the blog of DC Drinking Liberally

August 6, 2007

I just don’t understand it.


Been gone a while, but Webb’s action this weekend has rousted me out of my quiet seclusion. I think I’m at what emptypocket calls Stage Five of the political grieving process over Senator Webb’s vote on the FISA amendments this weekend.

Via Lowell at Raising Kaine, here is Webb’s statement justifying his vote to capitulate to Bush’s demands on FISA:

Yesterday I supported two measures to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. These measures were considered against the backdrop of heightened concerns from our nation’s intelligence community abut the threat of international terrorism. The ramifications of the two amendments before us last night were not political. Instead they related to the urgent demands of national security. I chose to heed those warnings. We now have six months to work in earnest to bring full accountability to the process.

This distinction and the threats to national security were stated clearly by Admiral McConnell as well as four of the eight Democratic members of the Senate Intelligence Committee. These members, Senators Feinstein, Mikulski, Bayh, and Bill Nelson, have extensive experience on intelligence matters and are respected champions of civil rights and liberties. They chose to give significant weight and deference to the intelligence community on FISA reform, and so did I.

There is near uniform, bipartisan agreement on the need to reform FISA to reflect modern telecommunications and information technology. We must do so in a way that safeguards basic civil and constitutional rights. But we must also remember that the terrorist threat to the nation is extremely serious. I remain fully committed to bringing accountability to this process, and to protecting the privacy rights of all Americans.

I don’t buy it. It must have been one hell of a presentation to sway someone whose last big interaction with Bush went so very badly, but then I remember that Powell’s presentation to the UN was “convincing” to some as well, and wonder if the same lack of specificity and factual grounding might apply. Congress has not shown itself to be free from the Washington Groupthink mentality that got us into the war - far from it. Not only that, but there are very, very few people in Congress right now who can reasonably claim to be champions of Civil Liberties - and right now, I suspect that this is going to be (if it is not already) a greater problem than terrorism.

Every time Bush has been given more power, whether it be to fight a war, repair a disaster area, or give money to faith-based charities, he’s either made a mess of it, outright destroyed what he was expected to preserve, turned the new powers or tools to ends not mentioned in his original push for said expansion, or (best case) just sort of muddled along ineffectively. Exactly every time he’s claimed something will happen, it hasn’t happened that way. Seriously, every time Bush has succeeded at something, it’s been to the detriment of anyone who doesn’t support him, and more often than not also to the detriment of those who do! Why should he be trusted with anything?

Madgranny in the comments at DailyKos says it quite plainly:

why the hell haven’t they raised the level on their rainbow chart? Bush pushes “terror” and “kill your children” out of his ass every time he demands something. And the Dems are still so afraid of being called “weak on terror”, they let it cripple them every time. The American people are catching on to these “coincidential terror alerts”. When will Congressional Dems?

When, indeed?


  1. MoveOn’s finally sending out a national email petition on this. This seems like one of those issues that should generate a million responses.

    Jesse9:19 pm, August 7

  2. I hope so.

    StealthBadger3:13 pm, August 9

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