Friday, March 14, 2008

It is called "backbone"

By Carol Gee

A number of U.S. House Democrats must have gotten a spinal transplants in the last few weeks as the FISA fight progressed. Many of us who regularly cover this subject have been sitting on the edges of our chairs and the various vote counts emerged. And today, HR-3773/Civil-Liberties-Plus-Protection won, 213 to 197, 1 voting "present".

Hats off to several House Members who were particularly effective during the past week. Speaker Nancy Pelosi said repeatedly, and I think with effect, the "President Bush is wrong on this, and he knows it." Her sidekick, Steny Hoyer, made a very good closing speech today during the debate. His style and words hit just the right tone of impassioned wisdom. His decision to call the Republicans' bluff on last nights secret session, evidently helped wavering Members to see that the Hush-hush stuff promised by Ray Blount was (probably) just another fear-mongering tactic. Today, Judiciary Chairman John Conyers projected just the right firm elder statesman persona as he generously shared all his time with a roster of great Dem debaters and civil libertarians, such as Rush Holt and Jerry Nadler. My own Texas Rep Sheila Jackson Lee projected good knowledge ability and intelligence authority. She is clearly a strong ally of both Conyers and Intel Chair Sylvestre Reyes, a fellow Texan. Reyes, not an accomplished rhetorician, did a creditable job with his debate time. It has been so delightful to see those around him support and assist him in standing tall. Finally Leonard Boswell, not a House star, spoke with the Democrats after having voted with the Republicans previously. Tall and white-haired, he was beautiful in his dignity.

Glenn Greenwald's analysis is worth looking at. And he rightfully celebrates just a bit that the "Targeting Bad Democrats" campaign in which he and several other prominent FISA advocates participated may have been a factor. I agree that it was very likely a significant help to the backbone-growing amongst district-vulnerable Democrats. -- (See Marcy's list).

There still remains a lot to do before we can breathe more easily about a final stand-up-straight FISA outcome in the Senate. Paul Kiel at TPM Muckraker lists the Democratic Senators voting "badly" last month to give retroactive immunity in the Senate version of a FISA bill. This last time they had a real opportunity to do the right thing they behaved spinelessly, in my opinion. They may be open to pressure/support to do what is right as the conference process emerges in the coming weeks. Congress is out for their Easter break; I don't know when their office staff will be in to take messages; they may stay in Washington. These calls are very easy and you are not trying to convince the staff member. Just leave a message with your preference s. Here are the free "1-800" numbers to the capitol, where you can get your call transferred to a Senator or House Member's office:

  • 1-800-828-0498
  • 1-800-459-1887
  • 1-800-614-2803
  • 1-866-340-9281
  • 1-866-338-1015
  • 1-877-851-6437
This is a good day!

(Cross-posted at South by Southwest.)

Labels: , , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share


Post a Comment

<< Home