Sunday, February 03, 2008

New At The Guardian

Forgot to mention this. Last week I had a new piece at CIF on the state of the FISA debate. This thing changes almost daily, but my basic contention, which I think stands no matter what happens from here on out, is that Harry Reid and the Senate Dems missed a huge opportunity to gain the upper hand, and risked losing everything needlessly. Money quote:
After six years of the administration using terrorism as a bludgeon against domestic opposition to its national security and foreign policies, the returns on that particular rhetorical trope have terminally diminished. The American people oppose warrantless wiretapping by a 3-to-1 margin, including a majority of Republicans. By a similar 3-to-1 margin, they want Congress, and not the president, "to take the lead role in setting policy for the country".

The Democrats should have been able to parley that massive structural advantage into an easy victory on Fisa by throttling retroactive immunity for telecoms and toothless oversight provisions in their legislative cradles, putting forward a bill to modernise Fisa that includes robust safeguards for civil liberties, and daring the White House and congressional Republicans to take a stand on whether national security or extra-constitutional claims of executive power are their top priority.

The events of the past week leave no doubt that Harry Reid has a surfeit of confidence in his dexterity as a parliamentarian. If only he had the backbone to match.
Also, I'm now blogging with Michael Weiss at Snarksmith.



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