From Roll Call: Many bloggers say they want Democrats to be bold and decisive when it comes to protecting the Constitution of the United States and the rule of law. For those who worry that this issue will create more tension between the progressive “net-roots” types and the party’s base, I say fear not. Let’s use this resolution to talk about what’s really troubling so many Democrats and other astute Americans: the lack of Congressional oversight and accountability. No sooner had Feingold made his announcement than Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) was on CNN’s “Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer” urging caution. In other words, hold your powder — wait until the investigation, if any occurs, is completed before urging action. As a Beltway insider, I am convinced that we cannot continue to tell those who have loyally supported our Democratic leaders to wait. Wait for what? Wait until our pollsters give us the green light to speak up? Should we continue to wait, hoping that the Republicans will finally invite Democrats into the room when important decisions affecting our national security are made? All I know is that people outside the Beltway have grown deeply impatient with our focus-group style of politics. They want to see some bold changes and some new leadership. It’s time to break with the same-old, same-old and use the Feingold resolution to force the Republican-controlled Congress to commit to serious oversight of the controversial, but increasingly popular, surveillance program.
Jessica Clark is a writer, editor and researcher, with more than 15 years of experience spanning commercial, educational, independent and public media production. Currently she is the Research Director for American University’s Center for Social Media. She also writes a monthly column for PBS’ MediaShift on new directions in public media. She is the author, with Tracy Van Slyke, of Beyond the Echo Chamber: Reshaping Politics Through Networked Progressive Media (2010, New Press).