Crime/Corruption

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid hates America and freedom

harryreid.jpg

By Martin Bosworth

Hyperbolic? Perhaps. But that’s the only conclusion I could come to after reading this morning that Reid is planning an end-run around Chris Dodd’s threat to filibuster any FISA legislation that contains immunity for telecom companies that participated in the NSA spying program. Glenn Greenwald, as always, has all the nasty details. More from Lambert at Correntewire and Matt Stoller.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted about this, so here’s a reminder of why preventing telecom immunity is important. And Chris Dodd’s campaign has tips on what you can do to support the filibuster.

I used to support Harry Reid during the darkest days of GOP domination of Congress in the Bush era. He demonstrated gumption and courage when necessary. I don’t know what happened to that man, but this guy is no friend to progressives, the Constitution, or his own party.

In one fell swoop, he is enabling the Republican party agenda of protection for corporate malfeasance, dispiriting and disenchanting the Democratic activist base, and cementing the image in the minds of the public that the Democrats are weak, cowardly pussies who won’t fight for principle even when they can win at it. Nice work if you can get it.

We need better laws, better Democrats, and real progressives in Congress. Harry Reid has shepherded too many unnecessary compromises that tar his party and make those of us who backed him look like fools. He, just like Bush and company, needs to go.

Upon taking the Senate floor to discuss the FISA reauthorization, Reid said “I’ll guarantee you right now, one thing that’s going to occur: not everyone will be happy. People have the obligation to do what they think is right.” Well, Harry, you’re right. We’re NOT happy, and we ARE going to do what we think is right. And that means getting you bounced out of your cushy Majority Leadership position and right out the doors of the Senate chamber.

14 replies »

  1. While I find this FISA move very disppointing too, Martin, and I cannot find a good reason for failing to honor Dodd’s hold, I disagree strongly about Reid’s effectiveness overall. Reid has a one-vote majority, so he cannot afford to lose even one senator’s vote–Joe Lieberman’s, for instance–or he’s in the minority, since Cheney can break tie votes. But in fact he really is effectively in the minority anyway, because Senate rules require 60 votes to do anything in the real world. (And no, insisting on a real filibuster would be unlikely to change anything except stop all Senate business cold. See Kevin Drum here.) And then there’s the veto, which means that just 34 senators and W can stop anything.

    Under these ridiculous institutional constraints, Reid is a genius for accomplishing the very little he has been able to accomplish. He passed an Iraq bill that included a withdrawal requirement, and Bush vetoed it. He passed S-CHIP twice, and Bush vetoed it. He came within one vote (got 59!) of passing an energy bill with teeth.

    So let’s elect a Democratic president and nine more Democratic senators. Then let’s work to change a few of the antidemocratic institutional constraints. Then let’s see what Harry Reid can accomplish.

    In the meantime, piling on Reid seems like engaging in a circular firing squad. He is not the enemy.

  2. From a purely pragmatic standpoint, one huge difference between the two parties is that the Republicans are all on the same side.

    When you have Army A shooting at Army B and Army B also shooting at Army B, it’s not hard to know who to bet on.

  3. Robert,
    I must say I disagree about electing a Dem Pres and 9 more Dem senators. I hated the idea of the Republicans having a lock on both houses and the Presidency even though I am a Republican. I would feel the same way about the Democrats, or anyone else having such a Lock. I personally believe we need a separation of control as a balance of power so no one ideology gets a free run. We saw what a bad idea that was in Bush’s first term and we don’t need any more of that type of crap. And don’t say the Democrats won’t run rough-shod over the US public if given the same chance because I wouldn’t believe you. “Total power corrupts totally” just look at Rome and the Catholic Church if you disagree.

  4. Oh yeah! When the repugs controlled congress, i.e. when it made no difference, he talked a good talk, but now, when fighting back might have an effect, he obstructs real resistance. Typical Democrat. Wake up! It’s two corporate parties and they cooperate to advance the corperate agenda. “But voting Green just wastes your vote.” That thinking got you a Democratic majority…big diff

  5. Rho, I’m a Democrat, but normally I’d agree with you about a balance of powers. But now is not “normally”, and the Republicans have been only having one agenda, disrupt anything the Democrats do to make them look ineffective, and follow the Republican leadership to enrich the global corporations. They have done so much damage over the past twelve years that there needs to be a strong democratic majority EVERYWHERE to start to correct the damage. But don’t worry, when the consequences of the Bush/Cheney/Rove regime come to fruition, Democrats will be in charge. And they will be blamed, and the Republicans will come back to rape and pillage some more.

  6. Pamela,
    While I agree that the right wing fanatics who currently hold sway in my party may fit with you “rape and pillage” diatribe I don’t believe it is fair to categorize all republicans as evil any more than it would be right to look at Reid and so declare all democrats incompetent. I believe there are a number of repugnicans and democraps out there but then there are some of us in each party who have some sense and deserve to respectfully referred to as republicans and democrats.

  7. While Harry may need 60 votes to pass any legislation, that does not have any relation to actually pushing through this Bush-desired excrement of a law pardoning domestic spying upon us.

    That he is actively trying to thwart Dodd says it all about re-electing ANY Democrats or Republicans.

  8. I’m not sure what to make of Congress’s recent actions.I’m posting an Op-Ed this morning that demonstrates the House DID NOT pass S.1959/HR1955 with an overwhelming majority of 404-6; there were at least 23 members of the House who were not present and didn’t even know about the Bill in question. Something is amiss in Congress, in the House and Senate. We know that Pelosi “took impeachment off the table” because it turns out that she knew about the torture – yet kept her mouth shut even though she knew the US was breaking our own laws as well as International law.

    There are too many instances of Bush getting his way, and democrats placing the blame on Republicans, where to me it seems like many Democrats are speaking out of both sides of their mouthes; we need an investigation as to why even the so-called “votes” are not actually accurate – and we need to know why!

    William Cormier

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