As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Specter's Bullshit Compromise Goes Down? UPDATED: This Sucks.

I couldn't even find this except at the end of a completely different article, but this is a very interesting development:

Separately on Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee rejected legislation that would have protected telecommunications companies from civil lawsuits over helping the government eavesdrop on Americans' communications without court orders. The legislation would have made the government the defendant in such lawsuits, rather than telecommunications companies. The 5-13 vote sank the measure pushed by Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., who hoped it could be a compromise in the dispute over whether to immunize the companies from lawsuits.

I can't seem to find who the 13 were to vote against it.

Scottish Haggis Specter (h/t emptywheel) had proposed this bullshit compromise and it went down in flames. Now, immunity actually PASSED the same committee a few weeks ago; Leahy just didn't report out that part of the bill. There are several options as to what this means:

a) SJC members know that Reid's bringing the bill with immunity to the floor;
b) SJC members would rather take their chances with immunity itself than a bullshit compromise;
c) Activism works and many on the SJC had a change of heart.

I'm leaning towards (a).

UPDATE: I appear to have been right. Reid is most likely to bring the version of the bill with telecom amnesty to the floor, but in a sneaky way, through substitute motions and the like. He'll basically make it impossible to pass anything without immunity in it.

The reason Reid is doing this in a way that requires 60 is because he wants to pass something. And the only way he can pass something is to pass exactly what the president wants...which includes immunity. So, he has decided to choose a path that will deceive us about whether or not he is honoring Senator Dodd's hold, and deceive us about whether he made a good faith effort to prevent immunity.

I am not happy to come to these conclusions, and the reality probably is that Harry Reid doesn't have the support within the caucus that he would need pursue a strategy of not passing a new FISA bill. The law will sunset in February and too many within the caucus are afraid to let the law sunset.

Nevertheless, we are being set up to not recognize this capitulation for what it is. And I am not happy about it.

UPDATE II: Greenwald has more. Chris Dodd is heroically coming off the campaign trail in Iowa, just 3 weeks before the caucuses, to lead a filibuster. But Reid has made it virtually impossible for that to be successful.

Worse still, Reid is completely disregarding the "hold" placed by Chris Dodd on any amnesty bill -- simply refusing to honor it, even as he respectfully honors literally scores of "holds" from GOP Senators such as Tom Coburn. And while Dodd is interrupting his campaigning to fly to Washington to lead the filibuster he vowed, Reid has ensured with scheduling manuevers that the filibuster will take place only over the weekend -- when all of the members are away raising money anyway and journalists aren't paying attention -- with the intent to try to force cloture once everyone returns on Monday.

There are two key objectives for today: (1) do as much possible to pressure Reid to honor Dodd's hold and (2) do as much possible to encourage the presidential candidates and others to actively support Dodd's filibuster, not merely in a cursory way, but through authentic leadership. At least as of now, Reid is the clear villain here, doing everything possible to enable the Bush/Cheney FISA agenda on telecom amnesty and surveillance powers, and doing everything possible, yet again, to ensure that Senate Democrats stand up to nobody except their voters and their base who put them in power.

Harry Reid must not be allowed to remain Majority Leader in 2008. It must not happen.

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