Thursday, October 18, 2007

Help Chris Dodd Save the Constitution

UPDATE After the Jump, UPDATE II

One - and only one - Member of Congress is at this moment standing in front of a stampeding horde of telecommunications companies, bushies and bought-off Senators determined to burn the Constitution to the ground in the name of giving the telcos amnesty for illegal spying.

Trust me on this: Go to Dodd's blog right now and add your comment supporting him. His office and campaign telephones are ringing off the hook, but so far the comment section on his blog is pretty open. Plus, it's more permanent and you can write rationally instead of screaming hysterically.

If you want the details, check out Glenn Greenwald's post on how the Senate is planning to cave completely to Smirky, the telcos and all the forces of UnConstitutional Evil.(More after the jump.)

UPDATE: To his credit, Chris Dodd has been, by far, the most vocal Democratic presidential candidate on the issues of executive power abuses and restoring our constitutional framework. Unsurprisingly, he has issued a very strong condemnation of telecom amnesty along with a vow to try to stop it:
While the President may think that it's right to offer immunity to those who break the law and violate the right to privacy of thousands of law-abiding Americans, I want to assure him it is not a value we have in common and I hope the same can be said of my fellow Democrats in the Senate.
For too long we have failed to respect the rule of law and failed to protect our fundamental civil liberties. I will do what I can to see to it that no telecommunications giant that was complicit in this Administration's assault on the Constitution is given a get-out-of-jail-free card.
The vow to "do what [he] can" to stop amnesty is interesting. Big Tent Democrat suggests he lead a filibuster to stop it (h/t Atrios), but I doubt, given Rockefeller's support, that they could get anywhere near the 40 votes necessary to sustain that. Dodd could, however, place a "hold" on any bill containing amnesty and prevent it from reaching the floor for a vote: "Senate tradition allows any senator to keep a piece of legislation from reaching the Senate floor by placing a hold on the bill." That is what Sen. Wyden did previously to prevent a vote on an anti-net-neutrality bill.
Dodd's emphasis in his campaign on constitutional issues -- along with his excellent voting record this year -- has generated significant positive feelings towards his campaign. But demonstrating real leadership on this incomparably important issue would almost certainly generate real, tangible support for his campaign in many circles.
Telecom amnesty implicates not only all of the issues raised by warrantless surveillance and the rule of law, but really calls into question the basic fairness of our entire political system, i.e, whether the wealthiest and most powerful corporations in Washington can literally buy their way out of lawbreaking. Anyone who boldly impedes what would be this bipartisan travesty -- and a "hold" on an issue of this magnitude would, in the context of Senate customs, be very bold -- is someone who will have demonstrated genuine leadership on a truly critical issue. There has been precious little of that thus far in the presidential race.
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Amos Hochstein is the Policy Director for the Dodd Campaign. He can be reached at (202) 737-3633. It may be very helpful to have him hear from those who have appreciated Sen. Dodd's outspokenness thus far on constitutional issues to understand what Sen. Dodd's leadership on this issue here would mean. It is vital to have someone in the Senate take an emphatic stance against what would be the true atrocity of telecom amnesty (Atrios adds some insightful thoughts about the strategic rationale behind a Dodd hold).

Yeah, yeah, I'm committed to Edwards, and it's not really fair to compare him to Dodd on this one, since Dodd is right there in the Senate and Edwards is not, but I swear, if Dodd succeeds in stopping this abomination, his presidential campaign gets my Christmas Fund.

UPDATE, 2:50 p.m.: Senator Dodd has just successfully placed a hold on this disgusting piece of crap posing as legislation. Send the man some love!"

UPDATE II, 4:27 p.m.: Quote from Dodd: "It's about delivering results -- and as I've said before, the FIRST thing I will do after being sworn into office is restore the Constitution. But we shouldn't have to wait until then to prevent the further erosion of our country's most treasured document. That's why I am stopping this bill today."

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.