I’m becoming more and more impressed with Congressman Tim Walz all the time. I really liked what he had to say about the FISA bill HR 6304.

“When Richard Nixon said that “when the President does it, that means it’s not illegal,” many Americans were horrified that any President would consider himself above the law. This legislation is even worse, because it essentially says ‘if the President tells you do so something, it’s not illegal,’ even if it violates the plain letter of the law. The process set out in this bill to rubberstamp the actions of the Bush Administration is contradictory to the rule of law in this country.

Sadly though, I am way less than impressed with Barack Obama’s stance on the FISA bill. Granted, this is a tough one.. if he would have rallyed the troops in opposition, its likely McCain and crew would use such to indicate a soft spot on defense. Yet, because he chose to not do so, it really comes across he is soft on the constitution…. and that is very very discouraging. Sure, he will try to rally the senate to remove the immunity provisions, but likely that is just a token thing at this point…. he could have made a difference, yet no doubt except for political expediency and politics as usual, he did nothing.

Sure, Obama will come up and put up a fight against immunity, but short of a fillibuster, its unlikely to do a whole lot of good… the ship has sailed, and with it a part of our constitution. Otoh, it may well be he still has some cards to play, and that is my hope.

Yet, the same cards dealt to Barack also came to Tim Walz…. and he made a choice, the right choice, the one to uphold his oath of office, even though it likely will not be all that popular. Ie, many folks are not versed in constitutional matters… and some I perceive would rather sell out the constitution if it meant they would be safer, or at least have an illusion of safety.

This is perhaps best illustrated in an example Karoli presented about a fellow who exudes so much fear its scary in and of itself. Some comments from her blog.

The FISA and torture issues have been framed to prey upon people’s fears, and it’s worked fabulously. Until these issues can be reframed in a way that exposes and resolves those fears, pushing back isn’t an option if one wants to have a political career that actually succeeds and gets them elected.

Opposing this ‘compromise’ is too nuanced a position to take in a country where people decide who to vote for based upon whether they’d have a drink with them, or gender, or race, or whatever other superficial excuse is made for their surrender to the dark place where fears grow.

And that is what I think is cool about Congressman Walz…. he does not run, nor settle for political expediency, nor business as usual. Its a risk he is taking, yet it is also a risk he must take to uphold his office, irrespective of the consequences. Thats a whole lot of courage he has to take such a stand, and I applaud him for it. I also know, should this come back on him during election time, he won’t back down, and likely any mud thrown, is going to come back at the thrower in a huge way, if not from Tim, by a bunch of us supporters who will not stand for those who throw the constitution under the bus for expediencies sake.

For reference, we also have a few other Minnesota folks to be proud of.

Nay MN-1 Walz, Timothy [D]
Nay MN-4 McCollum, Betty [D]
Nay MN-5 Ellison, Keith [D]
Nay MN-8 Oberstar, James [D]