‘Don’t You Ever Let It Happen Again’

That’s it.

I mean it, that’s it.

Chris Dodd for president.

I said I couldn’t pick and I couldn’t commit and you know what? It wasn’t me, it was them. I just hadn’t heard anything that got me enough. I heard ittoday:

If this disastrous war has taught us anything, it is that the Senate must never again stack such a momentous decision on such a weak foundation of fact. The decision we’re asked to make today is not, of course, as immense. But between fact and decision, the disproportion is just as huge.

So I rise in determined opposition to this unprecedented immunity and all that it represents. I have served in this body for more than a quarter-century. I have spoken from this desk hundreds and hundreds of times. I have rarely come to the floor with such anger.

But since I came to Washington, I have seen six presidents sit in the White House—and I have never seen a contempt for the rule of law equal to this. Today I have reached a breaking point. Today my disgust has found its limit.

I don’t expect every one of my colleagues to share that disgust, or that limit. I wish they did—but had that been the case, we would never have come to this point.

I only ask them to believe me when I say if I did not speak today, my conscience would not let me rest.

(I know, I know, I know how badly this is gonna hurt, but right now, I’m drunk with it, spinning, crazy, intoxicated, up in the air, don’t talk sense to me, don’t you dare say one sensible word about thinking about my future and weighing all my options and going to college instead of running away with the handsome man in the green tie. I want this moment to be worth the hangover I can already feel nibbling around the edges of that second glass of red. Don’t talk me down, I like it up here.)

I think my favorite moment of the approximately 12 billion hours of Senatorial nonsense we sat through (you and me and everybody else crammed into the crack van, calling Harry a fucker and talking about Scout’s Christmas ham), I think my very favorite moment came at the end. When Harry Reid, beaten and pissed off, told Dodd the bill would just come back in January, and Dodd said fine. Bring it back. But if it includes retroactive immunity, again, I’m just gonna filibuster it. So bring it back.

I’ll come back, and my supporters will come back, and their friends and families and co-workers and neighbors will come back, and Feingold and Kerry and Boxer and Cardin and Wyden and Nelson and Kennedy will come back, andmy country tis of thee the United States of America will come back and we’ll keep doing this until you get it. I don’t care how long it takes. Until you get it, until you stop this, we will keep pushing, so just shut up and take it like the man you say you are.

(I may be paraphrasing a bit there. But only a bit.)

Harry’s displeased. But if he really opposed retroactive immunity, he’d have honored Dodd’s hold. He’d stop knuckling under. He’d stop compromising. He’d stop giving the president everything the president wants. He’d stop backing down. I’m really sorry Harry’s pissed off, I am. But I’m sorrier, you know, about ALL THE LAWS BEING BROKEN, and until Harry figures out that there are harder things than this, he’s just gonna have to stay pissed off, and that’s the end of that.

While we’re at it, man, was the Republican ass parade in full swing today. Kit Bond, saying we weren’t granting the telecoms immunity because they didn’t do anything wrong, but even if they didn’t, they still needed immunity. For stuff. That they didn’t do. Mitch McConnell, autowittering on about how senators had worked all weekend on their prettydiorama bill, and how dare Dodd and Feingold point out where the glue was showing! Jeff Sessions, who … I don’t know, his mouth was moving, but all I heard was “9/11 made my penis small” and then Saxby Chambliss showed up at which point I thought it best to go clean the litterbox. All the greatest assholes of our time, one after another, talking about how difficult it was for them to see our country so defiled by those dirty fucking hippies and their insistence on debate.

Obama didn’t come out of itlooking too bad, I do have to say:

It’s not clear whether he can return for the vote, but under the Senate rules, the side trying to end a filibuster must produce 60 votes to cut off debate. Whether he is present for the vote for not, Senator Obama will not be among those voting to end the filibuster.

But Dodd … his campaign forwarded around thisassy thing the Chicago Tribune did, full of their usual smugly superior tone, that “aren’t you activists just socute” thing that’s like their institutional default, about how he was doing this to make a splash for his campaign. Because, yeah. What you want to do to attract the attention of voters in Iowa and New Hampshire is to stand in a near-empty Senate in Washington a week before Christmas giving speeches about a bill most Americans couldn’t identify if you stuck it in a lineup with Siegfried, Roy and a breakfast pastry. That’ll get all the girlies wanting to scream. I am not entirely un-self-aware. I realize a handful of people are paying attention to this.

That doesn’t make it worth less, though. That makes it worth more. Dodd should get some turkee out of this. He should get some blogospheric love. But in the end? Is that gonna put him in Clinton-Obama-Edwards poll territory? Fuck no. I’m not that round the bend, that I think this will be the thing that begins a wave of nationwide Doddmania that sweeps the country. He won’t win the presidency based on this.

But he should. Oh, he should. Because what he did today was to stop trying to convince me he should have the job, and just start doing the job. He did what leaders do: Get out in front of the thing nobody else even notices is happening, and take it where it ought to have been in the first place. He made an example out of himself. He could have done this thing, where he went on the Sunday shows and talked about how Democrats really ought to be strong leaders and they ought to put aside their own interests and work for their constituents and they really ought to do this, that and the other fucking thing. He could have talked all day long about what Democrats should be doing.

Instead he got up, as a Democrat, and did it.

The bill will come back in January. He’ll be there.

We’ll all be there.

A.

17 thoughts on “‘Don’t You Ever Let It Happen Again’

  1. mrstrailerco says:

    That’s really it isn’t it. Stop talking about what Dems should do and just do it. I tell my kids this on a regular basis. Don’t tell me how your never gonna do that thing that’s pissing me off again, just stop doing it. It’s real easy to say what should be done. It’s another thing to do it. Today Chris Dodd walked the walk, and I too think I’m in love.

    Like

  2. Paddy says:

    I’ll be back, and I’m bringing my dogs and a big stick.

    Like

  3. sparrow says:

    Kudos to Dodd. It’s one of few times in the last several years that I felt a sense of pride being in America.

    Like

  4. Oskie says:

    Nice post Athenae. You’ve managed to get me to climb down off of my fence and send the man a little money.

    Like

  5. pansypoo says:

    i still say bush is the one who needs to be sued and punished, even tho ATT caved toooo easy.

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  6. Kevin says:

    Dodd for Senate Majority Leader.
    Let a real leader lead.

    Like

  7. none says:

    The Sherlock Holmes cliche goes “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” This attempt to ram immunity protections at high speed would be impossible to originate or be supported by someone who considers rule of law paramount, has no conflicts of interest in the outcome and won’t protect a cover-up. However disappointing or displeasing it may be, the conclusion is that in some way they were accomplices from the start or have a potential benefit in assuring the outcome. Fear can’t explain everything all the time.

    Like

  8. MapleStreet says:

    Dodd’s campaign just went up drastically in my book. He took action on what needed to be done.
    Then I followed the links to his web page and surveyed his platform and he went up even more.

    Like

  9. Interrobang says:

    It’s nice to see a Democratic politician displaying somesense. A commenter at Digby’s left a response to a letter they’d sent to the Obama campaign on this issue, and the response read as though the person who wrote it didn’t know that the objections were todomestic surveillance — the only things it talked about were calls between people in the US and other countries. That’s either ignorant, stupid, or dishonest. (So far, between that, his whiny-sounding mealy-mouthing about how we should all just get along, and his cozying up to homobigots and Oprah*, I’m somewhat less than impressed with Obama, to say the least…)
    New slogan? “Thank God for Dodd.” (I don’t even believe in god, but itis catchy.)
    * I mention this because I genuinely can’t stand Oprah. She’s got all this power that she certainly didn’t get by being the kind of conformist, conservative, tool-of-the-patriarchy sort of person she plays on tv, but that’s the line she’s pushing with her viewers anyway. On top of that, the weird germophobia she pushes endlessly has probably done more for creating and aggravating the problem of antibiotic- and germicide-resistant organisms than dozens of hospitals with poor hygiene procedures.

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  10. madamab says:

    Great post, Athenae! May I say, it was an honor visiting the crack van and swooning over Dodd with you and the other bats…and I gave First Draft linky love today at the home page.

    Like

  11. Gidget Commando says:

    Jeeebus Christmas, can you imagine? A United States Senator actuallydoing his fucking job? Don’t a bunch of those silly oath thingies say something about “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic?”
    I like Edwards, but I think Dodd just earned it.

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  12. Nora says:

    First time in ages I’ve heard a speech from someone on the Senate floor that moved me, that spoke to my own passion for the Constitution, for the rule of law. Damn it, if we don’t stand up for that, we don’t have anything, we don’t have a country, we don’t have a republic, we’re turning our backs on hundreds of years of history and all those patriots who fought and went to jail and suffered and died for those principles.
    I’m not interested in supporting the troops. They’ve got plenty of cheerleaders. I’m interested in supporting the Constitution.
    I’m writing my senators (my letter to Clinton is going to begin, “Where were you yesterday?” and go on from there) and Reid. They probably won’t pay attention to one letter, but one letter added to thousands should catch their attention. I want to see real Democrats doing the right thing, and I want to see it NOW.

    Like

  13. Nora says:

    First time in ages I’ve heard a speech from someone on the Senate floor that moved me, that spoke to my own passion for the Constitution, for the rule of law. Damn it, if we don’t stand up for that, we don’t have anything, we don’t have a country, we don’t have a republic, we’re turning our backs on hundreds of years of history and all those patriots who fought and went to jail and suffered and died for those principles.
    I’m not interested in supporting the troops. They’ve got plenty of cheerleaders. I’m interested in supporting the Constitution.
    I’m writing my senators (my letter to Clinton is going to begin, “Where were you yesterday?” and go on from there) and Reid. They probably won’t pay attention to one letter, but one letter added to thousands should catch their attention. I want to see real Democrats doing the right thing, and I want to see it NOW.

    Like

  14. Ian says:

    I sent Dodd $100. This is my first contribution to a Democratic presidential candidate. I did it because of what he did yesterday on the floor of the Senate. This is a country that desparately needs statesman, statesman who respect the rule of law, statesman who actually have read and pledged to upholding the Constitution. I believe Dodd may be that statesman that I hunger for.

    Like

  15. cgeye says:

    so say we all.

    Like

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