Two key Democrats yesterday called the NSA domestic surveillance program necessary for fighting terrorism but questioned whether President Bush had the legal authority to order it done without getting congressional approval.
Rep. Jane Harman (Calif.), ranking Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and former Senate majority leader Thomas A. Daschle (S.D.) said Republicans are trying to create a political issue over Democrats' concern on the constitutional questions raised by the spying program.
Pat Roberts, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, talks with "Meet the Press" moderator Tim Russert, left, as Rep. Peter Hoekstra, second from left; Rep. Jane Harman and former senator Thomas A. Daschle look on. (By Alex Wong -- "Meet The Press" Via Associated Press)
At the same time, the Republican chairmen of the Senate and House intelligence committees -- Sen. Pat Roberts (Kan.) and Rep. Peter Hoekstra (Mich.), who attended secret National Security Agency briefings -- said they supported Bush's right to undertake the program without new congressional authorization. They added that Democrats briefed on the program, who included Harman and Daschle, could have taken steps if they believed the program was illegal. All four appeared on NBC's "Meet the Press."
Roberts said he could not remember Democrats raising questions about the program during briefings that, beginning in 2002, were given to the "Gang of Eight." That group was made up of the House speaker and minority leader, the majority and minority leaders of the Senate, and the chairmen and ranking Democrats of the House and Senate intelligence committees.
So, as it turns out, the Democrats have really known about the program all along (at least the Democratic leaders). If they thought it was "illegal" or a "grab for power" on the part of Bush--even if they thought it was "domestic spying" --why didn't they say something? AJ Strata has an answer to that (and a good roundup:
The Bush administration (republicans) was hell bent on keeping this out of the news and out of the public arena! In fact, it was Democrats who cried foul and impeachment when the news broke - making a national security issue into a partisan issue.At the briefings, Roberts said, “Those that did the briefing would say, ‘Do you have questions? Do you have concerns?’ ” Hoekstra said if Democrats thought Bush was violating the law, “it was their responsibility to use every tool possible to get the president to stop it.”
Of course not. Back then it was protect America. Now it is desperation to win votes. And if it was so wrong and so illegal, then why are they not calling for it to be shut down like the far left liberal base?
Partisan politics is, of course, driving the entire issue. The Dems want votes and so they are putting on a show for their lunatic base, who are ready to give in, apologize and implement shar'ia if necessary-- just so they can get even with Bush for shattering their dreams of utopia.
The entire issue has become so ludicrous that now Congress is begging the President to allow them to give him permission to do what he's doing. And are annoyed that he doesn't seem to think he needs their permission.
Tune in again tomorrow, when the call is issued for Cheney to be impeached because he can't shoot straight and (gasp) there was a COVERUP!
You might think that there were more important issues right now that we should be dealing with. But, for the liberal left, nothing is more important that finding that perfect issue with which to bash the White House.
I think that Michael Barone has it right:
Democratic politicians and the mainstream media, who bridle at the Reagan version and are disappointed that it has not been displaced by Clinton's, regarded Bush's victory in the Florida controversy as illegitimate and have been trying furiously to delegitimize him ever since. So far, this has proved at least as ineffective politically as impeachment was for the Republicans, but the impulse to persist seems irresistible.
How long will this continue? Democrats were used to writing our history in most of the past century. But without a competing vision of their own, they seem no more likely to succeed than Roosevelt's or Reagan's furious opponents.
The Democrats have no vision of their own. They have nothing to offer the American public except a vision that correlates closely with that of the enemies we fight.
In the past I have been willing to vote for Democratic candidates. I consider myself an Independent who votes for those with ideas and principles. I have never been a card-carrying Republican (despite the fact that many consider me an "apologist" for Bush; there is much about his domestic policy with which I disagree). Many times I have actually wasted my vote (even in national elections) by voting Libertarian.
I sincerely doubt that I could ever vote for a Democrat again. Not after they have so ardently pursued the politics of destruction despite the cost to our country in a time of war; despite the damage to national security. They are not to be trusted. If the best they can do are pathetic wimps like John Kerry; and opportunistic scum like Al Gore and Hillary Clinton--then they are in for a long, long political drought.
And they most certainly would deserve it.