Sunday, June 22, 2008

FISA and The Democrats

I am a loyal and committed Democrat. However, my first loyalty is to our Constitution. Unquestionably, the Democratic Party's capitulation to the Bush Administration with respect to the FISA protocol is a disgrace. My favorite Democrat, Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold issued the following statement about it on June 19th:
“The proposed FISA deal is not a compromise; it is a capitulation. The House and Senate should not be taking up this bill, which effectively guarantees immunity for telecom companies alleged to have participated in the President’s illegal program, and which fails to protect the privacy of law-abiding Americans at home. Allowing courts to review the question of immunity is meaningless when the same legislation essentially requires the court to grant immunity. And under this bill, the government can still sweep up and keep the international communications of innocent Americans in the U.S. with no connection to suspected terrorists, with very few safeguards to protect against abuse of this power. Instead of cutting bad deals on both FISA and funding for the war in Iraq, Democrats should be standing up to the flawed and dangerous policies of this administration.”
Refer to the YouTube video below for another scathing perspective from George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley.

Note how Turley describes the capitulation as a form of immunity for the Democratic Party's leadership which looked the other way during the worst of the Bush Administration's civil liberty abuses in recent years. While I support the Democratic Party, their current generation of leadership is an abysmal failure and needs to be jettisoned forthwith. In the meantime, we must pressure the party leadership as much as possible to move in a more civil libertarian direction. Click here to contact your representative in the House and here to lobby your Senators. This is important.


upinVermont said...

Hey Rob,

I'm glad you picked up on this. I just can't fathom how the Democrats could rationalize their vote for this, although they have always been known, nominally, as the party of big government. Now that the Republicans have joined them in the big government cause, who is left to protect America from its politicians?

The Republicans have even less of an excuse (and have always had less of an excuse). Not one of them can justifiably call themselves a conservative - I've taken to referring to them as either Conservatistas or Conservamentalists. I think we can blame this vote on the Conservatistas, willing to do anything for the party and the supreme leader.

But they're not conservatives. While they whine about Supreme Court Justices who are not "constructionists", in the sense that they strictly adhere to the letter of the Constitution, they themselves all but burn it in effigy with votes like these. Shame of them.

And the Democrasts. Christ, who do I vote for if the Democrats are going to behave this way?

I see that Peter Welch, my man from Vermont, has spoken forcefully against this bill. Thank god I live in the Democratic Republic of Vermont.


upinVermont said...

[My letter to Peter Welch.]

Dear Mr Welch,

As concerns the FISA BIll, if these are words:

"The American people deserve to know exactly what happened and they deserve to know who is accountable. This bill fails that test."

...then I thank you for them.

The Democratic Party's otherwise shameful capitulation infuriates me. However, I am generally impressed by your voting record and hope that doesn't change. I voted for you the first time and hope to do so again.

I have to say, though, that my ire with the Democrats is exponential. The Republicans have fully abrogated their roles as conservatives - a party that acts, prudently, that acts in the interest of the Constitution, and that acts to limit government intrusion. They have become a Republican Party Politburo. And the Democrats, meanwhile, appear too unprincipled to fill the vacuum.

If you decide to declare yourself an Independent, you would have my continued support. I might even consider contributing to you next campaign. (The Democrats won't get one cent from me until they grow a spine.) I understand that you are only one person, and that there are expedient reasons for remaining a "Democrat", but one man can send a message - especially a Vermonter.