Netroots Dems weigh censure of DiFi over FISA

Courage Campaign chairman Rick Jacobs this afternoon sent out an e-mail soliciting opinions on whether his group should revive its effort from late last year to convince the California Democratic Party to censure U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, this time for supporting a bill amending the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to grant retroactive civil immunity to telecommunication companies which violated the law by cooperating with the Bush Administration’s warrantless wiretapping program.

From the e-mail:

“In 2007, Sen. Feinstein failed us by providing the deciding Judiciary Committee swing votes that paved the way for the appointments of Michael Mukasey, President Bush’s torture-condoning nominee for Attorney General, and Leslie Southwick, a racist and homophobic judge.

“And now, she has failed us on the Constitution itself, concealing a crime perpetrated by the Bush Administration and telecom companies against the American people.

“Despite thousands of calls from concerned citizens, virtually shutting down her phone lines for the last week, Sen. Feinstein failed to vote for the pivotal Dodd/Feingold amendment to the re-authorization of FISA that would have denied retroactive immunity to telecom companies for illegally wiretapping the phones of Americans. Sen. Feinstein then voted for the FISA bill itself, effectively pardoning George W. Bush.

“We’ve tried everything to get Sen. Feinstein’s attention. Phone calls. Emails. Faxes. Petitions. Protests. Smoke signals. We even launched an online petition supporting a proposed California Democratic Party censure resolution of Sen. Feinstein last November that spread like wildfire across the grassroots, with 35,039 Californians signing on in support.

Jacobs says people have been urging the Courage Campaign yesterday and today to renew the censure call, but “a censure resolution is merely a piece of paper unless there’s a people-powered movement behind it.” He wants people to vote by 5 p.m. next Tuesday.

“If Senator Feinstein cares about nothing else, she cares about her legacy,” Jacobs wrote. “At this moment, whether she knows it or not, Senator Feinstein’s place in history has been soiled by a decision that she will likely later regret, if only because it may have catalyzed concerned Californians to hold her accountable. Your decision could be crucial to holding Sen. Feinstein’s accountable now and defining her legacy later.”

My guess? People will vote overwhelmingly for censure, the petition will be revived, tens of thousands of signatures will be presented to the California Democratic Party’s executive board and… nothing. I’m just basing that on what one of the party’s top officials told me yesterday; although party chairman Art Torres last year had opined Feinstein wouldn’t let Democrats down on this issue, it seems clear the party wants nothing more than to move on now without saying a word.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • John Son

    The democrats have to come up with something better than Junior Seanator Barach Hussein Obama being indangered by the news that he was going to leave for his trip on a certain day.President Bush previous travel dates have been reported to the public, with no alarm by the democrats. Now their pride and joy is going on a fact finding expedition to Iraq and possibly Afganistan.So what, I am sure he will be well protected by our marines over there as well as the three news people accompaning him on his fact finding expedition.This courtesy has never been offered to John Mc Cain on his numerours trips over there.

    It will be interesting to see how Barach reacts to being in a hostile environment, other than his own parties anti-war organization.