I Can Haz Leadership? (Updated)

3 comments January 24th, 2008at 07:46am Posted by Eli

As I understand it, the presidential primaries are supposed to be all about demonstrating to the voters of your party that you have the leadership qualities necessary to be President of the I-think-still-just-barely most powerful nation on Earth. We’ve heard all kinds of back and forth between the top three candidates about who can best effect Change.

Well, there’s this FISA vote coming up, wherein Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will attempt to ram through a bill granting telecom corporations retroactive immunity for turning their customer’s calls over to the Bush Administration without warrants. Reid intends to do this over Chris Dodd’s dead body, and will dispense with the courtesies that he granted to Republican opponents, such as honoring holds and not requiring actual reading-from-the-phone-book-until-you-keel-over filibusters. As if this were not bad enough, it appears that this is actually the outcome that the Senate Democrats want, and the only Democrats willing to stand with Dodd in support of a filibuster are Teddy Kennedy and Russ Feingold (of course).

The first time FISA almost came to a head, Hillary and Obama refused to tear themselves away from their campaigning, which was a non-response worthy of our current Ignorer-In-Chief. If Hillary and Obama really want to show voters, especially Democratic voters, that they have the mettle to lead our country, then they need to get their asses down to the Senate floor and help Dodd out. Vote against cloture, ask Dodd long rambling questions so he can take breaks, and perhaps most importantly of all, use the megaphone of your presidential campaigns to let the American people know that the Bush administration (with the active collusion of the Democratic leadership) is once again trying to chip away at the rule of law to let themselves and their corporate henchmen escape accountability.

If you want to show leadership, then lead, don’t hide. If you want to demonstrate your ability to effect change, then change something. If you want to show that you’re not beholden to corporations and lobbyists, then tell the telecoms who have been pelting you with money that you appreciate their support, but you have to follow your conscience and do the right thing.

Of course, even if you do all that, you’ll still be following Chris Dodd, who despite polling in the low single digits in his bid for the nomination, still managed to display more leadership in a week than either of you has shown in the entirety of your brief, cautious Senate careers. But at this point I have to take what I can get, and I’d rather have a fast follower for President than someone who hides under the desk every time Republicans shout “9/11.”

But what about Edwards, you ask? After all, he is the Officially Endorsed Candidate Of Multi Medium, is he not? He most certainly is – but what he is not is a sitting Senator. I would love to see him go down to DC in a show of support and solidarity, but Edwards can only affect the outcome indirectly, either by focusing the meager spotlight the media deign to give him onto the immunity issue, or by shaming Actual Sitting Senators Hillary and Obama into showing up so he can’t lord this over them for the rest of the campaign.

And as long as I’m on the subject of leadership, where the hell is ours in Congress? Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is actively facilitating an enormous gift to the Bush administration, and Nancy “Impeachment Is Off The Table” Pelosi still refuses to call a vote to hold Harriet Miers and Josh Bolten in contempt, over six months after they blew off Congressional subpoenas to testify on the US Attorney firings. If covering for a lawless, out-of-control Republican President is the kind of “leadership” our Democratic Representatives and Senators actually want, then God help us all, and we need better Democrats. Much, much better Democrats.

UPDATE: I forgot to ask: Why can’t Reid just say, “Sorry, fellas – as much as I’d like to help you with the whole shielding-corporations-and-Bushies-from-accountability thing, my hands are tied as long as that mean ol’ Mr. Dodd persists with his hold. And since it doesn’t look like he’s going to change his mind anytime soon, you might as well just pass the version without telecom immunity. And, I might add, the absence of retroactive immunity for telecoms does not in any way impede our ability to catch terrorists, regardless of what the Bush administration may say.”?

Am I asking too much?

Entry Filed under: Clinton,Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Dodd,Edwards,Elections,Favorites,Obama,Politics,Republicans,Terrorism,Weirdness

3 Comments

  • 1. Loki  |  January 24th, 2008 at 9:34 pm

    Unfortunately yes, you are.
    It saddens me to say it, but it’s true.

  • 2. Cujo359  |  January 24th, 2008 at 11:32 pm

    He’s not asking too much, he’s just asking more than this crop of politicians is capable of.

    I have to laugh every time some Clinton supporter asks where we get all this “triangulation” stuff from. We get it from careful observation over the last sixteen years.

    As for Edwards, I encouraged him to do as you suggest during the last FISA battle, Eli. Did he listen? Nooooo…

  • 3. Eli  |  January 25th, 2008 at 12:53 am

    I know, I know. It’s a lost cause – our party leadership are all a bunch of spineless and/or co-opted weasels. We just have to hope we can elect progressives faster than they can be turned into Bush Dogs and jellyfish.


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