Thursday, June 19, 2008

For All the Marbles

Someone, maybe Alice Walker, said once that we all get a chance to show how courageous we can be--its not something that happened just for someone else some other time, or for our grandparents--our opportunity is going to come along in our own lifetimes, if we recognize it. Well, its FISA time and, to me, its Obama's chance. I expect him to muff it. But if I could write any speech for him I'd write two speeches--one for the Democratic Senators caucus and one for the Republicans. More... The one he would give to the Democrats--with Lieberman listening at the keyhole--would go like this. "There's a very, very, good chance that I am going to make it all the way to the White House in this election. We are playing now for *all the marbles*--control of the Executive, Senate, House and Judiciary. This is a huge fight and we win or lose together. If you want me on your side, campaigning for you this fall or any other year, you will do what I ask you now. Vote against telecom immunity. Its bad for this country, its bad for the rule of law, and its bad for your standing as respected member of our new majority party. 'nuff said." To the Republicans he should say "I'm calling a press conference and I'm going to be utterly frank with the people. I'm going to say "your republican leadership is accusing me of being a stealth dictator, some kind of robert mugabe clone who is going to drag this country down to misrule and an utter failure of law and governance. Well, the democrats and I stand for exactly the opposite. We don't think any president--no matter how popular--should have the right to make new laws or break our old traditions. We don't think the president should decide who gets spied on, or who gets arrested--we think our traditional liberties and our laws should remain inviolate. But I believe that I will win the next election so let me put this in language that even your current republican representatives can understand--if you think that I, as president, will be such a tyrannical autocrat what on earth are you doing give the president and the telecoms unlimited power to break the law--unlimited powers of search, seizure, detention and torture? Either you are lying about what you think I'm going to do with these unlimited powers, or you just don't know what you are voting to destroy. The Democrats stand for the constitution and our historic liberties--what do the republicans stand for?"

Now is the time. DC is the place. We're waiting for you, Senator Obama.