As Kagro pointed out the latest sob story we've got from Steny Hoyer on why he has to cave into the White House on telco amnesty is because "many Democrats" are forcing his hand. He's even saying that he personally is opposed to the compromise he's trying to ramrod through:
Hoyer said that if a deal was finalized, he would support it, even though he "would not like it." He said he would have preferred the original House version of the legislation which didn't include retroactive immunity for the phone companies.
Here's the thing, he's the majority leader and the majority of his caucus is opposed to amnesty. Nancy Pelosi is supposedly opposed to amnesty. Harry Reid is opposed to it, as is Dick Durbin. Barack Obama is opposed to it. And supposedly, so is Hoyer himself. So who is clamoring so hard from the Democratic party for amnesty? Not a one, so far.
We have seen Democrat Nancy Boyda, who most certainly represents a conservative district, arguing against it.
"Here's the question: Do we want the United States government spying on Americans without a warrant? Ladies and gentleman, that is the issue that's at stake here. I say absolutely no, we do not want the United State government spying on Americans without a warrant. But President Bush says that's ok.... and the Republicans in Congress are sticking with him.... Our democracy depends on open and honest debate, and this is nothing of the sort."
And we've seen Blue Dogs Michael Arcuri and Tim Mahoney arguing against it.
"I am not going to sign it," said Rep. Tim Mahoney (D-Fla.) a member of the Blue Dogs. "I just don’t think it is necessary."
Fellow Blue Dog Rep. Michael Arcuri (D-N.Y.) agreed with Mahoney, saying he would not subvert the rules process by signing the petition.
"I like the House version of FISA better than the Senate bill anyway," added Arcuri.
Not one single Democrat has signed the discharge petition. It's a fact. You can look it up.
The majority of the Democratic caucus (House and Senate) and of the leaders don't want telco amnesty. If Hoyer can't stand up to a rump group in his caucus, some 20 members, as opposed to the other nearly 200, then maybe he shouldn't be majority leader.
This leads me to an effort being spearheaded by Glenn, Jane and a diverse group of bloggers and organizations to tell Hoyer and his cohorts that they're not only on the wrong side of their caucus, but on the wrong side of the American people. Here's Glenn:
As a result, there is a major new campaign beginning today aimed at Hoyer and a handful of other key members of Congress who enable telecom immunity and warrantless eavesdropping. In order to raise as much money as possible for this campaign -- far more than the $85,000 raised (and still being spent) in Chris Carney's district as a result of his support for warrantless eavesdropping and telecom amnesty -- we are working to create an alliance with numerous organizations and factions across the ideological spectrum which oppose civil liberties erosions, as well as with as many blogs as possible....
For the moment, contributions can be made here. All the money raised will be spent exclusively on ad campaigns aimed at the short-term vulnerabilities of those in Congress responsible for delivering this indescribably tyrannical package of surveillance powers to the President and the accompanying corrupt gift to lawbreaking telecoms.
I encourage you to contribute to the effort, and join the more than 3,000 contributors who have raised more than $170,000 for this effort.
That hardly compares to the $14 million spent by the telcos on lobbying just in the first three months of this year. So I guess this lays it out pretty clearly for Hoyer and his pals. Who is going to have more sway? The majority of his caucus, his party leadership, and the party faithful (us), or the telcos?
Update: And while you're at it, tell Congress "No Deal on Telco Amnesty!"