Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Fox News' Cameron Spins For The President, And Bush Happily Plays Along

Fox News Channel's Carl Cameron yesterday became the first White House reporter to use the term "terrorist surveillance program," the Bush Administration's spin line for its warrantless surveillance program.

That allowed President Bush to offer this bit of spin:

BUSH: I did notice that nobody from the Democrat Party has actually stood up and called for getting rid of the terrorist surveillance program. You know, if that's what they believe, if people in the party believe that, then they ought to stand up and say it. They ought to stand up and say the tools we're using to protect the American people shouldn't be used. They ought to take their message to the people and say, vote for me, I promise we're not going to have a terrorist surveillance program. That's what they ought to be doing. That's part of what is an open and honest debate.

You have to love when Republicans set up straw men, only to knock them down.

Duh! Democrats aren't against surveillance of terrorists. Democrats are against illegal surveillance of Americans. The program authorized by President Bush in 2001 circumvents existing law that says that the National Security Agency must obtain a warrant before conducting surveillance.

Bush hasn't been paying attention if he thinks Democrats haven't been saying "the tools we're using to protect the American people shouldn't be used." Most Democrats fall into two camps -- either denouncing warrantless surveillance as illegal, or seeking to investigate the program to determine if it's legal. (And, although Bush won't admit this, a number of prominent conservatives -- such as Grover Norquist, Norman Ornstein, Bruce Fein, George Will and William Safire -- have suggested the program is illegal, too.)

And Democrats aren't going to go to the American people "and say, vote for me, I promise we're not going to have a terrorist surveillance program." That's just a fact-challenged conservative pipe dream.

What Democrats should do is go to the American people and say:

"We believe in terrorist surveillance. But we also believe the president should follow the laws of the land. The president authorized surveillance without warrants, in violation of established law. If he wanted to change the law after the Sept. 11th attacks, we would have supported him. But that's not what he did. And instead of addressing that problem, the Republicans want you to look the other way. Senator DeWine of Ohio, a Republican, said 'We don’t want to have any kind of debate about whether it’s constitutional or not constitutional.' Instead, Senate Republicans cut a deal with the White House.

Now they want to convince you that somehow Democrats don't want to capture terrorists. It's all part of their effort to imply that we aren't as patriotic as they are. That we don't care as much about this country as they do. But that's just hokum. It's Democrats who have proposed spending money on port security, on airport security, on rail security, and to protect our chemical and nuclear plants. And it's Republicans who have refused to consider those pieces of legislation on the Senate floor. Ask yourself why?

The Republicans talk about Homeland Security, but you saw how well that department and its FEMA unit handled Hurricane Katrina. The Republicans talk about Homeland Security, but you saw how out of touch the Bush Administration was when a United Arab Emirates-owned company wanted to take over management of our ports. Secretaries Chertoff, Rumsfeld and Snow, and President Bush himself, endorsed the deal, even though they later claimed not to know about it until it became public knowledge. Is this how you want Homeland Security handled?

So, the next time you hear a Republican talk about so-called 'terrorist surveillance,' don't buy the spin. We Democrats only ask that the President follow the established law. And if Republicans can't understand that -- if all they can do in response is cut deals with themselves and spin the American people -- then none of them deserve to lead our nation."

4 Comments:

Anonymous rodeodance said...

So. Will a Repug stand up and say to Bush?: Stop the spying!

3:04 PM  
Anonymous alias: "cutiepie" johnson said...

12 Republican Senators voiced concern at one point, but they all caved. Lots of arm-wringing to allow for the deal to be cut and the Senate Intelligence Committee to look the other way.

3:05 PM  
Anonymous iconocrastic said...

Bush was wrong. We are saying we are against the program and so vote for us.

3:50 PM  
Blogger A Christian Prophet said...

As a student of history, I wonder what all the histrionics is about. If you have truth, you'll win. Therefore, you never have to be judgmental about anyone else. If you don't have truth, then you'll try all kinds of attack and defense, and judgmentalism. You'll find yourself living in hate and fear. What kind of choice is that?

4:52 PM  

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