Wednesday, December 28, 2005

It doesn't have to be a partisan fight

Some have suggested, inside the White House and out, that the debate over Bush's warrantless-spying program is partisan in nature. Bush wants to sidestep judicial oversight while eavesdropping on phone calls and Dems and their liberal allies aren't happy about. This misses the fact that plenty on the right are plenty concerned about what's transpired.

* On the Hill — On Friday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) expressed serious concern about the spy program and vowed to hold hearings after lawmakers reconvene in the new year. Over the weekend, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) suggested Bush exceeded his authority and may have circumvented the law. Yesterday, Republican Sens. Chuck Hagel (Neb.) and Olympia Snowe (Maine) joined three Senate Dems in demanding a full-scale congressional investigation into the domestic-surveillance program.

* Among the scholars — Bruce Fein, a conservative constitutional scholar and former deputy attorney general in the Reagan Administration, said yesterday that the president is flouting the Constitution and may have committed an impeachable offense. Norm Ornstein, a conservative scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, echoed Fein, saying, "I think if we're going to be intellectually honest here, this really is the kind of thing that Alexander Hamilton was referring to when impeachment was discussed."

* Former administration officials — Former Secretary of State Colin Powell questioned the president's conduct on ABC's Nightline, saying, "My own judgment is that — it didn't seem to me, anyway, that it would have been that hard to go and get the warrants [through FISA]. And even in the case of an emergency, you go and do it [begin surveillance]. The law provides for that. And three days later, you let the court know what you have done, and deal with it that way."

* Former Republican lawmakers — Former Rep. Bob Barr (R-Ga.) was nearly apoplectic about Bush's conduct, suggesting the president "deliberately order[ed] that federal law be violated," and "ignored" the Constitution.

* The conservative blogosphere — Though plenty of right-wing supporters of the president are rallying to his defense, a few conservatives who usually back Bush, including Neil Boortz and Jon Henke, believe the administration went too far with this program.

There's no reason this controversy has to be about partisanship, and it's encouraging to see some Republicans acknowledge this. There are plenty of hacks out there, but when it comes to this controversy, the right is not unified behind Bush.

We're talking about a situation in which the president exceeded his authority and circumvented the law. It's not about left vs. right; it's about right vs. wrong.

It sure as hell is about right and wrong; it is also about willfully breaking the law, when congress and the courts have specifically told him not to do something.
But then so is the torture, abuse and ill treatment of prisoners, no matter what Bush and Cheney think they have done. As a matter of fact, I do not want torture done in my name even against real terrorists. Terror begets terror, violence begets violence...need I go on.
Speaking of WRONG. About the worst "wrong" a president can commit is lying to the people about reasons why he wants to take this nation to war. To lie to the electorate in a Democracy, about something as important as killing and being killed is abhorrent, if not an impeachable offense. If it isn't it ought to be.
OF course, people who will steal an election in a Democracy, not once, but twice, will do just about anything.


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