Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Real Leadership Does Exist

A while back I said nice things about Chris Dodd based on his debate performances, which I thought were excellent, especially since he was generally given less time than the frontrunners. This week he showed another reason to be impressed, as he led the prospective filibuster which derailed the pernicious FISA bill. This bill, which, with the help of my own Senator, Dianne Feinstein, got out of committee with a Republican-sponsored provision exempting the telcos from liability for their aiding the Bush regime in its spying on Americans. This craven capitulation was reinforced on the floor, when the Majority Leader, the relatively useless Harry Reid, was unable or unwilling to get it out of the bill. Now a real Leader would have counted heads and said “I have enough to sustain a filibuster, now get that crap out of there”. Unfortunately, Reid is a pretty lame Leader and was about to get it passed.
At least, he was about to get it passed until Chris Dodd got wind of it and returned from Iowa to lead a filibuster against it. Rather than risk the fight, Reid has postponed consideration of the bill. The other Senators campaigning for President supported Dodd, but had Reid forced the issue, they weren’t there to vote. Only Dodd was there, only Dodd took the lead, and for that, all Americans owe him a debt of gratitude, All it takes for tyrants to triumph (and Bush and his sycophants truly fit that description) is for good men (and women) to do nothing. Chris Dodd did something, and while he may not win in Iowa – okay, he may not get 1% in Iowa – he comes out of this with a lot more of my respect than the others get.
There is talk among the progressive wing of the party about getting Dodd to challenge Reid for the Leadership in the next Senate. I think this is a wonderful idea, as his campaign has given him both the exposure and the following to be the strong Majority Leader the party and the country needs. Whatever party the next President is from, I want the legislative branch to stand up to him (or her) when needed. Run, Chris, run.


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