John Edwards should challenge his rivals Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to go back to Washington, DC and fight against retroactive immunity for the telecoms.

The Republicans are not going to let Reid punt and extend the Protect America Act for another 18 months so it looks like the FISA bill is going to come back up again on Monday. Chris Dodd’s objection to Unanimous Consent still stands, so they will pick up in the middle of the Motion to Proceed debate.

Glenn Greenwald:

It will be increasingly difficult to listen to Edwards, Obama and Clinton tout their supreme leadership attributes and their commitment to "changing the way Washington works" if they choose to sit by, more or less mute, and allow such a blatant and corrupt evisceration of the rule of law — and such a vast and permanent expansion of the limitless surveillance state — to occur without a fight. Any one of them, or all three, has a unique opportunity to actually demonstrate with actions, rather than pretty speeches, their commitment to the principles they claim to espouse.

John Edwards is the perfect person to lead with this message. Such an action would illustrate his genuine commitment to change and fighting vested interests in Washington, and hopefully it will channel that intense anti-immunity passion toward his campaign. He won’t be able to participate in the filibuster himself, but by offering to leave the campaign trail and go back to DC with Clinton and Obama he’ll be able to show leadership in challenging all Democrats to put thoughts of personal gain aside and join together in the fight to save the constitution.

Without the help of the presidential candidates, we are doomed to lose this fight. And all their calls for change will ring hollow if they allow George Bush to railroad this bill through a supine Democratic-controlled Senate because of their absence.

You can email Senator Edwards directly at john@johnedwards.com.

(We’ll be working with Glenn Greenwald and others to fight against retroactive telecom immunity in the coming days. If you’d like to receive updates about what you can do, sign up here. You can contact Clinton, Obama and McCain here.)