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Dear Senators Obama and Clinton: No Excuses This Time

Update: Emptywheel — "[A]ny immunity is immunity for those who decided it was a swell idea to illegally wiretap Americans. And that list of people begins with Dick Cheney."

It’s looking like the FISA battle could start as early as tonight, but Senate staff are preparing for tomorrow. Which means Chris Dodd will start his filibuster, and both of you will have plenty of time to get back to Capital Hill to help.

Look, Senators. It’s not like nobody cares — polling shows that voters overwhelmingly oppose immunity for telecom companies (PDF), and Credo’s action to contact your respective campaigns took down the Obama email servers.

Your actions last time this came up were really unimpressive. Senator Obama gave a supporting statement but did one of his patented vote skips, and Senator Clinton just ignored the entire episode. Considering that you, Senator Clinton, are the number one Senate recipient of telecom donations, the fact that you have been a day late and a dollar short on this issue does not augur well for your claims at Yearly Kos that you will not be influenced by your campaign contributors (YouTube).

When Chris Dodd goes forward with his filibuster (and he will), you’ll probably have 30-60 hours to get back to DC. That gives you plenty of time. Events get cancelled all the time — there is no excuse not to be in Washington DC for this event, and to do so is to avoid leadership.

Glenn Greenwald quotes your Fearless Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on FISA, and please consider it Exhibit A as to why the public hates Democrats in Congress and thinks they’re completely useless:

I]f people think they are going to talk this to death, we are going to be in here all night. This is not something we are going to have a silent filibuster on. If someone wants to filibuster this bill, they are going to do it in the openness of the Senate.

As Glenn notes:

That is what Democrats have been urging Reid to do to the filibustering Republicans all year — in order to dramatize their obstructionism — but he has refused to make them actually filibuster anything, generously agreeing instead that every bill requires 60 votes. Instead, he reserves such punishment only for the members of his own caucus trying to take a stand for the rule of law and the Constitution, those who are trying finally to bring some accountability to this administration.

(Read the disgusting exchange between Reid and McConnell in Glenn’s article for a stomach churning example of how to make the public loathe you. Pretty textbook stuff.)

Look, you two came back for the farm bill. Our readers are already stocking up on popcorn, and once Dodd takes to the floor we’ll be watching things on CSPAN round the clock until it finishes. I think people will notice if you try to do a Pasadena on this one again, and all of the rhetoric you have both been spouting about "change" and standing up to the Bush Administration will be reduced to instant horseshit.

Please get back to DC and do your jobs.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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