Monday, January 28, 2008

What's at stake today in the Senate's FISA filibuster vote

From Glenn Greenwald:

"It has been a long, long time since Democrats contravened orders from the White House and Senate Republicans in any way (can anyone remember the last time?) A successful filibuster today would be an extremely mild step. It would not mean that they are rejecting telecom immunity. It would not mean that they are standing against new warrantless spying on Americans. Even with a filibuster and 30-day extension, they still have plenty of time to capitulate on those issues if they want to (although, as I argued on Saturday, even a short extension could be vital in marshalling public opposition to immunity and/or expanded warrantless spying powers).
At most, a sustained filibuster today would simply mean that they are demanding the right to vote (probably with futility) on their own amendments before passing Bush's new law and demonstrating that there is at least some very weak limit on the administration's ability to bully and humiliate them with the most transparently manipulative tactics imaginable. If they filibuster, Bush will undoubtedly attack them as Soft on Terrorism in tonight's State of the Union speech, but nobody outside of David Broder, Joe Klein and the Super Tough Blue Dogs listens any more or cares about George Bush's attacks.
Any rational person has long ago given up the hope that Congressional Democrats will stand for any actual political convictions, but the most basic sense of personal pride and human dignity -- which one thought was an intrinsic part of human nature -- would preclude their capitulation today. If they don't stand up to the White House and Senate Republicans under these circumstances, one might as well accept that they never will do so." (emphasis mine)

Ask yourself this: Should Congress let the President demand that any industry unnecessarily break the laws of the land and then give that industry immunity when they knowingly follow what the President demands at our expense?

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