It's Baaack

by digby

It looks like we're going to party like it's 2002. Again. An unnecessary national security vote is being forced down the throat of a Democratic congress by the otherwise totally obstructionist Republicans, and the Democrats are anxious to sweep it under the rug so they can avoid being called cowards. Election year greatest hits: give them what they want so we can move on to "our issues." Get ready to hear this stale old tune a lot.

Glenn Greenwald delivers the bad news:

Here we have a perfect expression of the most self-destructive Democratic disease which they seem unable to cure. More than anything, they fear looking "weak." To avoid this, they "cave" and surrender and capitulate and stand for nothing. As a result, they are, as here, endlessly described in the media as "caving" and surrendering. As a result, they look (and are) weak. It's a self-destructive cycle that has no end.

As a result of all of this, Senate Republicans, despite their alleged "minority" status, are now refusing even to agree to a brief extension of the Protect America Act, believing -- with good reason -- that they can simply bully and scare the Democrats into passing a law that has everything Our Commander-in-Chief is demanding:

Intelligence and surveillance wars are going to be fought in Washington this week, and Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond, R-Mo., vice-chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is at the center. . . .

The original six-month, stop-gap measure from August expires on Feb. 1, and rumor is that the Democratic leadership wants to simply pass an extension of the August bill. But Bond and others on the committee say the Senate has had plenty of time to deal with the issue, and they're going to push for action on the October bill. "Congress will have only eight days to pass a fix before our foreign intelligence surveillance law (FISA) expires," Bond says. "To continue to stall legislation needed to help our intelligence community prevent attacks and protect American lives is irresponsible."

They're well on their way to forcing the Congress -- again -- into the most obscenely absurd posture imaginable, where they pass a major new surveillance and domestic spying bill, this time along with telecom immunity, because Republicans tell the country that unless Democrats do this, and quick, we're going to be Slaughtered by The Terrorists.

You really have to give those Republicans credit. They don't care how unpopular they are or how humiliating their presidential candidates are or how much they've screwed up the country. They just arrogantly keep going right in the Democrats' faces and telling them to "bring it."

As for the Dems, I would imagine they just don't think it's worth the trouble. If the telcoms are given immunity they'll never know what really happened and they'll never have to face the unpleasantness of confronting the Republicans on this issue. They are getting ready to close the book on the Bush years and, like the Republicans and the rest of the political establishment, pretend that it never happened.

So, what to do?

Well, Chris Dodd is still promising to filibuster, but is getting no love at all from his fellow Senators. But you may have heard that there's a little primary campaign going on right now with two Democratic Senators in the news nearly around the clock. You'd think we could do a little something with that wouldn't you?

Back when Dodd did the first filibuster, I wrote this:

Senators Clinton, Biden and Obama said they would support a filibuster. Edwards said he supported one too. If they would agree to come back to the Senate and help Dodd talk all night, it would bring much need attention to the issue and show the Democratic base that these candidates value them. Imagine if they all (including Edwards) agreed to suspend their campaigns and come back to Washington to stand with Dodd. It would be electrifying --- and it would show the country that the Democrats are prepared to fight. (It would also give them a bunch of free TV time.)

Will any of them (all of them?) do the right thing or will they blow it off?
The field has narrowed a bit. But nothing else has changed. They could, if they wanted to, take their shows back to DC and do something that would show the country that the Democratic party stands together against unconstitutional usurpation of executive power and unnaccountable corporations.

Over at FDL, they are asking people to call or email John Edwards and ask him to lead the charge. You can go here for that.

Or you can simply go over to the campaign websites of our two frontrunners and ask them to do it yourself.

Obama Community

Clinton Community

Update: here's a handy tool from our friends at CREDO to contact all the campaigns on this: