I think we have an issue worthy of a new phone/fax/email campaign, this time concerning the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on NSA warrantless wiretaps.
I just got off the phone with a Judiciary staffer in the office of Senator Leahy, the ranking Democrat on the Committee. According to that person, the Judiciary Committee intends to hold at least two more hearings on the NSA issue, and both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees may be holding hearings this week. No votes are scheduled, since it's not clear what they would be voting on: to revise FISA? Simply issue a resolution decrying the violations?
Nevertheless, Karl Rove already is afraid that the Congressional investigations may ultimately result in impeachment proceedings, and is putting tremendous political pressure on Republicans to support the President no matter what, saying that any R Senator who deems warrantless wiretaps unlawful will be "blacklisted" in the next elections:
The White House has been twisting arms to ensure that no Republican member votes against President Bush in the Senate Judiciary Committee’s investigation of the administration's unauthorized wiretapping.
Congressional sources said Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove has threatened to blacklist any Republican who votes against the president. The sources said the blacklist would mean a halt in any White House political or financial support of senators running for re-election in November.
"It's hardball all the way," a senior GOP congressional aide said.
The sources said the administration has been alarmed over the damage that could result from the Senate hearings, which began on Monday, Feb. 6. They said the defection of even a handful of Republican committee members could result in a determination that the president violated the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Such a determination could lead to impeachment proceedings.
I have a big problem with the fact that while the Republicans brook no unauthorized dissent, our Democratic leaders let the cat herd run all over the place. Paul Krugman had a good article last Sunday on that exact topic: until Democrats start showing some party unity, we'll get nowhere. And that doesn't mean that those of us who are fighting the good fight against Vichys, DINOs and BlueDogs should stop. It means that those Democrats who keep breaking ranks need to be either disciplined or replaced. That's what VichyDems is all about: playing hardball for a change. Not fighting dirty, but fighting hard.
So I'm considering launching a new Game Plan to encourage people to harangue the Dem members of Judiciary and Intelligence, the Dem Senate Leadership, and the more moderate or liberty-loving Republicans on the Committee, insisting that the Dems show a unified front if the hearings continue to show that crimes were committed, and that the Republicans place principle above politics, and honor their oaths of office, by calling a crime a crime. As we did before, I'd like to hit the key Senators' emails and DC and district office phones and faxes, hard. Luckily, it'll be a much shorter list than it was for Alito!! But if we're to have a better outcome than we did with Alito, we need to make our voices heard EARLY and LOUDLY, before Harry Reid and the other decisionmakers make up their minds not to stand firm.
Before I hit the launch button on a new Game Plan, I'd appreciate feedback, either here or by email (preferably here): is this an issue you're willing to hit the phones for? If you say yes, I'll start working and put up the necessary links, analysis and activism resources as soon as possible. I'm willing to do the work, if you say you'll do your part.
A big thanks to contributor ina for tipping me off to Rove's shenanigans.