Democratic Presidential Candidate Chris Dodd plans to make good on his promise to filibuster the Senate FISA renewal bill that provides retroactive immunity to telecommunication companies that may have illegally allowed the Bush Administration to spy on Americans. Dodd has called out three Senators running for president, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, to support his position and filibuster as they had previously suggested they would.
Certainly Chris Dodd is right and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was wrong to overrule Dodd’s hold on the FISA renewal bill. There is no excuse for retroactive immunity if telecoms broke the law by spying on innocent Americans.
That said, Chris Dodd is a Democratic presidential candidate lagging terribly in the Iowa polls. However principled his stand (and it is principled), it comes with greater attention to Senator Dodd and likely less effective attention for Democrats Hillary Clinton and the surging Barack Obama, who would rather be pressing the flesh in Iowa (it’s harder to say what the effect is for Democrat Joe Biden). Beyond Dodd getting good press, you have to assume emptying two top Democratic contenders out of Iowa can only help the next top two: Democrats John Edwards and Bill Richardson. It might even help Hillary Clinton, if it stops Barack Obama’s momentum and helps her maintain and grow her numbers. It could get interesting.