Friday, October 19, 2007

Mr. Dodd Goes To Washington

The "serious" pundits and "very serious" politicians of both parties, as Duncan ("Atrios") Black says, have created in Washington D.C. "a deeply sick political culture in a deeply corrupt and deeply sick city, composed of people who have turned their backs on everything most of us grew imagining this country stood for... ."

What Duncan is talking about is this:
Senate Democrats and Republicans reached agreement with the Bush administration yesterday on the terms of new legislation to control the federal government's domestic surveillance program, which includes a highly controversial grant of legal immunity to telecommunications companies that have assisted the program, according to congressional sources.

. . . It was a victory for President Bush, whose aides lobbied heavily against the Democrats' [House] bill... . The draft Senate bill has the support of the intelligence committee's chairman, John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), and Bush's director of national intelligence, Mike McConnell. It will include full immunity for those companies that can demonstrate to a court that they acted pursuant to a legal directive in helping the government with surveillance in the United States.

Among others who are oh-so-eager to certify after the fact that it's OK for telecom giants to spy on any and all Americans, simply because we have a president who ignores the Constitution and he asked them to, are three prominent Democrats: Jay Rockefeller (D-Verizon)' Harry Reid (D-AT&T), and Diane Feinstein (D-Hubby's War Contracts). Only Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) voted against the bill.

Luckily, Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) is doing what every office holder has sworn to do: defend the Constitution and uphold the law. First, he announced he has put a "hold" on the legislation. When it looked today like Reid might try to get around that and bring the bill to a vote anyway, Dodd promised a filibuster.

Not one of those phony filibusters, where the spineless old farts in Washington just pretend -- a "lazy man's filibuster," as conservative columnist Kate O'Beirne once put it. No, he's talking about a real, down home, honest-to-goodness, Old Tyme filibuster on the order of Jimmy Stewart's "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington."

If we remember the movie correctly, Mr. Smith stands his ground alone and speaks his mind amid the derision of fatuous Senate colleagues for days and days. At last, weariness and fatigue almost overcome him. Just as he is about to collapse, he is reenergized by ranks of postal workers marching onto the Senate floor carrying countless bags of encouraging letters from ordinary citizens across the country. They'd been watching, they'd been listening. They'd made up their minds: Mr. Smith, they realized, was the only politician left in America who deserved their support.

On his record and credentials, Chris Dodd well may be the best qualified Democratic candidate in the field. But conventional wisdom says he doesn't have a chance. CW says even if he were to pull off a "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington," it's unlikely he could fire the imagination of the electorate. They'll be too busy watching TV "reality" shows to notice.

Still, there's just that little sliver of a chance..... about the same sliver Jimmy Stewart's character had. Ask Mr. Dodd to "go to Washington" for you. Here's where you can send him your own letter of encouragement:
Chris Dodd for President '08

No comments: