Harry Reid -- who has (a) done more than any other individual to ensure that Bush's demands for telecom immunity and warrantless eavesdropping powers will be met in full and (b) allowed the Republicans all year to block virtually every bill without having to bother to actually filibuster -- went to the Senate floor yesterday and, with the scripted assistance of Mitch McConnell and Pat Leahy, warned Chris Dodd, Russ Feingold and others that they would be selfishly wreaking havoc on the schedules of their fellow Senators (making them work over the weekend, ruining their planned "retreat," and even preventing them from going to Davos!) if they bothered everyone with their annoying, pointless little filibuster.
To do so, Reid announced that, unlike for the multiple filibusters from Republican colleagues, he would actually force Dodd and company to engage in a real filibuster. This is what Reid said:
[I]f people think they are going to talk this to death, we are going to be in here all night. This is not something we are going to have a silent filibuster on. If someone wants to filibuster this bill, they are going to do it in the openness of the Senate.
That is what Democrats have been urging Reid to do to the filibustering Republicans all year -- in order to dramatize their obstructionism -- but he has refused to make them actually filibuster anything, generously agreeing instead that every bill requires 60 votes. Instead, he reserves such punishment only for the members of his own caucus trying to take a stand for the rule of law and the Constitution, those who are trying finally to bring some accountability to this administration. Read on...
Unbelievable. So much for doing the people's work. I'll echo John last night and say this is an opportunity for the Democratic candidates to show some leadership, since Reid is obviously not going to. Clinton, Obama, Edwards? Where are you? This is a no-brainer to stand up for the American people.
As angry as I am at this news (and trust me, it's a good thing John doesn't like swearing in posts, because I've got some words for Harry that would make a sailor blush), and as much as I encourage you to contact Harry Reid, I would also ask that you take a deep breath before doing so. Tempting as it is to hurl some choice invectives and smack down Reid (metaphorically, of course) for forgetting that he is the leader of the opposition party, I'm fairly sure nasty emails will get us absolutely nowhere. Think about how you'd react to a ranting and raving letter. So I ask you to make your feelings known but do it respectfully and in a manner in which you'd like to be addressed.