December 17, 2007
As Glennzilla says:
The summarized version is that there were two competing bills which Reid could have brought to the floor -- the Senate Intelligence Committee version engineered by Jay Rockefeller and Dick Cheney which gives the administration most of what it wants, and the Senate Judiciary Committee, which does not contain telecom amnesty and contains far more extensive oversight protections. Reid could have brought the bill to the floor using whatever process he wanted, and he has decided -- contrary to weeks of assurances -- that the SIC bill will serve as the "base" bill, meaning that improving it (by removing amnesty and increasing oversight) will require 60 votes, rendering such efforts virtually impossible. In doing so, Reid is brazenly ignoring the demands of 14 Senators -- including all of the Democratic presidential candidates -- to have the Judiciary Committee bill be the base bill.
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.
Put another way, the issue isn't that they're failing to impose limits on the President. It's not even that they're failing to do everything they can to do so. The issue is that they are devoting their efforts and energies -- again -- to ensuring that the White House wins, its radicalism enabled and bolstered, and the people who support them thwarted in what they believe.Harry Reid has been greasing the skids for the president while running roughshod over significant portions of his own caucus. Here's what's likely in play: Reid and Schumer twisted Leahy's arm to give them cover, or made a deal somewhere under the table with him. This is all about the '08 elections, the invisible hand of the Clinton political machine, the DSCC and the Village Donor$$$.
Meanwhile, Reid's office has undertaken a planned, careful strategy of deception through process dodges and contempt for base voters, not to mention the Constitution, consciously fogging the conversation with process talk, burying things on a weekend entering the Christmas break, while throwing up his hands in mock powerlessness and framing his corruption in a matter of "principle," that of Senate procedure and decorum.
Presidential hopefuls Joe Biden, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have all said they will "support" Dodd's filibuster. Let's hope that "support" is not of the phony "I support Ned Lamont" variety Clinton and Obama displayed. Tell them to put up or shut up here.
Otherwise, with all the unchecked and unreviewable domestic surveillance power Democrats are primed to grant to the executive branch, welcome to the Stasi State!
UPDATE: Digby points out another GOP hold Reid supported. It's a doozy:
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