Monday, January 09, 2006

No Shortage Of Republican Senators Questioning Bush's Domestic Spying Program

The conservative noise machine is trying to paint the debate over President Bush's warrant-less domestic spying program as a battle between right and left -- or as they would falsely characterize it, right and wrong.

Listen to conservative talk radio, and you get the impression that this battle places a tough war president placing homeland security needs first against anti-American wussies who care more about the rights of terrorists, and would gladly say so as they discuss Brokeback Mountain with their ACLU-card carrying friends.

If the world were so simplistic and stereotypical, then maybe the empty conservative spin would have merit. But in the reality-based universe, facts matter.

There are no shortage of conservatives and Republicans voicing concern over the seemingly illegal program. George Will called Bush's actions a mistake. William Safire said he sided with Bush's critics.

Some conservative observers have actually suggested Bush's personally authorizing the surveillance was an impeachable offense. The program circumvented rules that say the National Security Agency must obtain a warrant before proceeding.

In the Senate, you won't find a Republican publicly mentioning the dreaded "I" word. But that doesn't mean that there aren't a host of Republicans questioning the president's decision to skirt the law -- enough of them, in fact, that a serious discussion about impeachment may be possible.

That list includes Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who chairs the Judiciary Committee, as well as Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, Susan Collins of Maine, Larry Craig of Idaho, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, Dick Lugar of Indiana, John McCain of Arizona, Olympia Snowe of Maine and John Sununu of New Hampshire.

That's quite a list.

And add to it Sam Brownback of Kansas, who told George Stephanopoulos on the Jan. 8 edition of ABC's This Week:

BROWNBACK: I think we need to look at this case and this issue. I am troubled by what the basis for the grounds that the administration says that they did these on, the legal basis, and I think we need to look at that far more broadly and understand it a great deal. I think this is something that bears looking into and us to be able to establish a policy within constitutional frameworks of what a president can or cannot do.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You don't think the 9/11 resolution gave the president the authority for this program?

BROWNBACK: It didn't, in my vote. I voted for that resolution. That was a week after 9/11. There was nothing you were going to do to stop us from going to war in Afghanistan, but there was no discussion in anything that I was around that that gave the president a broad surveillance authority with that resolution.

If 11 Republicans aren't satisfied by the answers to their questions about the spying program -- if they aren't given sufficient reason to conclude the president has the authority to conduct warrant-less domestic spying, and that thus the program is legal -- then isn't it possible they could join, say, 40 Democrats (out of 44, plus one Independent) and call for impeachment hearings?

It's probably far-fetched to talk that way. Questions -- even insufficiently unanswered ones -- don't necessarily push someone to try to take down their party's leader.

Still, as Hagel said in an article in the Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star, "No president is ever above the law. ... We are a nation of laws. You cannot avoid or dismiss a law."

6 Comments:

Anonymous Tom said...

The problem will be to get these Congressmen off their butts to DO something about it. So far they all look complicit in the steady erosion of our rights, quality of life, and any hope of a progressive interpretation of the law. We're turning into a police state with Congressional help, so how could they impeach Bush when they are following his lead? If we don't vote these non-representatives out, then we get what we deserve - and it won't be pretty for years to come.

8:53 AM  
Anonymous ash said...

That "rights of terrorists" comment jumped out at me. How about the rights of innocent Americans? or innocent people, period? Which they are, until proven otherwise. Or has that principle become inoperative?

7:30 PM  
Anonymous AtomicKitten said...

Conservative pundits have expressed this is an impeachable offense. Hopefully a change in the House in 2006 will begin that procedure.

2:39 PM  
Anonymous Blutodog said...

Bu$h's answer to HageL would be," "I don't need NO STINKIN LAWS I AM THE LAW!!"

2:40 PM  
Anonymous trinity said...

David R. Mark said...
"That list includes Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who chairs the Judiciary Committee, as well as Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, Susan Collins of Maine, Larry Craig of Idaho, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, Dick Lugar of Indiana, John McCain of Arizona, Olympia Snowe of Maine and John Sununu of New Hampshire.

That's quite a list."


Yeah, quite a list of RINOs. Big surprise to see all these darlings of the Democrats and MSM posturing and mugging for the cameras. The usual suspects.

Sometimes I wonder if it's even worth being the majority party, when you have to deal with the likes of these. Most of them vote more with you guys than with their own party, and the rest of them are still thorns in our side half the time. I wish they'd just jump ship, like Jumpin' Jim Jeffords and be done with it! And that includes my own Sen. Specter, whom I did NOT vote for, btw!

11:15 PM  
Anonymous trinity said...

They're just so damn predictable!

11:16 PM  

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