Yet Another Reason To Call For Reid’s Ouster

I remember being filled with hope when the Democrats won back congress.  I remember understanding that there would be battles lost, and that change might be too lofty an aspiration to hope for, but at least a slowing of the status quo would surely be on its way.  At least the Democratic party that killed George W. Bush’s horrendous attempt at privatizing Social Security would be able to take that fighting spirit to other aspects of this criminal administration.

If they couldn’t actually restore the constitution, at the very least they could slow or even stop the outright raping of it by Bush and his Republican allies in congress.  How woefully wrong was I?

Since ascending to Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid has proven there is no fight he is not willing to back down from, no motion from the administration for which he would not roll over and bare his belly.  In fact, Reid and Speaker Pelosi have only reinforced their role as congressional Keystone Kops, always brandishing their billy clubs and gnashing their teeth, but in the end always outfoxed and outdone by their masked rivals on the other side of the aisle.

Today we see yet another reason why Harry Reid is so terribly unfit to serve as the Senate Majority leader.

On the Senate floor, Senator Chris Dodd spoke passionately and eloquently about his convictions regarding the FISA bill which would grant retroactive immunity to telecommunication companies that were complicit in the Bush administration’s illegal spying on American citizens.  Indeed, as Dodd refuses to believe the president when he says, “trust me,” I find myself not only in agreement with him, but directing that same sentiment to the Democratic leadership as well as those who voted for cloture such as Chuck Schumer and Diane Feinstein.

But I particularly fault Harry Reid who seems to have either duped TPMmuckraker’s Spencer Ackerman, or else I’m losing the sarcasm built in to the following paragraph:

One Senator who read those documents, Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), has already said in a recent speech that the legal basis for the program spelled out in the documents made him “increasingly dismayed and amazed.” They amount, in Whitehouse’s view, to a legal doctrine for presidential lawbreaking. Maybe Reid, who’s said he opposes retroactive immunity, is pushing a gambit to kill the telecom immunity provisions of the surveillance bill through the disinfecting power of sunlight.

Unfortunately, if Spencer’s being serious, I can’t agree.  Not with Reid’s track record of late.  Aside from folding on every important fight that has come his way, Glenn Greenwald points out that Reid has shown he plays favorites, just for the wrong side.

After letting Republican holds fly by unchallenged, Greenwald says of Reid’s dismantling of Chris Dodd’s hold on the FISA bill:

Isn’t it just amazing? Reid is using every power he has, including some which run directly contrary to how the Senate has traditionally operated (and how it still operates when it comes to GOP prerogatives), to ensure that one of the most glaring scandals involving Bush lawbreaking — warrantless surveillance on U.S. citizens — is never investigated and there is never any accountability for it. And the methods he is using to accomplish that are as corrupt as the results themselves.

In the comments to a post at Protein Wisdom in which I was quoted, a commentor takes the opportunity to assail me and by proxy all other democrats for being unprincipled.

It’s good to see Clinton’s shameless dishonesty shown the light of day, but Moore still plays to the usual crowd, and to that intentional abstract of liberal politics, the absence of meaning and principle. Note the internal tension between not wanting a friend as a President, just a friendly President. And Democrat “issues” bending to a Democrat’s feelings on feathery translucency and this National Dialog. Like one selects a church or a marriage therapist.

Of course I bristled.  For me, my engagement in politics is guided by principle.  It is a principle of mine that we should follow the constitution, and respect the citizenry’s right to privacy.  I take a principled zero tolerance stance on torture, as well as abhor the death penalty for not merely logically constructed reasons, but also out of my own system of morality.

Chris Dodd’s attempt to put a hold on, and then filibuster the FISA bill are, to me, dripping with principle.  It was the right thing to do.  However, I guess I can see the outsider’s point that Democrats are unprincipled when you have Harry Reid attempting to pull the carpet out from under Dodd every step of the way.

I’m beginning to wonder as to Reid’s principles myself.

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