Monday, August 06, 2007
I make this observation in the wake of what I consider the extraordinary Congressional passage of the McConnell-Bond legislation, which updates FISA in such a fashion as to allow for warrantless surveillance of suspected foreign terrorist communications into the US according to a set of legislated procedures but without the requirement of a warrant issued by the FISA court. This is a modification that the director of National Intelligence requested in April, so there is no question that the Congressional bill, now the law, validates the Bush Administration position on warrantless wiretapping.
The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 60-22. The House vote was closer, but definitive as well, 227-183.
Bear in mind that the Democrats assumed the majority in both houses of Congress in 2006 propelled in large measure by their activist base which decried warrantless wiretapping as "domestic spying."
It might have been difficult to imagine, therefore, a Democratic-controlled Congress passing this legislation in December 2006. But here we are, and the Blue Dog Democrats -- who answer to a conservative base, are voting with the Administration on the conduct of the War against Al Qaeda. The effect of the Democratic Party participating in governance is to drown out the extremist voice when it comes to actual governance. Magical.
The very good news about divided government when it comes to policies revolving around war is that it gets both political parties firmly on Board. I am looking forward to more responsibile Congressional votes on the issues that count -- like our longevity in Iraq -- coming soon.
An optimistic view that's hard to argue with (opponents of the bill certainly would however).
At first, I took a more pessimistic view of the matter: That the vote on our 'longevity in Iraq' was sure to be a train-wreck as the McConnell-Bond measure was a minority bill, the majority bill failed...and the House measure failed entirely. Where's the leadership in all of that?