Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Senatorial Mush

Chris Dodd has put out a simple position: he'll do what's in his power to stop any bill which gives telecom companies retroactive immunity for their Bush administration sanctioned law breaking. In contrast, Obama and Clinton have put out mush. Greenwald:

Obama said only that "if the bill comes to the Senate floor in its current form, he would support a filibuster of it" -- a transparent hedge given that it is virtually certain that the bill (being marked up this week by the Senate Judiciary Committee) will not come to the floor in its "current form." That makes Obama's statement virtually worthless, filled -- as intended -- with plenty of room for him to vote for amnesty if and when the Senate votes on it.

Clinton's statement was just incoherent -- claiming first that she hasn't seen the bill (which has been available for many days now) and thus "can't express an opinion about it," then vowing (so inspirationally) that she is "going to study it very hard," and then surrounding her "support" for a filibuster with multiple conditions: "As matters stand now, I could not support it and I would support a filibuster absent additional information coming forward that would convince me differently."

These statements are just manipulative and woefully insufficient. Leadership is about standing and galvanizing support for fundamental principles. And there just is no more fundamental issue than the rule of law principles and basic constitutional guaranteees that will be eviscerated -- still further -- if telecoms are granted retroactive amnesty and relieved of all obligations from having broken the law for years.

Stealing from Glenn again, here's the simple question to which there's a simple answer:

Will you support a filibuster of any bill that grants retroactive immunity to telecoms for enabling the Bush administration to spy illegally on Americans?

Call the Clinton and Obama offices/campaign and try to get an answer:

* Clinton Presidential: (703) 469-2008

* Clinton Senate: (202) 224-4451

* Obama Presidential: (866) 675-2008

* Obama Senate: (202) 224-2854

Even Joe Biden, who has been in the Senate since he was 30 and is not exactly known for his lack of verbosity, could give a simple answer to this one.

There's no reason for the United States Congress to sanction lawbreaking by the telecom companies and, by extension, the Bush administration. No one looking for the Democratic nomination should communicate ambiguity on this subject.