Push the Candidates To Fight Telecom Immunity

Glen Greenwald over at Salon and Jane Hamsher and the folks over at FDL are trying to push all of the presidential candidates to take a public stand, and a leadership position, on the upcoming telecom immunity question. See here:

http://firedoglake.com/2008/01…

and here: http://www.salon.com/opinion/g…

Glen, about the attempt to immunize the telecoms for their illegal spying and violation of fundamental rights, says:

  As always, conventional media wisdom is that Democrats will be harmed politically if they don’t capitulate to the Big, Strong, Tough Republicans on all matters relating to national security (even though the efficacy of that fear-mongering tactic was empirically disproven in 2006). But isn’t it painfully evident that a far greater liability for Democrats at this point than being “soft on terrorism” is their refusal and failure to demonstrate that they will take a stand — any stand — against this extremely weakened President and his discredited political party, and therefore prove they stand for something?

   The only way for there to be any prospect of impeding Bush’s most extreme demands for vast warrantless eavesdropping powers and immunity for lawbreaking telecoms is for the presidential candidates — Obama, Edwards and Clinton — to demonstrate (rather than speak about) real “leadership” and take a stand in support of Chris Dodd and his imminent filibuster. There will be campaigns beginning this week to persuade and pressure them to do so — I will be posting extensively about them here. Any efforts to stop warrantless eavesdropping and telecom immunity is almost certain to fail without the active support of the presidential candidates, who these days have a virtual monopoly on the ability to set agendas and shape media attention.

Jane says:

  John Edwards should challenge his rivals Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to go back to Washington, DC and fight against retroactive immunity for the telecoms.

   The Republicans are not going to let Reid punt and extend the Protect America Act for another 18 months so it looks like the FISA bill is going to come back up again on Monday. Chris Dodd’s objection to Unanimous Consent still stands, so they will pick up in the middle of the Motion to Proceed debate.

   Glenn Greenwald:

 

       It will be increasingly difficult to listen to Edwards, Obama and Clinton tout their supreme leadership attributes and their commitment to “changing the way Washington works” if they choose to sit by, more or less mute, and allow such a blatant and corrupt evisceration of the rule of law — and such a vast and permanent expansion of the limitless surveillance state — to occur without a fight. Any one of them, or all three, has a unique opportunity to actually demonstrate with actions, rather than pretty speeches, their commitment to the principles they claim to espouse.

   John Edwards is the perfect person to lead with this message. Such an action would illustrate his genuine commitment to change and fighting vested interests in Washington, and hopefully it will channel that intense anti-immunity passion toward his campaign. He won’t be able to participate in the filibuster himself, but by offering to leave the campaign trail and go back to DC with Clinton and Obama he’ll be able to show leadership in challenging all Democrats to put thoughts of personal gain aside and join together in the fight to save the constitution.

   Without the help of the presidential candidates, we are doomed to lose this fight. And all their calls for change will ring hollow if they allow George Bush to railroad this bill through a supine Democratic-controlled Senate because of their absence.

Jane has posted an email address where you may be able to contact the Edwards campaign:  john@johnedwards.com  Here is a link for contacts for other senator presidential candidates:  http://act.credomobile.com/…

She also has a link to a place where you can get updates on how to help this vital project:  http://action.firedoglake.com/…