Russ Feingold’s motion to censure, rather than impeach, the President for authorizing warrantless NSA surveillance, is a very good idea. It will keep the NSA surveillance issue on the media, and public, radar at a time when the White House is desperate to see it go away. In a Congress controlled by Republicans, censure stands a much better chance of success than does impeachment, since some Republicans may support a censure motion to simply get the issue done and over with and to establish their “independent” credentials with voters before what could be a Republican bloodbath in November. Democrats will look less opportunistic, and more noble, supporting a motion that will chastise the President without toppling him. Republicans’ efforts to whitewash the NSA scandal, as they’ve done in the Senate Intelligence Committee and will try to do in the Judiciary Committee, will be publicized much more widely, and more critically, if viewed through the magnifying lens of concurrent censure proceedings. And if the President is censured but continues to pursue warrantless surveillance programs like the NSA’s or the similar, "dark" programs that some officials and whistleblowers have hinted at, the Republicans will have little choice but to accede to impeachment proceedings.
It’s a great strategy all around, and we need to support it. So, I’m calling a Game Plan: write letters to the editor, and call your Senators and Congresscritters, to say you strongly support the Feingold plan.
1. Most importantly, tell Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid that you want him to support this effort with everything he’s got, and not wimp out by calling it a “free vote” or “conscience vote” or any other namby-pampy, undisciplined, standard-issue-Democratic crap like that.
In that regard, VichyDems reader Nancy Horn just reported:
Just got through to both Reid (re: Feingold) and Specter (re: NSA). They’re both tallying, and Reid’s assistant said the Senator was looking at the results as we spoke. He’s gotten calls from all over the country, in favor, and the assistant was personally thrilled though, of course, he wouldn’t speak for his boss.
We need to keep that pressure on. Reid’s contact info is:
Harry Reid (D-NV)
Main Capitol switchboard number (all Congressional offices): 888-355-3588
D.C. office direct line: 202-224-3542
D.C. office direct line toll-free from Nevada: 866-SEN-REID (866-736-7343)
Carson City office telephone: 775-882-7343
Reno office telephone: 775-686-5750
Las Vegas office telephone: 702-388-5020
D.C. office fax: 202-224-7327
Carson City office fax: 775-883-1980
Reno office fax: 775-686-5757
Las Vegas office fax: 702-388-5030
Senator Reid webmail link
2. Find out who your own senator is (and get all their contact information) right here, and ask them to back Feingold to the hilt.
3. Find out who your own congressperson is (and get all their contact information) right here, and ask them to back Feingold to the hilt.
The toll-free Capitol Hill switchboard, which can connect you to any Senator or Congressperson's office (VM on weekends) is 888-355-3588.
4. Write letters to the editors of any nearby papers in support of the Feingold resolution. A tool you can use to write letters to the editor is right here.
Finally, if you need more motivation: Feingold is my top choice to challenge the Hillary juggernaut (more here) for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2008, not necessarily because he’s my actual preference for nominee but because his positions and his increasing support makes him the progressive most likely to consolidate the non-Hillary factions and turn the Democratic primaries into a real horserace -- Progressives vs. pseudo-Centrists -- instead of a foregone conclusion. Anything that puts the nomination in the hands of the people instead of the wealthy power-brokers who control our party and have led it down a losing path for the last fifteen years is something I’ll support -- so a media-prominent Feingold, pursuing a laudable censure resolution, is a two-fer in my book.
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