama and (less emphatically) Clinton have both claimed that they oppose such measures and thus pledged to support a Dodd-led filibuster.

But that will have meaning only if there is an active effort on their part. It will be increasingly difficult to listen to Edwards, Obama and Clinton tout their supreme leadership attributes and their commitment to "changing the way Washington works" if they choose to sit by, more or less mute, and allow such a blatant and corrupt evisceration of the rule of law -- and such a vast and permanent expansion of the limitless surveillance state -- to occur without a fight. Any one of them, or all three, has a unique opportunity to actually demonstrate with actions, rather than pretty speeches, their commitment to the principles they claim to espouse.
That's it in a nutshell. We have two sitting senators on our side pitching for our trust and our votes who claim they want to bring change. Instead of fighting over who said what about Reagan and who has the best qualifications to lead us to unity, this is opportunity to demonstrate those leadership skills they claim to possess. If they fail to come forward at the critical juncture to fight for us now, I don't see any reason to believe they're going to lead in our best interests if one of them gains the office.

Jane at FDL is suggesting we pressure Edwards to take the lead on this and that makes sense to me. He's got the least to lose and if he can bring the issue forward the other two will have to address it. Jane has a good email that goes directly to John. Email early and often to Edwards and Clinton and Obama.

We're hot off our victory in pressuring Chris Matthews to apologize for his repeated sexist remarks. That pales in importance to ensuring the lawbreakers of this administration are held to account. If we can influence this fight, we will have scored a greater victory that will resonate well past this one issue. Let's do it.

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