Let me start by noting that I no longer work for Senator Chris Dodd, and I write here at the behest of absolutely no one other than myself -- Tim
Organizing online against retroactive immunity taught me a lot about the way the Senate works, it's norms and customs, and how fallout happens.
For example, I learned that the weapon of choice for those who wished to enable the passage of retroactive immunity was not to make a forceful case on its behalf ... but abusing and using parliamentary procedure. We saw staffers participate in disinformation campaigns about parliamentary procedure to keep bloggers confused and silent about the process (bloggers, the only ones really covering the debate). And we saw that retroactive immunity was only stalled because Senator Dodd objected to and then used all the parliamentary tactics at his disposal to prolong the debate to a point it would have threatened the Christmas recess.
And today, we learn that Senate justice for rocking the boat is meted out by anonymous aides on the pages of "Roll Call" (subscription)
Democrats said the FISA fight - which could come in the first week or two of the new session - may be an early test of whether Dodd's presidential campaign has caused any significant strains in his relationships with colleagues.
One senior Democratic aide said that while some Democrats could have been irked in the heat of the moment, most understand it is the nature of presidential campaigning for candidates to tackle hot-button issues and to rely heavily on veteran staff for day-to-day work in the Senate.
"I think it's too early to say" whether there are any hard feelings, the Democratic aide said. "But I think you could term it as a key few months for him" in terms of his reintegration into the Caucus. "It will be interesting to watch when he returns," the aide said.
Get back in line, Chris Dodd, and you can be my distinguished colleague from Connecticut again.
During the campaign I saw a lot of talk about "Chris Dodd for Majority Leader." But while his leadership may have inspired that kind of talk, it's the very reason such a promotion would be a real long shot should he ever happen to seek the post again.
Many of his colleagues in the Democratic caucus do not like what he is doing, they don't want him to continue, and as evidenced by the article linked above, they are pressuring him to stop.
This, friends, is our caucus.
And it's also why I don't place the blame for inaction solely at the feet of Harry Reid, who could have used parliamentary procedure to make it more difficult to pass a bad FISA bill.
Harry Reid did a fine job in round one of the FISA fight. Maybe even a perfect job, if you consider that his job as Majority Leader is to make his "constituents" happy -- in this case, those constituents are a weak-kneed caucus afraid to protect the Constitution for fear they will see their vote in a 30 second advertisement.
To officially turn this post into a full-on ramble, this is why primary campaigns are so important. So we can disabuse ourself of the notion that protecting the Constitution and voting to end the war is something to fear in an election, rather than something that will enable us to elect a greater majority.
Darcy Burner put it best, the kind of nonsense evidenced throughout the FISA debate and furthered in the above Roll Call piece ends when we elect "more and better Democrats."