Today, Denator Chris Dodd threatened to filibuster the FISA legislation which included retroactive immunity for telecoms that capitulated to Bush pressure to break the law and spy on individuals.
His effort paid off. The bill was tabled until at least Jan 15, 2008, when the senate reconvenes after the winter break.
Dodd was the only senator among those running in the Dem primaries to return to Washington D.C. to oppose the bill. Hillary Clinton, Barrack Obama and Joe Biden remained in Iowa.
Interestingly, President Bush threatened to veto any FISA bill that did not include retroactive telecom immunity, saying that the FISA bill was essential to saving American lives.
Senator Ted Kennedy commented, "So if we take the president at his word, he's willing to let Americans die to protect the phone companies." Kennedy continued, angrily, "The president's insistence on immunity as a precondition for any FISA reform is yet another example of disrespect for honest dialogue and the rule of law."
Dodd says that if an attempt is made to continue to include the telecom immunity in the FISA bill, he'll filibuster then.
Recent history though-- the track record of the invertebrate 110th, Democrat led congress-- suggests that his efforts will fail, that the Dems will sell out the constitution for an extra few billion in spending on some pet projects. Maybe they'll trade the future of Americans' right to privacy for bragging rights that they actually passed a bill, possibly even persuaded Bush not to veto a bill he'd threatened to veto. But that's not likely. Bush has learned that the Dems don't have the guts to stand up. They cave.
Then again Chris Dodd took a Dem babystep today. Maybe it's a new beginning. Maybe Dodd has set an example and shown the Dems that they too can wield the filibuster. They too can say no. They can stand up and face the republicans, face the threat of sliming criticism by the right wing and the their sycophant media echo chamber. Maybe.