Things look better on the FISA front: the Democrats, in an uncharacteristic fit of intelligence, agreed to compromise by attaching provisions that allow telecommunications companies to present evidence to a FISA court that they did not break the law even if the president classifies the information, thereby getting around the argument that they need retroactive immunity because they can’t defend themselves in court.
Amazingly, the Democrats appear to have gotten the policy and the politics right on this. That being said, the ‘Bush Dog’ Democrats (who roll over and let Bush rub their tummies) need some…advice:
…they’re not doing these things because it’s politically necessary. They’re doing it because more than enough Democrats believe in the virtues of telecom amnesty and warrantless eavesdropping — just as they believe in the continued occupation of Iraq, the abolition of habeas corpus, the “enhanced interrogation techniques” authorized by Military Commissions Act, concealing Bush’s illegal eavesdropping programs, and a long array of other radical Bush policies that now have bipartisan Congressional support.
There’s absolutely no point in helping to elect Democrats like that to Congress or helping them to stay there. Yesterday, there was some celebration over the fact that Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor will be re-elected without opposition this year. That’s the same Mark Pryor who voted for the Military Commissions Act, for the Protect America Act, for telecom immunity, against every Iraq redeployment measure, and scores of other similar votes. The fact that he’s being re-elected with no opposition demonstrates his extremely strong political standing, i.e., that he cast these votes because they reflect what he believes. What’s to celebrate about the fact that someone like that — with that belief system — is returning to the Senate?
Democrats are never going to change their behavior if there continues to be no price for what they’re doing. If even the most pro-Bush Democrats continue to receive reflexive support from other Democrats, regardless of how fundamentally they reject the political values of those Democrats, they will continue on the same course. Why wouldn’t they? And if Democrats whose political values are violated by these office holders refrain from ever working against them, solely because they have a (D) after their name, then this process will continue unabated.
The only real prospect for changing any of that is to attach a political price, some form of meaningful punishment, when they do things such as vote to abolish habeas corpus or to vest new warrantless eavesdropping powers in the President or to grant amnesty to telecoms. That needs to be done even if it means weakening the bad Democrat in question.
The good people at firedoglake have set up an ActBlue page where you can support ad buys against a couple Bush Dogs. And once you do that, you’ve earned the right to go here, and vote for which Bush Dog should get your ‘help.’