Saturday, August 04, 2007


Like most voters in Our Fair State, I didn't declare a party when I registered to vote. I remained an independent until recently, when I finally declared as a Democrat to vote in a primary.

Right now, I'm so embarrased that I ever did that; I don't want to be called a Democrat. Not when they pull shit like this:

Senate Democrats reluctantly agreed to pass a bill Friday night that would update the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, known as FISA. The House planned to consider the measure Saturday after rejecting a Democratic alternative.
Bush is demanding passage before Congress' planned summer vacation, scheduled to begin this weekend.
The president praised senators for acting "to give our intelligence professionals the legal tools and authority they need to keep America safe. I appreciate the hard work they did to find common ground to pass this critical bill. Today, the House of Representatives has an opportunity to consider that bill, pass it and send it to me for my signature."

Bush said I want it passed before vacation, and the Senate Democrats rolled over and said, well, ok, if we must, but we'll do it reluctantly. I guess that makes it better, huh?

The Senate Bill requires:
Initial approval by Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
FISA court review within 120 days. The final Democratic plan had called for court review to begin immediately and concluded within a month after the surveillance started.
The law to expire in six months to give Congress time to craft a more comprehensive plan.

So, in other words, Bush gets his blank check on eavesdropping for six months of his remaining seventeen in office.

On the good side, some Democrats weren't cowering:

Before the vote, Democrats excoriated the GOP plan, which Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-West Virginia, said "provides a weak and practically nonexistent court review."
Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wisconsin, angrily chastised his colleagues for bending to the administration's will.
"The day we start deferring to someone who's not a member of this body ... is a sad day for the U.S. Senate," Feingold said. "We make the policy -- not the executive branch."
Likewise, civil liberties advocates said they were outraged that Democratic-led Senate would side with the White House.
"We're hugely disappointed with the Democrats," said Caroline Fredrickson, legislative director for the American Civil Liberties Union. "The idea they let themselves be manipulated into accepting the White House proposal, certainly taking a great deal of it, when they're in control -- it's mind-boggling."

Mind-boggling, indeed. I was hoping to hold on so I could vote in the presidential primary, but I don't know how long I can stay a Democrat, if I have to hold my nose every time I say it.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

NJ Senators Lautenberg and Menendez both voted nay. I'd heard this on the day of the vote, but could find no confirmation at the time, but I checked back and the roll call is not posted. At least the NJ democrats did the right thing.