Talking Points Memo:
The handwriting has been on the wall for some time, but it now seems certain that Senate Democrats will pass a new FISA bill that contains retroactive immunity for telecoms, shielding them from lawsuits over their cooperation with the Bush Administration in its far-reaching warrantless wiretapping program.
Meanwhile, House Democrats have decided to postpone any vote on holding Josh Bolten and Harriet Miers in contempt for their refusal to testify to Congress about the White House role in the U.S. attorney purge.
And more from Digby
quoting Glenn Greenwald:
So here's Greenwald with the latest on the FISA kabuki, and this time it's so clunky and obvious it's more like a bunch of drunk college kids singing karaoke on platform shoes:
Harry Reid -- who has (a) done more than any other individual to ensure that Bush's demands for telecom immunity and warrantless eavesdropping powers will be met in full and (b) allowed the Republicans all year to block virtually every bill without having to bother to actually filibuster -- went to the Senate floor yesterday and, with the scripted assistance of Mitch McConnell and Pat Leahy, warned Chris Dodd, Russ Feingold and others that they would be selfishly wreaking havoc on the schedules of their fellow Senators (making them work over the weekend, ruining their planned "retreat," and even preventing them from going to Davos!) if they bothered everyone with their annoying, pointless little filibuster.
To do so, Reid announced that, unlike for the multiple filibusters from Republican colleagues, he would actually force Dodd and company to engage in a real filibuster. This is what Reid said:
[I]f people think they are going to talk this to death, we are going to be in here all night. This is not something we are going to have a silent filibuster on. If someone wants to filibuster this bill, they are going to do it in the openness of the Senate.
That is what Democrats have been urging Reid to do to the filibustering Republicans all year -- in order to dramatize their obstructionism -- but he has refused to make them actually filibuster anything, generously agreeing instead that every bill requires 60 votes. Instead, he reserves such punishment only for the members of his own caucus trying to take a stand for the rule of law and the Constitution, those who are trying finally to bring some accountability to this administration.
Read all of Glenn's post. He features the patronizing and demeaning little script that Reid, his counterpart the unctuous drip Mitch McConnell and Pat Leahy (!) came up with to announce their bipartisan agreement to force Democrat Chris Dodd to do what Republicans only have to pretend to do.
The next president of the United States is very likely to be one of two sitting senators who are, at the moment, the two most powerful people in the Democratic Party. Either one of them could bring their star power and future institutional clout to bear on this debate if they wanted to. Will they? I don't know. Maybe all you supporters out there should stop arguing amongst yourselves about trivia for a couple of minutes and ask them. You can go here to send a message. (And if you happen to be at a town hall meeting or a speech somewhere, how about holding up a sign or asking your guy or gal about this?) [Emphasis & links in original posts. --jd]
I don't usually quote big chunks of political text like this -- I leave it to the political bloggers -- but I have been struck forcefully of late by the infantile -- I was going to say junior high
, but that's giving them too much credit -- behavior & remarks of Obama & Clinton supporters online & to a lesser extent in the MSM. The Democratic primaries have devolved into a popularity contest while the Radical Right in the person of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Mitch McConnell, and their Democratic Party enablers sell out the basic principles of accountability & democracy. The triumph of the politics of distractions & irrelevance is virtually complete.