Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Losing perspective

There have been so many issues for people to get outraged about during the past dozen years that it is hard to keep track of them all. Warrantless wiretapping is just one of them.
Ideally, I’d love to see the Bush administration and their telecom cronies get nailed for their clearly illegal wiretapping program post-9/11. But the reality is that there are not enough votes in the Congress to see that happen.
So it looks like we will end up with a bill overhauling eavesdropping regulations that lets the telecom companies off the hook.
The best thing to do in this case then is to push for the best deal we can get and then move on.
Unfortunately, there are some on the left who aren’t satisfied with that bit of reality. They are prepared to throw a huge hissy fit when they don’t get their way as if this issue - telecom immunity - was the end all most important thing in the universe.
Let me put this bluntly. I don’t give a damn about telecom immunity or warrantless wiretapping if fixing it in any way hurts Democrats’ chances of winning back the White House in November. It will be small consolation indeed to have the FISA bill defeated and the telecoms tied up in court for the next decade if it also means we get four more years of Republican misrule.
But what I am seeing right now is groups of people on the left (and some on the right) preparing to throw a big stink bomb
into the race if all their demands aren’t met in full. Others are even encouraging folks to withhold funding from Obama’s campaign in protest of his nominal support for the FISA overhaul legislation.
That is so fundamentally stupid that I can’t believe politically astute people would even be considering it. Karl Rove couldn’t have dreamed up a better scheme for throwing a monkey wrench into the election prospects of Democrats this year.
You can protest the FISA bill all you want, but I think folks like Glenn Greenwald and Christy Hardin Smith have been going overboard lately with their claims that our very Constitution is hanging in the balance.
Yes, it will be irritating if some folks get away with breaking the law. But the reality is that it happens everyday and our country is still surviving.
We’ve got a big mess to clean up after a dozen years of Republican shenanigans and we are going to have to take things one step at a time. Step One is putting a Democrat in the White House! Everything else is superfluous in the long run.

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