Slate's Today's Papers provides the good news on House Democrats' caving to the Bush administration's demands for more latitude in evading FISA in conducting spying activities:
It was all about politics, says the NYT and WP, and the Democrats didn't want to spend their summer vacation "fending off charges from Mr. Bush and Republicans that they left Americans exposed to terror threats." The good news for the Dems is that the changes will expire in six months, giving them half a year to grow a spine.Congress seems to have decided that letting the president play with matches has worked out so well that -- what the hell -- why not hand the most untrustworthy administration in American history a live grenade when it asks for one.
For all the Republicans' woes, with leadership like this and like this it stretches the immagination to think that the country will hand the Democratic party, or at least the congressional wing of the Democratic party, a presidency when it asks for one in 2008.
The people have wised up faster than their leaders.
Enter Yearly Kos. It was great fun this week watching Bill O'Reilly inveigh against Markos Moulitsas, Daily Kos ("this hate site") and the Democratic candidates who went to Chicago to speak to the Yearly Kos convention. As E.J. Dionne put it:
Democratic candidates know they owe a debt to Moulitsas. They're paying homage to him because he has started to beat Limbaugh and O'Reilly at their own game. No wonder O'Reilly is so annoyed.But it's also no wonder that the DLC's own corporate-woman-tough-enough-to-be-president Sen. Hillary Clinton is no favorite of grassroots and online activists, who feel they've been ahead of the corporate wing of the Democratic party on Iraq and other policy matters. The House vote this weekend reinforces that mistrust.
Just as the candidates' appearance at Yearly Kos instead of the DLC convention reinforces the power of online activism in Democratic politics. Says Moulitsas,
“If the DLC had an e-mail list of 3 million people there’s no reason that the candidates would have skipped that convention . . . But they don’t. We have hundreds of thousands, millions, of committed activists that will work to have them elected.”That's something no candidate can ignore. Having them work against you is even more reason to take pause.