Glenn Greenwald has hope on FISA:
But at least thus far, from everything I can tell, the picture is more complicated and less depressing than this NYT article suggests, and the defeat is not yet a fait accompli. To begin with, the bill to be proposed today by the House Democratic leadership actually contains some surprisingly good and important provisions. . .
But that bill will never see the President's desk. As Glenn himself notes:
It is definitely possible that this is all just deceit, that House leaders introduced this bill strictly to placate their Progressive Caucus and their base and that they have no real intention of fighting for these provisions, but instead will give Bush what he wants once Mike McConnell starts accusing them of Helping the Terrorists and they begin negotiating in secret again.
Yes, that is exactly what will happen. We know the cast of characters already. This is a repeat of the Iraq Supplemental fight in March. The House bill will be eviscerated. More.
Glenn hopes for this:
But it seems that there are important House Democrats really ready to fight on these issues, to prevent Steny Hoyer and Rahm Emanuel (who unfortunately seem to be the real Speakers of the House) from conniving like they did in August to manipulate their caucus into supporting something far worse.
Here is where Glenn and I part company on strategy and tactics:
The real problem here seems to be that the wretched, principle-free, administration-revering Democratic faction on the Senate Intelligence Committee — particularly Jay Rockefeller, joined by the Dianne Feinsteins and Bill Nelsons — is eager to reach a “compromise” with their Bush-loyal “colleagues” (such as “Kit” Bond and the Responsible, Honorable, Serious Mike McConnell). And they are, as always, even more eager to deliver bountiful gifts to their generous contributors in the telecom industry and their sleazy friends in the Clintonite-telecom-lobbying-circle.
No, they are what they are and they do what they do. The problem REMAINS, as it is on Iraq, in the House. The inability to say NO to Rockefeller, Feinstein, et al. The inability to say NO to Bush.
The House does not have to accede to anything. It can say no to the Senate. It can say no to Bush. The problem has been it will NOT say no.
As Glenn himself acknowledges:
The question, then, is to what extent the more principled members of the House Democratic caucus — and they do exist — can exert influence over the House Democratic leadership to prevent the worthless Senate Democratic caucus from enacting the bill the White House wants, complete with amnesty for lawbreaking telecoms and massively expanded warrantless eavesdropping powers.
How much worth is there in the House Democratic Leadership if pressure needs to be exerted on them to do the right and smart thing? Sorry, that is the problem. Greenwald does get this part very right though:
If the Democratic Congress capitulates yet again, there will be plenty of time and opportunity for all sorts of recriminations. I think it is quite encouraging that much of the “netroots” is now devoting its energies and resources not to supporting Democrats, but to opposing Congressional Democrats who merit defeat.
(Emphasis supplied.) Exactly right.