Further thoughts on Harold Ford
(Moulitsas & Ford begins about 26 minutes in)
In no particular order:
1. “Just be glad you live in a country where you can gather together for a political movement without being arrested” is the last refuge of the obfuscator. Especially when the issue you’re responding to (telecom immunity) has direct bearing on whether this country remains one where you can gather together for a political movement.
2. He did have a point, however: Several of the candidates (if not the majority; it was hard to tell) the Netroots hand-selected for Congressional races in 2006, and beyond, voted for the FISA compromise; DLC congresspeople and other centrists are certainly not solely to blame.
3. However: No, Harold, I don’t believe that if the Justice Department asks me to do something, I’m automatically justified in doing it. I understand the pressures that are on businesspeople if they fear political reprisal, but these are national conglomerates we’re talking about. This isn’t Cliff Johnson from Ames worried about how his family will eat if his corner drugstore closes. The telecoms made a cynical choice to be complicit in clear breaches of the law and privacy, and should have been held responsible.
Update: Blogging while listening to panels contributes to forgetfulness; let me add that in Ford’s example, he talked about a business owner consulting with an outside law firm to (paraphrasing) “see if we can do this.” This is a faulty assumption. The question for the law firms should have been “can we refuse?”