Senators Clinton and Obama, your country needs you. Right now. Because civil liberties matter. Because laws matter. Because retroactive immunity from lawbreaking is not an American trait. Because having a government that can and will spy on its own citizens with no authorization is the antithesis of a free country.
At Bush's beckoning, Republicans have scrapped the work done on the FISA bill, and now want to make sure Bush gets everything his radical advisors demand. Or else, as Bush is pushing, the entire nation will be impotent to terrorist phone calls and attacks. They want telecom immunity or nothing.
And finally, Harry Reid is not letting Bush and his Senate Republican minions drive the debate:
The president has to make a decision. He’s either going to extend the law, or he will…which is temporary in nature, or there will be no wiretapping. We have worked very hard to try to come up with a way to proceed on this but it’s up to the President. The amendments that were offered in the Senate … they would have passed. The majority of the senate favored these amendments.
They refused to allow us to vote on what we call "Title 1" which is a procedural aspect of this, and then they never even dreamed of our going to the second part, which is the retroactive immunity. Which is…there is real controversy over that and there should be a vote in the United States senate as to whether or not there should be retroactive immunity. They won’t give us one.
But with this happening in the Senate, apparently Clinton and Obama are unwilling to take any time away from their Presidential campaigns to do the job the people hired them to do. The Democratic Party has not proven itself strong in any way when it comes to standing up to Bush and has faltered and wilted time and again to petty and insipid political gamesmanship. Right now, Senate Democrats need every last weapon at their disposal. And two of their bigger guns are looking like they'll sit out the whole FISA situation altogether.
"Neither of the Democratic Senators currently running for President will commit to be in the Senate for the vote on Monday (I've contacted both campaigns -- the Obama campaign says he'll be in DC but aren't sure of his schedule, and the Clinton campaign hasn't responded.)," wrote Jane Hamsher at FireDogLake.
If Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are unable and unwilling to go do their job and fight for what's right, neither of them has any business being President of the United States. Both will have proven themselves as unfit employees who will let down their employers when they're needed the most.
Update: Edwards has joined the fight.