Although it continues to be my opinion that George W. Bush is the worst president in recent history, it’s clear that the 110th Congress is the worst group of legislators in memory.
Today the Senate approved the legislation Bush has been having lurid dreams about for weeks: the overhaul of the FISA process and a broad expansion of wiretapping and surveillance powers. Despite the tough talk by Democrats, as usual they folded over like paper dolls in a hurricane when it came time for the vote. In a 69-28 landslide, the legislation passed and the Bush administration got exactly what they wanted.
Perhaps worse than the expanded surveillance capabilities the bill allows is the fact that it grants retroactive immunity to the telecommunications companies who played along with the NSA a few years ago when Bush asked them to illegally monitor phone and internet traffic of American citizens. What kind of a dangerous game is this? Break the law, go to court, and stall until Congress passes a new law that makes everything okay! This is a huge slap in the face to the judicial branch of government, and (of course) a huge victory for the Bushies.
Bruce Afran, a lawyer representing several hundred plaintiffs in the federal suit against the telecoms, said:
One could argue he’s upset about the fact that he can no longer pursue a fairly open-and-shut case against the government and thus collect a nice judgement for his firm, but that doesn’t change the fact that… well, he’s right.
Despite the Democrats storming into Congress this past January and saying they’ll stand up to Bush, it seems like they’ve capitulated on every major piece of legislation he’s proposed. Everything from wiretapping to interrogation tactics to funding for the Iraq War has been done precisely as the Bush camp planned. We continue to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on a war that most Americans feel is a lost cause, we continue to expand the power and oversight of the government, and we continue to hear the tired rhetoric from the two-faced Democrats about how this is all for Our Security.
Russ Feingold continues to stand firm in the fight, but his quote
went unheeded by his fellow Senators. Even the champion of Democrats, the golden boy Barack Obama, changed his mind about the bill and voted for it. A few weeks ago he’d opposed it and even threatened to filibuster the debate, but not surprisingly he turned tail and followed the rest of his cowardly colleagues.
What a bunch of freaking losers.