Saturday, August 19


The RNC are delighted to shift the focus from the crock in Iraq to a debate about the NSA warrantless wiretapping program. See, the war is unpopular (and becoming increasingly so) among voters, and Republican politicians are starting to distance themselves from Dubya's meaningless and vapid "stay the course" policy in order to retain their seats in Congress. The Rethug leadership sees the ruling against the NSA program as an opportunity to both slime "liberal judges" and to accuse Democrats of being weak on national security matters. It's all fodder for the great rally-the-base conservative noise machine.

On Thursday, Rep. Michael G. Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) wrote a letter to constituents declaring that he was saying no to "President Bush's 'stay-the-course' strategy" in Iraq. That followed a Fitzpatrick statement earlier this month saying: "When it comes to the war in Iraq, President Bush has been bold, principled, resolute, but mistaken in crucial ways."

Amid such discord, Republicans welcomed a return to debating the NSA's warrantless surveillance program. With no quick resolution of the case in sight, the judicial decision is likely to remain an issue. The Justice Department filed its notice of appeal in the case Thursday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit in Cincinnati. But no deadline had been set as of yesterday afternoon for submitting briefs, a Justice Department official said.

"It's an opportunity, as we see it, to highlight the fundamental choice between the two parties," RNC spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt said, "between a party that understands the need for post-9/11 tools in a post-9/11 world and a party that questions giving law enforcement the tools they need to be successful."

However the issue is settled in the courts, it will take backing from the Congress to make it stick.

If the United States is still celebrating its constitutional freedoms at age 250, we will owe a profound debt to federal judges who faced down the Bush Administration's exaggerated claims of national security power. Judge Anna Diggs Taylor, who yesterday ordered a halt to the NSA's Terrorist Surveillance Program (TSP), will be one of them.

What Judge Taylor's opinion shows most convincingly, however, is that Congress and the judiciary must act together if there are to be meaningful curbs on presidential overreaching.

That's only one of the myriad reasons why it is crucial for Democrats to seize control of both the Senate and the House in this fall's midterm elections.

Tags: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home