There’s been a flurry of writing on the internet in the past day as word spreads of Senator Christopher Dodd‘s gutsy move to place a hold on the FISA Amendments Act of 2007. If his hold doesn’t hold, Senator Dodd promises to take the next step and filibuster the bill rather than let it pass without robust debate and revision. Here are a few excerpts, starting with Chris Dodd himself.
Amnesty for telecoms? Why? Do I get amnesty if I speed and get caught? Do I get amnesty if donâ€™t pay my taxes? I know the rules just as the telecom companies did. Why in the world would Harry Reid even consider give amnesty to telecom companiesâ€¦unless, he has sold out? Unless the telecoms have generously given moolah to his piggy bank. Iâ€™m very disappointed in Harry Reid and Senator Jay Rockefeller, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
As I mentioned yesterday, Senator Dodd is trying to stand up and squash this love affair between some senators and the telecom companies. Senator Dodd has placed a hold on the bill. (Remember that any senator can place a hold on any bill for any reason.) Senator Harry Reid is going to ignore the hold. Senator Dodd has raised the stakes by stating the he will filibuster the bill if necessary.
I want you to take a look at something.
The graph shows AT&T employee contributions to Senate Intelligence Committee chair Jay Rockefeller over the past several years. There weren’t enough of them to fill out the graph until he got the chairman’s gavel in early 2007. Then for some unexplained reason, the contributions skyrocketed. Same with Verizon.
…Telecoms have an enormous about of money that they’re using to buy off politicians and force open a new revenue stream. And like so many other industries, they’re trying real hard to buy off Democrats now at the expense of meaningful progressive legislation. The corporations see which way the wind is blowing.
The endless amounts of money in politics is among the most corrosive aspects of our current political culture, but it’s nothing new, nothing that hasn’t been tried since virtually the beginnings of the American experiment. What’s really troubling is how easy it is now to buy off these Congressmen, who are already predisposed to maintain an establishment status quo that is about pleasing elites and staying in the good graces of those who hold the cocktail parties.
Which is why we must embrace the real leadership we get from folks like Chris Dodd, public servants who actually have the public interest at heart. Over the last 24 hours Dodd has received $150,000 in small-dollar donations. I say we go for a million. We must reward the good behavior of those who take the initiative to lead.
At this point, I don’t see how a registered Democrat can vote for anyone other than Chris Dodd in the primaries. And if he filibusters? Shit, I might erect a statue to the dude in my front yard.