Mark Udall helps hold the Constitution down while Bush and his corporate buddies drive the bus over it

Yesterday we here in Colorado learned a little more about our Democratic candidate for Senate, Congressman Mark Udall. And what we learned wasn’t pretty. Udall, along with 104 other collaborationist Dems, voted in favor of Bush’s latest Constitution-gutting initiative, a FISA “compromise” that makes all our talk about freedom in the US ring even hollower than it did already.

Russ Feingold’s take on the sell-out is spot-on:

“The proposed FISA deal is not a compromise; it is a capitulation. The House and Senate should not be taking up this bill, which effectively guarantees immunity for telecom companies alleged to have participated in the President’s illegal program, and which fails to protect the privacy of law-abiding Americans at home. Allowing courts to review the question of immunity is meaningless when the same legislation essentially requires the court to grant immunity. And under this bill, the government can still sweep up and keep the international communications of innocent Americans in the U.S. with no connection to suspected terrorists, with very few safeguards to protect against abuse of this power. Instead of cutting bad deals on both FISA and funding for the war in Iraq, Democrats should be standing up to the flawed and dangerous policies of this administration.”

Chris Dodd agrees:

“As I have said time and time again, the President should not be above the rule of law, nor should the telecommunications companies who supported his quest to spy on American citizens. I remain strongly opposed to this deeply flawed bill, and I urge my colleagues in Congress to join me in supporting American’s civil liberties by rejecting this measure.”

Oddly, I’m not finding a comment on Udall’s Web site.

Am I a little hot? You betcha. Colorado already has its share of Vichy Democrats (faux-Dem Ken Salazar and his halfwit little brother John, for instance), and right now I’m sitting here asking myself what’s the practical difference between a corporatist Republican and a progressive who votes like one.

Maybe I’ll calm down. Maybe someone will convince me that there was a good, pragmatic reason to hurl the 4th Amendment under the bus. Maybe I’ll decide that it’s a bad idea to sit on my hands while the state elects Bob “Mt. McKinley” Schaffer just to send a pointed message – that we’re goddamned sick and tired of fake progressives who pussy out as soon as their seats on the gravy train are threatened by an opponent’s “weak on terrurists” schtick.

If you’re going to abridge the Constitution, you’re going to need a better reason than the ones you have now – protecting telecoms that knowingly and enthusiastically abetted an illegal spying program on American citizens and trying, I assume, to insulate yourself against electioneering charges that you’re a weak-on-security Boulder librul. Novel strategy there, Mark. Defending yourself against accusations that you’re a pansy by acting like a pansy.

Yes, Mark Udall, I just called you a pussy. I don’t know if you’re weak on terror or weak or defense, but you proved yesterday that you’re damned sure weak. And you were especially weak on freedom, an issue that a few of us registered voters do, in fact, still care about.

A few minutes ago I sent this note to Congressman Udall via his Web site.

Thanks to your support of George Bush’s assault on the Constitution today I’m now in search of a new candidate to support in the state’s Senatorial election. If you’re going to act like a Republican on the issues that matter to us the most, I’m going to treat you like one at the ballot box.

That’s not all I said. I promised to use whatever tools I had available to make my feelings about his gutlessness known, and you (and he) may consider this post my first shot. If you’re the sort who believes that no person or corporation is more important than our Constitutional guarantees of liberty – and in particular if you’re a Coloradan – I encourage you to click here and let him know.

12 replies »

  1. Good for you. I was pleased that my Rep. Betty Sutton was on the right side of this vote but I feel your fury over the others who caved.

  2. Defending yourself against accusations that you’re a pansy by acting like a pansy.

    Yes, exactly. Good luck on your campaign to derail his candidacy.


    an issue that a few of us registered voters do, in fact, still care about

    That’s the problem — a few, very few. As with torture, much of the public has no problem with wireless surveillance. Nor do they even know what we’re talking about when we say “telecom immunity.”

    Oh, and fantastic title for your post, Dr. S.

  3. He got my comments. I was probably more temperate than you were, though:

    Representative Udall,

    It was recently brought to my attention that you and over a hundred of my fellow Democrats in the House have voted to give President Bush the retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies that he’s been demanding for months. Retroactive immunity legalizes one of the most egregious assaults on our civil rights and the 4th Amendment in the history of the United States. Rep. Udall, your oath of office demands that you uphold the U.S. Constitution, and as far as I’m concerned, your vote in this matter means you are in breach of that oath and no longer worthy of being my Representative or my Senator.

    I understand that political expediency sometimes requires uncomfortable choices in the pursuit of an election victory. But abrogating your oath of office is well beyond political expediency in the pursuit of the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Allard.

    Unless you change your mind and renege your vote, I will find an independent candidate to vote for instead of either you or Schaffer.

  4. My congressman, Rep. John R. “Randy” Kuhl, R-NY, voted “yea” on the FISA bil. In a press release on his Web site he said:

    “Over the last 30 years changes in communication technology have occurred that have made the FISA of 1978 obsolete. This legislation passed today will provide the Intelligence Community with the tools it needs to collect the foreign intelligence necessary to protect our homeland.”

    Not a single word in his press release mentions the Fourth Amendment or contraventions of it allowed under this bill. Not a word, either, on the intercepting communications of American citizens. His entire press release focuses solely acquiring “intelligence” (note how he capitalized “Intelligence Community”) and protecting the telecoms. He cares not a whit about the erosion of the rights of citizens under the Bush administration and its congressional fellow travelers (many of whom, as Sam writers, are Democrats).

    There’s a whole bunch of Congress critters voters need to dump, and Rep. Kuhl leads my list.

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  6. if only there were more parties.. like someone mentioned in the comments, most people do not care. Torture, EXCELLENT example.. people should by out en masse demonstrating but not in this country..ladieda life goes on..
    so those are the voters that will pick either candidate and are easily (easier?) manipulated.. I think it’s a catch-22.. even when politicians would like to vote according to their conscious , they can’t risk losing an election and have ‘the other’ party take over. This system is pretty bad and pathetic for a democracy.. I know someone in another commentary section commented on my call for multiparty system as something that would never fly. Well, that most likely is so.. but until then.. you will have disappointments such as these as I consider those unavoidable in this ping pong (dem/rep) political play..
    no offense, as much as this is not considered a good bill, like torture, the people have to be a whole lot more active and take responsibility for equally failing this system..
    so no sympathy from me..

  7. At least there is one principled Udall in that family — Tom of New Mexico. He voted no on the bill because he believes in preserving the Constitution. Tom is leaving his seat in the House to run for the Senate seat being vacated by Pete Domenici. Send your money to Tom Udall.

  8. I find it laughable that our Russ Feingold would be labeled a flaming liberal by the Right, but Russ has been the sole senator consistently fighting for our constitutional rights. He was the sole vote against the “Patriot” Act, calling for more time to address the unconstitutional aspects of that bill. Feingold needs to replace the milquetoast Harry Reid as Senate Majority leader.

  9. Not to put too fine a point on it, but Since the 06 Election, what real changes have there been to the policies of the US government? Since the Democrats were elected, have we seen any policies that could not be blocked by the Republicans? Oh, the Farm Bill, that reinforced the fat cat agribusiness tax breaks, and closed the Enron Loophole for oil speculation? (Someone will need to tell Candidate Obama about that, I think he is under the impression that it is still open) I can’t think of anything constructive that has been done by the current crop. I’d love to hear of some though. Seems to me that all the politicians are about the status quo for them and not about doing the jobs that they swore an oath to do. Just my .02 cents worth.