The Moose avers that Russ Feingold is the GOP's man of the hour.
There are two groups that wish to advance the Feingold censure resolution - the right and the left. The left loathes President Bush and they view him as an illegitimate lawbreaker who must be removed from office. Censure today, impeachment tomorrow.
The right welcomes the Feingold resolution because they desperately would love to return to the familiar political turf of bashing Democrats on national security. For the last few weeks, the elephant has been forced to play defense on the Dubai debacle. The Feingold is viewed as a golden opportunity to recover lost ground.
Do Democrats believe that the President broke the law with the NSA intercepts? Most of them occupy an ambiguous position - they support the program, but only with the approval of FISA judges. Of course, that would change the nature of the program which relies on speed, flexibility and would not likely meet the FISA requirement of probable cause. The Moose's views on this program have been clear - it is the proper interception of signal intelligence from enemy sources that falls under the Commander in Chief authority derived from the Constitution and Congressionally passed authorization to use force.
If Democrats truly believe that the President violated the law, as Senator Feingold evidently does, they have an obligation not to just censure, but to impeach. And why not show some spine and propose shutting down this "illegal" program? But neither most Democrats nor Senator Feingold want to take those steps. While some Republicans also have doubts about the NSA program, they would relish a fight with the Democrats over censuring the President.
Unfortunately, neither party in Congress has been terribly serious lately about the national security threats facing the country. Alas, we have witnessed the worst display of bi-partisanship. In the past few weeks, both Democrats and Republicans have demagoged the Dubai deal. How can Democrats now credibly suggest that the Bushies have shunned multilateralism when they join in humiliating a quasi-friendly Arab regime? The Moose was not thrilled with the deal, but it was hardly the horror that was presented by Members of Congress. And while lefties opposed UAE ownership of the ports, they go nuts about the notion that the NSA would intercept a communication between an Al Qaeda operative in Pakistan and his sleeper contact at the Port of Baltimore.
Democrats are currently celebrating the narrowing of the gap with the GOP on national security. They shouldn't become so sanguine that their defense woes are resolved. The base of the party is increasingly displaying the same McGovernite tendencies that put the party in the hole on defense for decades. Democrats should give greater thought about what their strategy is about winning the war against Jihadism. The world remains a dangerous place, and the enemy is not the President but militant Islam. Moreover, the President will be leaving office in two and a half years. There is something called the twenty-second amendment.
Here is the bottom line - the American people are not going to penalize the President for being overly zealous in preventing a destruction of an American city. That is what the Republicans know and they are gleeful about a debate on this issue. And they are co-dependent on the Democratic left to keep this issue alive. Back in the nineties, the Republican right over-reached and rescued a beleaguered Democratic President.
Will the left now return the favor for a Republican President in dire straits? --