Dodd, Blogosphere Wins On Retroactive Telecom Immunity

by: Chris Bowers

Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 15:07


In what is surely the biggest legislative victory for the blogosphere ever, it now seems that there won't be any new FISA bill as long as Bush is in office. Check out the Wall Street Journal's whining:

Senator Chris Dodd's Presidential campaign died with a whimper in Iowa. But he still seems to be dictating national security policy to fellow Democrats on Capitol Hill, and unless the Bush Administration is willing to fight, perhaps to the next President too.

We're told that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is saying privately he now won't attempt to update the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) on the wiretapping of al Qaeda suspects. Instead, he'll merely support another 18-month extension of the six-month-old Protect America Act. Among other problems, the temporary bill includes no retroactive immunity for the telecom companies that cooperated with the feds after 9/11.

Well done, Senator Dodd. This shows, once again, that it does not take many validating voices or actions in order for our campaigns to make a difference in the national discourse, or on Capitol Hill. Dodd took up our call to filibuster retroactive telecom immunity, and now the FISA bill is dead because of it. We saw much the same thing with Bill Richardson and residual forces. Once we worked together with a high-profile Democrat, we were able to change the debate on Iraq in the Democratic primary. Maxine Waters did much of the same thing on the Ned Lamont campaign back in 2006, and Russ Feingold did the same on a timetable for Iraq in 2005. Just one or two high-profile, validating voices can allow a blogosphere charged campaign enough credibility to be taken seriously on a national level.

It is satisfying to read the Wall Street Journal crying over this. It is empowering to see one of our campaigns succeed. It is satisfying to answer all of those emails I received back in August about how the progressive blogosphere supposedly dropped the ball on FISA, and was instead hob-nobbing with high-profile Democrats at Yearly Kos. With clear campaign goals, a couple of validating voices, and excellent staff working as liaisons between the blogosphere and the validating voices, we can really make a difference in American politics. Let me also give a special shout-out to Tim Tagaris and Matt Browner Hamlin who worked on Dodd's Internet team. Without them, a victory like this simply may not have been possible.

Update: The ACLU is fighting for no extension at all. That would be an even bigger victory, if successful. More updates on their campaign when I have them. At the least, this is a victory on telecom immunity.

Chris Bowers :: Dodd, Blogosphere Wins On Retroactive Telecom Immunity

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It's not a victory (0.00 / 0)
unless and until we can kill it entirely. If nothing passes it reverts back to the original FISA law which is MUCH better at protecting our rights than the stupid Protect America Act which was poorly written and flaunts the Constitutional protections that we deserve regarding privacy and freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures.

Here's hoping we can stick a fork in it.

and BIG thanks go to Chris Dodd. Of the candidates holding down an office, he seemed to be the only one paying any attention to doing the job he was elected to do.


no thanks (0.00 / 0)
to Obama or Hillary, or Edwards for that matter, none of whom used their pulpit power to say a word.

Michael Bloomberg, prince of corporate welfare

Harry Reid's a gutless piece of crap, a shameless pimp for the Regime. (0.00 / 0)
18 months? WTF is the pusilanimous piece of crap DOING? That moves it almost into the next campaign year, 2010, and gives the militant extremists a 'homelaznd security'campaign issue. I say don't renew it at all. FISA's still on the books, iirc.

Whaddaya spoze'd happpen to Harry if he fails to deliver for his bosses on this? Nuthin'd break my heart.


'Mission accomplished'? Er, no (0.00 / 0)
I don't know what a Nexis search on this would reveal.

But - this from the WSJ is the most thinly sourced piece of journalism (if that's what it is) that you could wish to see.

Not a hint of a whisper of an on-the-record source. Not even a blind quote in quote marks.

And we're told is pretty much Hedda Hopper-grade.

So, calling it

the biggest legislative victory for the blogosphere ever

is just a tad insane.

Even stipulating to the truth of what the piece says Harry's intentions are on FISA doesn't get you very far.

The basic question with both FISA and Iraq is, Will the Dem leaderships confront Bush or not?

No sign that the answer will be different next time on either subject.

And now we have the prospect of a presumptive prez nom emerging in the next few weeks, whose views will need to be taken into account.

My guess: whoever it is won't want their campaign battling for headlines with a Capitol/WH prize fight.


Congrats, blogosphere (n/t) (0.00 / 0)


Banned for posting five straight diaries.

Let's not stop here! (0.00 / 0)
No extension is the best extension.

Amazing how standards change (0.00 / 0)
It doesn't seem so long ago that I was in Chicago surrounded by outraged progressive bloggers as this went through in the first place.  Now continuing it is the greatest blogosphere legislative victory.

I think it was that same day that I attended a session about the Overton Window. Hm.

John McCain opposes the GI Bill.


this is huge (0.00 / 0)
There's a saying in Congress about having to kill, kill, kill until it's dead, dead, dead.  So vigilance will be required.  But it is a big win nonetheless.  I would love to hear the background on how it all went down.  There are a ton of  variables here and it would be good to know how they were weighted in Reid's decision to delay and in Dodd's to filibuster at all.  I'm all for crediting the netroots since I was using his blog and my own to tell him to derail  Levin-Reed with a filibuster since September.  He went with FISA instead. 

I hope that the among the lessons learned is not only that constituent voices matter, but also that individual Senators have power if they choose to use it and that they can count on support from the ground when they do.  It would be great is someone would wake up to the idea of closing Daou's Triangle too.  This would be a good issue for that to happen around.

Updating on the ACLU case is important.  Kill, kill, kill, dead, dead, dead.


Were you hob-nobbing at Yearly Kos? (0.00 / 0)
Because the way I recall Yearly Kos, it was the where my perception that Dodd's netroots outreach was qualitatively different from everyone else's was cemented.

That we later came to realize that Dodd could be a natural ally in the FISA fight was, to me, an outgrowth of our interaction with him at Yearly Kos.


What? (0.00 / 0)
But I heard that Senator Dodd was only taking on this issue to give visibility to his campaign, and once that was over he would obviously forget about it.  Wha--what's going on???

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