What Political Cost?

Of all the strange defenses to the FISA capitulation, I find the one Kevin Drum uses here one of the strangest:

Like everyone else in the liberal blogosphere, I think retroactive immunity is a bad idea that sets a bad precedent, but as I've mentioned before, this isn't a hill I'm willing to die defending.

Where did the idea that fighting against granting amnesty to AT&T was political suicide come from? Hell, there is no hill to defend here politically. Indeed, the Democrats, and Obama especially, have caused themselves unnecessary political grief with this craven act. Of course, I happen to think it is a principle worth fighting for anyway, but where in Gawd's name is Kevin Drum getting the idea that stopping amnesty for Big Telco is a political loser? Kevin is making that up. It may not be a political plus, I think it is, but it surely is not a political minus, much less political suicide.

Speaking for me only.

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    BTD is right ... (5.00 / 6) (#4)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 02:18:20 PM EST
    going against retroactive immunity is a political winner.

    The arguments that say it isn't just don't understand the nature of the body politic 2008.

    The people voting in favor of retroactive immunity are not covering themselves politically.  They're doing it because they support retroactive immunity.  Period.

    That's Greenwald's attitude (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Demi Moaned on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 02:30:26 PM EST
    ... and I have to say I find it convincing.

    Or some say that the Democratic leadership knew much more about this all along than they have let on and don't want to be exposed.


    I'm not sure about that (none / 0) (#43)
    by dianem on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 03:05:44 PM EST
    I'm thinking about how the middle perceives things, and I think that the immunity issue is just too wonkish. The netroots is passionate about it, but I suspect that most are simply angry because Bush is getting away with this and want somebody to take the fall. I don't think that seeing a bunch of phone company executives being jailed for doing what the President assured them was the right and legal thing is going to bring many people pleasure. There is a perception among the netroots that the trials would bring out evidence that incriminates the administration. This is not likely, and it certainly wouldn't happen in time to get Bush impeached. Obama should have opposed this, not because it's essential, but because he said he would. If he won't even keep his word during the election how on earth can we expect him to do so after he has power?

    The rest is more defensible. There is a good argument that the original FISA was adequate to provide access to communications without violating Constitutional Rights. They had to get a warrant - but as I understand it they could get one retroactively.


    IMHO: The problem isn't with (none / 0) (#51)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 03:27:13 PM EST
    granting immunity per se. The problem with granting blanket immunity is that it prevents the negotiations for INDIVIDUAL telecom immunity that could help in getting testimony that uncovers government wrong-doing.

    I think the retroactive immunity ... (5.00 / 3) (#68)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 04:19:11 PM EST
    goes to the heart of this democracy.

    The telcos agreed to this illegal program because the president said so. They were fully aware that the president has no power to demand such compliance.  And yet they complied.

    But if they feel there were mitigating circumstances let them prove this in a court of law.


    Were they fully aware? (none / 0) (#70)
    by dianem on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 04:25:56 PM EST
    How could they be? Congress doesn't even seem to be sure that Bush exceeded his authority in getting this information.

    All the Telcos (5.00 / 3) (#76)
    by Valhalla on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 05:09:03 PM EST
    have their own in-house legal staff plus outside counsel, that they pay very big bucks to.  Very big.  They cannot legitimately claim ignorance here.

    Congress' opinion is politically based.  (besides, didn't you see Pelosi stammer about how she's not a lawyer as an excuse for the immunity compromise?).

    If Bush et all acted unconstitutionally, then a note from the government doesn't get them off the hook.  Congress isn't giving the telcos immunity 'just in case' they might be liable.


    throughout all this immunity isn't for the Congres (5.00 / 2) (#82)
    by thereyougo on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 07:02:35 PM EST
    s to decide OR the president's to give!

    The 4th Ammendment ensures that, unless thet sub-ammend in which case doesn't it call for full on Constitutional Convention?

    Even if the Democrats knew about this, Nancy Pelosi NOW is treading dangerously close to violation of her oath of office.

    It sad to see this hand wringing, its not rocket science but the democrats are so used to being on the losing end of the issues for the past 7 years they've forgotten core Democratic principles and cave whenever Republicans get them in a corner even though they've got the majority.

    Stockholm Syndrome.


    Telco's hire constitutional lawyers? (none / 0) (#78)
    by dianem on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 05:28:58 PM EST
    If Bush acted unconstitutionally, then that is a matter for Congress. But I'm not sure that their in-house lawyers are qualified to make that determination. It is a crime to obstruct justice or to withhold information that is legally due the government. I can't imagine anybody refusing a direct request from the President that is backed up by legal assurances from people at the highest level of the administration.

    I don't know about "just in case they might be liable", but I really am glad I'm not in their shoes. It's a tough spot to be in. If they hadn't given Bush the information they might very well have been held criminally liable. Now, they might anyway.


    Remember the government (5.00 / 2) (#80)
    by JavaCityPal on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 06:26:04 PM EST
    demand for email was only met by resistance from Google.

    The people are giving up their freedoms at a record pace right now.


    Correction (none / 0) (#81)
    by JavaCityPal on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 06:28:40 PM EST
    Not email, search records. Sorry.

    Speaking for me only..... (5.00 / 4) (#5)
    by Carolyn in Baltimore on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 02:19:27 PM EST
    It is political suicide to appease and protect the telecomms who will get off anyway. We need to get to coutrt to expose the more serious crimes: wiretapping and data collection on the public.

    I just cannot understand this vote and will work to unelect anyone in my district who votes for it. So far I've been lucky in John Sarbanes and I believe Senator Cardin will do the right thing also.

    Mikulski (none / 0) (#37)
    by Carolyn in Baltimore on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 02:45:22 PM EST
    I forgot to mention my other Senator, formorly one I loved but who has made all the wrong votes in this arena. She needs some attention but I doubt it'll help. She is mired.

    here's how I see the downside (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by Edgar08 on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 02:21:47 PM EST
    Obama's leads filibuster, a group of dems aren't with him, the filibuster fails, and the press writes that up as a divided party under obama story.  Maybe even a sort of vote of no confidence.

    Except (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by BDB on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 03:15:11 PM EST
    The leadership wouldn't bring this up for a vote if Obama wasn't on board.  The agenda is all about November now.  

    I see it that way too (4.50 / 2) (#40)
    by jb64 on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 02:46:00 PM EST
    And it also occurs to me that this vote would nor be coming up unless Obama (as head of the party) wanted it to. Which means he never had any intentions of blocking its passage, or Steny and the gang deliberately pushed it through to force his capitulation. I'm inclined to believe the former.

    No. Bundling. (none / 0) (#44)
    by Ben Masel on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 03:07:31 PM EST
    The telco bailout is part of a package deal Pelosi, Hoyer, Reid, and Rockefeller cut with Bush, also including his withdrawal of a pledge to veto the Iraq funding if the appropriation included substantial domestic spending. For the plurality of the house, takehome money supercedes any loyalty to Obama. No way Obama wanted to take on this no-win vote.

    if he filibusters, he's got my vote (none / 0) (#83)
    by thereyougo on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 07:04:29 PM EST
    otherwise, 4get it.

    Who said this on another thread? (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by OxyCon on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 02:21:52 PM EST
    Obama's enablers could care less

    Just as Bush before him had his enablers, Obama has quite a large constituency of enablers who will "rationalize" everything he says and does, even if they unwittingly have to go against everything they used to stand for.
    It's happening now, all across the blogosphere.


    Surprise! It was me.

    Bad Joe Biden! Bad Joe Biden! (5.00 / 5) (#24)
    by OxyCon on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 02:30:20 PM EST
    See, within seconds of reposting my comment, I come across more of the same, this time from MyDD's Todd Beaten:

    Sorry, Joe, Being Even-Handed Won't Cut It
    by Todd Beeton, Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 01:20:33 PM EST

    Now, I don't really want to bash Biden... But what was one of the headlines that came out of Meet The Press yesterday:

    Obama's Public Financing Move Puts System at Risk, Biden Says

    Great. While drama queen Lindsey Graham was putting on a show, feigning outrage and deep disappointment at what he portrayed as an almost tragic fall from grace that Obama's decision to opt out of public financing represented, going all in for his candidate, Joe Biden seemed to be most concerned with not appearing one-sided and looking even-handed. Sorry, Joe, even-handed doesn't cut it. If you can't be an advocate for our guy 100% on message, then what are you even doing out there?


    Message, If you do not swear 100% loyalty and obedience to Obama, we have no use for you.


    I suppose it's easier to believe that the (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by tigercourse on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 02:22:01 PM EST
    people you support and who represent you are somewhat cowardly then to believe they have a different agenda then you do.

    And particularly to have to believe (5.00 / 2) (#55)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 03:38:43 PM EST
    that agenda is not what they've been saying it is.

    Great comment.


    and i should support them? for what reason? (none / 0) (#84)
    by hellothere on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 07:59:07 PM EST
    i also want more than what they say they will do. talk is just that talk. i have heard more than enough of that to last me a lifetime. trust, i have none. so again why should i vote for them or give them money. what have the democrats done for us? waiting! this has to do with a larger picture than the presidential election. i have raised cain about this issue long before primaries started. i don't want to hear they are just being politicans. what are they doing for us? the answer is very little.

    Looking for a different solution (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Newt on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 02:22:46 PM EST
    Sure, the telcos may have made the wrong call, but they were caught in a genuinely tough bind in the days after 9/11. The real bad guys here are George Bush and his enablers, who refused to go to Congress after the immediate post-9/11 emergency was over and get legislative approval for the NSA surveillance program.

    He's missing the point that the real issue here is getting the telcos to spill the beans on who, what, when, where and how long.  It's not the lawsuit payouts that are important, it's the trail to BuchCo.  

    Is there any way to get this info from them while still giving them retroactive financial immunity, or perhaps limited liability?  For instance, cutting a deal with them to get them to turn state's evidence, so to speak.

    BushCo was doing this prior to 9/11--that's what (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by jawbone on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 04:38:00 PM EST
    makes it so egregious. Then, BushCo got caught and lied about when it all began--started yelling Terra terra terra! The terra made me do it!

    Congressional investigations (none / 0) (#47)
    by dianem on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 03:13:23 PM EST
    If somebody has immunity they can be required to testify before Congress. No self-incrimination applies, since they have immunity. Immunity is the ultimate "deal". I'm not trying to suggest that Congress is going to do this. So far they have made no indication that they intend to, but they could.

    Yep (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 03:28:25 PM EST
    but you have more leverage if they're under threat of going to jail.

    I Thought It Only Granted Civil Suit Immunity (none / 0) (#63)
    by BDB on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 04:03:00 PM EST
    Or am I wrong about that.

    Although if the DOJ told the phone companies what they wanted was legal, the feds are probably estopped from prosecuting them.

    Not sure what happens if a State should decide to prosecute one of the companies.  


    If they lie to Congress... (none / 0) (#69)
    by dianem on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 04:24:06 PM EST
    ...they go to jail, regardless of the telecom immunity. Heck, if they even refuse to show up they go to jail, don't they?

    But As We've Seen (none / 0) (#74)
    by The Maven on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 04:44:36 PM EST
    via the lens of the civil lawsuits, the Administration has attempted to invoke -- and will continue to do so -- the state secrets privilege, regarding which there is very minimal opportunity to contest its designation.

    The state secrets privilege played a major role in the dismissal of the ACLU v. NSA case, and the government has intervened in the telecom cases for the same purpose.  Before leaving office, I would expect the Bush Administration to invoke state secrets yet again to prevent any possibility of testimony before Congress, now or in the future.


    Then they won't be able to defend themselves... (none / 0) (#79)
    by dianem on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 05:35:02 PM EST
    ...so it would be pointless to try them anyway. This situation is lose-lose for Congress. If they grant immunity, they get something right now. I don't know what - I suspect it is Bush signing the military benefits bill that just passed.

    Possibly (5.00 / 3) (#15)
    by rilkefan on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 02:23:40 PM EST
    there are Dems in congress willing to die over this, so Obama can't force them to stop it, and fighting them in public will make the party look split/him look ineffectual.

    It's funny though for people who bashed HRC over her AUMF vote while dismissing arguments like the above to now say it's ok for Obama to think that way.

    It's not surrender if you actually support it. (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by masslib on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 02:26:30 PM EST
    Again, I would have used the immunity as a bargaining chip.  What I see, is this law ratifies the practice, which I would say is a larger issue than immunity.  Am I missing something?

    Now I am confused (none / 0) (#22)
    by CST on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 02:28:35 PM EST
    I thought the whole "compromise" was that the law banned the practice but granted immunity for things done in the past.  Or I am reading this all wrong.  Clarification BTD???

    No, It Expands The Powers of FISA (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by squeaky on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 03:30:09 PM EST
    For Clarification, maybe this will help.

    Jeralyn's post the ACLU link and Balkanization link are clear that this is a expansion of FISA.

    Also this is good:

    A Guide to the New FISA Bill, Part II

    It fleshes out the issues a bit more than Kevin's piece.

    Part I here.


    See, I don't see how it bans (none / 0) (#30)
    by masslib on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 02:36:37 PM EST
    the practice.

    In the end, it doesn't matter what (5.00 / 3) (#20)
    by zfran on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 02:27:11 PM EST
    "we the people" think. When did it ever in these last few years. Most people I know could care less about this issue and say so if the gov't is listening, so what, who cares. So, I don't gasp anymore when they say it and I tell them I care. No one is honest and up front about this issue. I'm tired of the 'political' solutions and the cya's in the process. Fool the people, herd the people, control the people..when are people going to stop being ostriches!!!???!!!

    This is important to us but (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by BarnBabe on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 02:28:33 PM EST
    I will tell you outside of the blogs, I never ever hear a word discussed on this. Ok, the GuyFriend, because he is into stocks. Otherwise, it is not a problem that people are worrying about. And I suspect that is what Congress finally said. Let's show we can compromise on a bill. Obama is not going to make waves over a non-issue to the public. In legal circles I am sure it is being discussed, but not for the average family trying to keep in their budget or the truck driver paying out for fuel. This will blow over quickly for them.

    Well (5.00 / 3) (#65)
    by Steve M on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 04:06:37 PM EST
    This is exactly why there is no political cost.

    No one outside of activists and the telecoms themselves actually cares about telecom immunity.  It is not something that is going to rile up the GOP base.  There is no political downside to opposing immunity.


    Really? (none / 0) (#27)
    by kredwyn on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 02:32:27 PM EST
    My dad (not a blogger) has talked about it. And he's furious.

    Well, as I said, depends on the circumstance (none / 0) (#33)
    by BarnBabe on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 02:41:55 PM EST
    I am just saying that in discussions this has not been the #1 topic. There is health care, Iraq, the primaries, gas prices, food prices, etc. If I mention it I usually get, yeah, what is that all about? Your Dad, I believe, is what the world needs.  Unfortunately, many struggling families have other worries.

    Playing Charlie Brown (5.00 / 3) (#26)
    by kredwyn on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 02:31:28 PM EST
    to the GOP's version of Lucy...over and over again.

    That's got a political cost.

    I'm getting really really sick and tired of (5.00 / 3) (#29)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 02:34:54 PM EST
    supposed Democrats and their supposed pundits making stuff up and joining with/playing on this "culture of fear" bull that I have become so puke tired of these past eight years.  What is it going to take anymore for the grassroots and bloggers to stop selling out so that things that are truly wonderful can be reestablished and revisited in America?

    Maybe it is what the telecoms know (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by BarnBabe on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 02:38:10 PM EST
    The telecoms have the records of all the wire taps. This could be a whole can of worms that  would come out in a trial and the government wants to avoid. It could be some real nasty stuff and just as good as a picture of someone for blackmail purposes.

    Leadership (5.00 / 4) (#35)
    by Prabhata on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 02:43:43 PM EST
    FISA demonstrates again that Obama shows no leadership.  He never has and those who think the man deserves to lead have not looked deeply into the background of Obama.  He has never worked for one issue with distinction.  He does not deserve to be president.  The only thing that burns in his belly is his ambition to a higher office.  His new fake president seal is embarrassing. Obama is a poseur.

    Is there any hill that the Dems are really (5.00 / 4) (#36)
    by MO Blue on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 02:44:57 PM EST
    willing fight to defend? If the Constitution is not worthy of defense, what is? The other bastion of the Democratic I thought was Social Security. Guess since they have stood silent while it has been put at risk by adopting the Republican mantra that it is in crisis, that was another misconception I had about the party.

    Other than collecting campaign contributions and protecting their own political jobs what will they stand for if it takes real action instead of mere words?  

    Different Forces, at work here, maybe (none / 0) (#46)
    by santarita on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 03:11:34 PM EST
    Listening to Nancy Pelosi on why impeachment was off the table and watching the Dem's leadership's failure to stand up on issue after issue since 2006 leads me believe the following:

    Dems see a real possibility of a Dem Congress and White House for the first time in a long time.  That is the over-arching goal and many of them are willing to rationalize against doing the right thing now with the idea that they will fix things when they are in power.

    With a Dem in the White House, they want to avoid the conflicts of the 1990's by showing the Republicans (and the nation) that they are the nice guys - they didn't impeach Bush when they could have at least made an attempt to do so.  And they hope that the Repubs will play nice this time around.  

    And with their eye on the White House they want their man to be able to wield executive power the same way that Bush did and they are hoping that the Repubs remember all of the precedents set during Bush's term.

    And they smell power and want it.


    IMO a Democratic President wielding the same (5.00 / 6) (#54)
    by MO Blue on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 03:36:31 PM EST
    executive powers as Bush is not  acceptable or within the framework of our Constitutional government. The precedents that were set and allowed to flourish during Bush's term were completely outside the Constitutional provisions established by our founding fathers and the fact that the Democrats did not honor their oath of office to overturn these abuses are one of the blackest marks against them IMO.

    Any hopes that the Republicans will play nice this time around is so outside their SOP that it is only proof of delusional thinking used by the Dems to justify their actions.  


    I agree ... (none / 0) (#62)
    by santarita on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 04:02:53 PM EST
    that the Bush administration has pushed beyond the frontiers on executive power and that the Dems hopefully will pull back.  But it has to be a tempting thought to have a Dem in the WH with Bush-like authorities.  

    It's easy to speculate on the various motivations for not fighting more for measures consistent with Dem values.  But  the people outside the ring of power see only bits and pieces of what is going on.  


    I don't find it tempting at all (5.00 / 6) (#67)
    by MO Blue on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 04:16:23 PM EST
    I find it dangerous for any president of any party to have Bush-like authorities and become above the law and granted the right to demolish Constitutional provisions at will.

    Some things go beyond speculation. The Dems can control what bills will come up for a vote in the House. They did not need to go out of their way reach a compromise giving the telecoms immunity and eliminating Constitutional rights. They made this choice.  The why is really IMO not the issue. What is at issue is that they chose to abandon their oath to protect the Constitution and the rights granted to Americans under that document.


    I actually think that's wrong (none / 0) (#57)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 03:44:17 PM EST
    I think their sole aim is to increase the Dem. majority in the Congress.  If they were hell-bent on winning the White House, too, they wouldn't have rushed Obama into the nomination.  They stiff-armed the stronger candidate, I think, because the weaker one had more money and more youthful followers they value as Dem voters of the future.

    Maybe the primary goal is to... (none / 0) (#66)
    by santarita on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 04:09:04 PM EST
    increase the number of Dems in Congress.  Given the fact that incumbents have a leg up on reelection, a Dem majority now almost insures a Dem majority for the foreseeable future.  But the franchise enhances its value a lot by also having the Presidency.  The leadership supported the more malleable, if not more electable, candidate.

    no! they haven't defended anything or anyone. (none / 0) (#85)
    by hellothere on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 08:04:05 PM EST
    they talk about it and pander, but that's all. our government is broken and both sides of the isle contributed to it.

    Bizarre. (5.00 / 2) (#41)
    by Marco21 on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 02:47:43 PM EST
    It's a bad idea and a bad precedent? Talk about understatements!

    He's not willing to die defending what's right.

    Sounds like the democrats in congress, too. All talk, no fight.

    Battle (5.00 / 6) (#42)
    by mmc9431 on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 03:04:50 PM EST
    When was the last time the Democrat's have battled? Maybe it's the medication but I can't remember the last time. I hear of the threat or promise, but I never see the reality. They've taken lessons from Arlen Spector!

    Oooh! 10 points for that one! (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 03:45:10 PM EST
    Thats not the issue. (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 03:46:58 PM EST

    Where did the idea that fighting against granting amnesty to AT&T was political suicide come from?

    This is all about getting in line behind Obama.  Period.

    I got an Obama fundraising call Sunday--I asked (5.00 / 2) (#73)
    by jawbone on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 04:41:35 PM EST
    what he was going to do about telcom immunity and the FISA bill: "Oh, he's in favor of it," I was told. "In favor of what," I asked, and the caller had no idea.

    I told him I needed to know where my candidates actually stood on issues before I donated money.

    The caller said hope, change, he's the one, etc.

    I said thank you for your time and enthusiasm, but I will not be donating.

    Kevin Drum is neqarly always wrong or (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by pluege on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 09:28:41 PM EST
    obtuse. I don't recommend anyone waste their time reading what he writes. After several agrevating years saying "huh?" to what drum writes, the last straw for me was when he supported the cretin's "surge" in Iraq so...and I quote: "republicans can get it out of their system."

    But you can't sustain the idea ... (none / 0) (#1)
    by Demi Moaned on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 02:16:13 PM EST
    that Obama is wiser than all of us unless you can point to some kind of serious downside to opposing the Republicans.

    Hmmm (4.50 / 2) (#7)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 02:20:28 PM EST
    Is that Kevin's argument? Obama knows best?

    It reminds me of the arguments in 2006 on running on Iraq, Rahmbo knew best, until he did not and finally acquiesced to running against the Iraq Debacle.


    Can't say about Kevin (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Demi Moaned on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 02:25:31 PM EST
    But every few days there's a new diary on the rec list over at the GOS touting the Obama knows best mantra. It seems to me the natural extension of the uncritical idolatry that prevailed during the nomination contest.

    Like you, I don't have so many illusions about Obama, so there's a reasonable chance that I'll find his work as President to be fairly decent. But this other attitude has a bit of the feel of a drug run-- at some point you have to crash and the longer you defer it the more painful it will be.


    The Deification of Rahm for 2006 (none / 0) (#16)
    by andgarden on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 02:23:57 PM EST
    deserves some serious evaluation. If we didn't win anywhere but where he played, we would not have taken the House.

    likewise in reverse of course (4.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Edgar08 on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 02:34:28 PM EST
    2006 struck me as, by all accounts, a sort of team effort, a myriad of different campaigns of good people with different styles recruited by both wings of the party.

    Follow the money.... (none / 0) (#2)
    by Aqua Blue on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 02:16:54 PM EST
    gotta be...no other explanation.

    SOLD to the highest bidder.

    Or maybe it has to do with higher ups (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by BarnBabe on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 02:22:10 PM EST
    Someone or many of high authority must have told the telecoms that it was ok. They would stand behind them. It was not going to be illegal. It could be the head of the FBI, the AG, the VP, and even the top guy. But there had to have been a promise and a wink for their legal depts to go ahead with it. That is where the follow the lead should start. IMO.

    Or the fruits of the wiretapping... (5.00 / 3) (#38)
    by ineedalife on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 02:45:30 PM EST
    is being used to ensure the immunity. Who knows what amount of dirt was turned up. I often wonder if Bush played a tape for Nancy Pelosi at that private White House dinner she attended shortly before she announced that impeachment was off the table.

    That's Ben Masel's explanation (none / 0) (#3)
    by andgarden on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 02:18:17 PM EST
    I think AB is talking campaign money. (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by Ben Masel on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 03:11:13 PM EST
    While I tie it to the appropriation process.

    Indeed (none / 0) (#50)
    by andgarden on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 03:17:12 PM EST
    I think that's a good explanation.

    Well, one of two things. . . (none / 0) (#6)
    by LarryInNYC on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 02:19:51 PM EST
    has to be true, right?  Either the folks voting for this compromise support it on the merits (in which case they're not really capitulators) or else they believe they'll suffer politically for standing up for what's right.

    It sounds like you're suggesting that the Democratic Congress 1) opposes amnesty and 2) isn't worried about political fallout and therefore is capitulating because. . . what?

    Actually (5.00 / 4) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 02:21:46 PM EST
    I am suggesting they are politically stupid. they were for most of 2006 on Iraq.

    you must remmeber that the Dems are not really winning the political battle, the Republicans have lost by default - thanks to Bush.


    Stupid in what way? (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by LarryInNYC on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 02:26:32 PM EST
    Stupid in mistakenly believing that there would be political fallout?  Or stupid in voting for the bill knowing there wouldn't be any fallout?

    The second is stupider than I'm willing believe even the Congress is, the first comes down to determining what public opinion actually is.  The fact that they are all running from immunity is prima facie evidence, to me, that they have some polling which indicates it might harm them.


    Stupid in both ways (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 02:28:43 PM EST
    It seems to me (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by Steve M on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 04:04:41 PM EST
    that Congressional Democrats have always been much more driven by the Beltway narrative than by actual public opinion or polling.

    In their world, telecom immunity is a war on terror issue just like warrantless wiretapping, and opposing the GOP creates a risk of appearing soft on terror.  There's no evidence that the public actually sees telecom immunity this way, but that's how the insider narrative spins it.


    and with the lack of any real winners in the (none / 0) (#86)
    by hellothere on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 08:06:31 PM EST
    next few years, we will not keep our strong numbers in congress. i have said this for a very long time. inaction and excuses doesn't win votes.

    Kevin Drum is famous for his waffling (none / 0) (#8)
    by Jim J on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 02:21:45 PM EST
    and chin-stroking equivocation. He has become a walking parody of the self-important yet ultimately convictionless lefty blogger.

    I don't think people are going to care (none / 0) (#32)
    by MarkL on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 02:40:24 PM EST
    about spying unless there is evidence of abuse of powers---something which I suspect is true, frankly.
    Spying on political opponents, leaking information t o corporations for monetary gain, etc.

    Why I'm continuing to fight it (none / 0) (#48)
    by Ben Masel on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 03:14:34 PM EST
    I'm not hopeful we'll stop this bill. it's important to continue, however, to set the stage for fights to restore privacy rights in the next Congress.

    This behavior. (none / 0) (#71)
    by phat on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 04:29:42 PM EST
    I suspect it will continue well into an Obama presidency, no matter what Obama does.


    I'm afraid Clinton won't oppose it either ... (none / 0) (#88)
    by FreakyBeaky on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 01:43:57 AM EST
    ... because to do so would too obviously undermine the presumptive nominee. :-(