Thursday, November 15, 2007


The Immunity Deal

I know the Blue-Dogs supposedly representing me in Congress won't listen to this -- but maybe one of you readers lives in a district where someone will listen?

Anyway -- here's, in my not so humble opinion, what the Dems. should do on Telecom immunity: make via law a real immunity deal (or at least an immunity deal like those you see on the TeeVee): i.e. if the Telecom execs, et al, testify as to illegal goings on (e.g. to Congress), they'll get immunity, not only to lawsuits but also to any crimes that they essentially confessed to in their testimony (no worry about self-incrimination) as well as immunity to any intelligence leaks that may occur when they spill the beans on BushCO malfeasance.

The Dems. should trumpet how this gives everyone what they want: companies don't have to worry about lawsuits or criminal penalties (the pro-immunity rhetoric all but admits the companies have broken the law), the investigations can go ahead without people getting in trouble for leaking information (perhaps Congress can allow for closed-door hearings with only those members with appropriate security clearence in attendence ... however, they must insist that sworn testimony be given and transcribed -- even if the transcripts may become classified -- and sufficiently distributable that they can be used, with appropriate redaction, in any criminal trial).

And the Dems. can also be seen as being willing to compromise and the GOP will look intrastringent -- you wanna win by being seen as willing to compromise? Well, then offer the compromises on your terms! taking up other people's offered "compromises" just makes you look weak. And refusing to take up those compromises makes you seem "partisan". So why can't the Dems. realize they are now in power and can offer compromises on their terms and when the Pres. or whomever refuses to accept, they can now accuse the Pres or whomever of being intrastringent and destructively partisan? Of course, to do that they'll need to make sure that they don't have "centrist" Dems. whining left and right to the media about liberal Democrats being unwilling to compromise and they'll need to make sure they don't have bomb throwers throwing bombs but rather spin this (and self-consciously so as a chosen strategy -- the meta-politics will impress the pundits) as the President and his allies refusing to compromise and that all the GOP talk of partisanship of Dems is mere projection.

So what are the Dems. doing instead? According to NPR, they'll stick the bill to the American taxpayer. Now that's actually fair -- if the government is doing something on our behalf we should either tell 'em to stop it or be willing to pay for it ... and since the American people had there chance in 2004 and didn't take it up, we should be willing to pay. But that's political suicide. As is, as Diane Feinstein seems won't to do here, giving political cover to your most strident opponents (i.e. the people that subtly made jabs at your heritage and last name when you ran for governor). And Feinstein thinks she's being politically smart? Oy ...


Anyway, the Dem leadership should get the Senate to pass the funding for the troops bill. The Pres. will veto it and complain. Now the trick then is that the Dem. leadership also needs to craft some talking points so that no matter whom NPR chooses to interview, we listeners won't hear some party hack sounding partisan and like he's after political gain nor will we hear some faux-moderate deriding other Dems. for being overly partisan, but rather we'll hear how the President is refusing to fund our troops and wanting to keep us bogged down in Iraq forever. Something tells me that the Senate won't pass the bill (allowing the GOP to talk about how the Democrats can't even manage to fund the troops), and even if they do, something tells me the GOP will be able to get out their talking points just fine even as the Dems. will be in complete disarray. Look -- if you can't manage to one-up the GOP, even as they are so predictable, how will the Dems. keep us safe? Better Dems ... please!

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