The Discerning Texan

All that is necessary for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.
-- Edmund Burke
Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Where are the Republicans on FISA?

The standoff between House Republicans and the Democrats led by Nancy Pelosi--who refuse to schedule vote on a FISA bill which the entire Senate had overwhelmingly passed, and which the full House would likely pass as well--is a brilliant example of how not to take the case to the people.

The Democrat stance is not only endangering our National Security, it is creating a golden opportunity for Republicans to very loudly demonstrate to the American people how the intransigent Stalinists are endangering their lives. I have not seen polling on the matter, but my guess is that a large majority of citizens are less worried about trial lawyers getting big fees than they are suffering through another 9/11--or worse.

So where is the uproar? A: [crickets]

Ed Morrissey comments:

House Democratic leadership continues to refuse a vote on the bipartisan FISA reform bill sent to the lower chamber by the Senate. Instead, they plan to offer a version that eliminates immunity for those telecommunication companies that cooperated with the NSA based on assurances from the Department of Justice of the program’s legality. They plan to offer to allow the civil judges in the cases access to classified material to determine whether the telecoms should have their cases dismissed:

Locked in a standoff with the White House, House Democrats on Tuesday maintained their refusal to shield from civil lawsuits telecommunications companies that helped the government eavesdrop on their customers without a secret court’s permission.

But they offered the companies an olive branch: the chance to use classified government documents to defend themselves in court.

House Democratic leaders unveiled a bill that they hoped would bridge the gap between the electronic surveillance bill passed by the Senate last month and a rival version the House approved last fall.

That’s not an olive branch, that’s a multi-million baseball bat to the head. This doesn’t do anything to resolve the issue for the telecoms. It forces them into costly legal defenses, ensuring that they have to spend fortunes in depositions and preparation. What do they get at the end of all that? A judge gets to decide whether the DoJ assurances remove liability, but only on a case-by-case basis.

Wow. What generosity for companies that tried to help secure the nation from terrorist attack!

This is a spectacular chance for Republicans in the House, Senate, White House, and also Conservative pundits to fan the flames--similar to the uprising which was engendered last year on amnesty that had overwhelming public support. So why in the hell are Republicans in the House and Senate sitting on their collective derrières?

By not pounding this issue every single day in the press and elsewhere, the "above the fray" Republicans are not only helping to ensure that we can't listen to the conversations of those plotting our demise, but they are also allowing Democrats to frame the debate, instead of using this golden opportunity to deal Congressional Democrats a fatal body blow.

It seems to me like a recipe for losing.
DiscerningTexan, 3/11/2008 06:58:00 PM |