A vote in the senate on the "compromise" FISA bill is scheduled for sometime this week and it is the first opportunities for presumptive nominee Barack Obama to demonstrate that his words are actually more than just empty promises. Since he is now the de facto leader of the Democratic party, his voice carries a lot more weight on this matter than any other elected Democratic official. Nancy Pelosi has already stated her approval of the bill, and as I have said in previous posts, the current Democratic leadership does not seem to have the backbone to stand up to the Bush administration. In trying to appear tough on terrorism, they have capitulated to the demands of an administration that apparently holds the Constitution in contempt. While I don't believe that there are enough votes in the Senate to defeat the bill, Barack Obama, by taking a stand against the systematic destruction of the Bill of Rights, can make a powerful statement to the American people. Senators Dodd and Feingold have said that they will filibuster the bill if it contains language that protects the telecoms from prosecution.
I don't believe that the filibuster over the telecoms goes far enough. This bill on it's face, which allows the government to spy on whomever it pleases as long as the President deems it necessary, is clearly, at least to me, unconstitutional. Where is the voice in the senate arguing for that? Who, if anyone, is going to have the nerve to stand up for the American people? Who is going to be willing to explain to the American people that being against this bill doesn't mean that you are soft on terrorism, it means that you are simply committed to protecting the Constitution. I personally don't think that the people of this country are too dense to understand the difference (well, the LIV's probably are), but apparently it will take a leader with extraordinary strength to stand up and do what's right.