Yeah, I Gotta Problem With That

Bush Administration, Civil Rights, Congress, conservatism, Democratic Party, Karl Rove, Republican Party

I can’t help myself; sometimes I just have to take a peek at what the righties are up to. Part of my fascination with social pathology, I suppose. Anyway, after checking some rightie blogs for commentary on the Senate Judiciary Committee NSA hearings, I can report that the most compelling arguments put forth on the Right in defense of the programs are:

1. Democrats are helping the terrorists.
2. The President is right.
3. You gotta problem with that?

Truly, this controversy is less about security than it is about faith. I offer this example from Right Wing Nut House [emphasis added]:

AG Gonzalez acquitted himself well but was at a huge disadvantage. Because of the secrecy of the program, he was unable to reveal details that could have buttressed his case that the Administration’s warrantless interception of American citizen’s communications was inherently legal based on both exceptions to the FISA statute and the authority granted by the President by Congress when that body authorized the use of military force after 9/11.

Such a beautifully pure faith makes one want to weep. If only it weren’t so misplaced.

Not everyone on the Right is a true believer. Via Daou Report, there’s at least one rightie Doubting Thomas, The Lonewacko. See also “Conservative Scholars Argue Bush’s Wiretapping Is An Impeachable Offense” at Think Progress.

Chalres Babington of the Washington Post reports that “activists” of the right and the GOP are splintering on the NSA issue.

GOP lawmakers and political activists were nearly unanimous in backing Bush on his Supreme Court nominations

Um, are we forgetting the Harriet Miers flap?

and Iraq war policy, but they are divided on how to resolve the tension between two principles they hold dear: avoiding government intrusion into private lives, and combating terrorism. The rift became evident at yesterday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing into the surveillance program, and it may reemerge at Thursday’s intelligence committee hearing.

Babington mentions Arlen Specter , Lindsey Graham, and the Cato Institute as among those breaking ranks with the Bush Administration. On the other hand …

Democrats making similar arguments [against the NSA program] have fallen under scathing attacks from some GOP lawmakers. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, put himself at odds with Specter last week after his panel questioned the director of national intelligence and the CIA director about the NSA program.

“I am concerned that some of my Democrat colleagues used this unique public forum to make clear that they believe the gravest threat we face is not Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, but rather the president of the United States,” Roberts said.

The argument could be made. Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda can knock down buildings and kill people, but they can’t destroy the United States itself. The Bush Administration, on the other hand, is destroying our democratic institutions from the inside.

And the White House must be worried. Moonie Times auxiliary publication Insight says that Karl himself is making offers GOP politicians can’t refuse:

The White House has been twisting arms to ensure that no Republican member votes against President Bush in the Senate Judiciary Committee’s investigation of the administration’s unauthorized wiretapping.

Congressional sources said Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove has threatened to blacklist any Republican who votes against the president. The sources said the blacklist would mean a halt in any White House political or financial support of senators running for re-election in November.

Makes you wonder what they’re afraid of, huh?

Mr. Rove is leading the White House campaign to help the GOP in November’s congressional elections. The sources said the White House has offered to help loyalists with money and free publicity, such as appearances and photo-ops with the president.

Those deemed disloyal to Mr. Rove would appear on his blacklist. The sources said dozens of GOP members in the House and Senate are on that list.

So far, only a handful of GOP senators have questioned Mr. Rove’s tactics.

How much political capital does Bush really have, though? Some congresspersons facing re-election this year might think it smarter to establish some distance between themselves and the White House.

See also — Today at 2:10 EST Glenn Greenwald of Unclaimed Territory will be debating John Hinderaker of Power Tool on NPR’s “To the Point.”Should be good. Also recommended, Audio clip: Comments by Michael Isikoff at Newsweek.

Update:
See “What We Heard from the Attorney General” by Senator Russ Feingold at TPM Cafe.

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Rick  •  Feb 7, 2006 @12:59 pm

    At this point I’d opt for falling further down the rabbit hole than where we are headed now…

    You shouldn’t be afraid if you’ve nothing to hide…
    http://www.workingforchange.com/comic.cfm?itemid=20323

  2. justme  •  Feb 7, 2006 @1:40 pm

    Oh the new “faith based” government???The new “faith based” government isn’t about any religion..but more about blind trust in dear leader…….trust us, they say, there are wmd in Iraq, trust us , they say when we find out they are conducting warrant – less eavesdropping in terrorists rather then arrest them, and in the process tap the phones of innocent Americans… but hey trust them!, welcome to the new “faith based” government.

    See why I am so very disappointed Fitzgearld has not dealt with Mr.Rove? I swear it to you,if rove was indicted, The new “faith based” government would fall apart faster then Gw could milk a male horse.

  3. Rebecca Allen, RN, PhD  •  Feb 7, 2006 @1:43 pm

    The notion that Repubs will “want some distance” between themselves and Bush, and thus might resist Rove, is extremely naive. Remember, Rove controls the money, and politicians don’t get elected without money. They’ll all fall in line, no question.

  4. emel  •  Feb 7, 2006 @2:04 pm

    Above posters- go read jane hamsher- see the article about Dickerson and it may make you smile. Seems journalists take comments from administration officials at same time on same day and compare notes and take more comments from officials- making their much admired’discipline’ work against them as in conspiracy.

  5. justme  •  Feb 7, 2006 @3:23 pm

    About the first link to the rightie blog…did you notice the poster thinks the new congress after the election will be the 104th?WOW righties have a counting problem….AND as for the “terrorist bill of rights” …I guess counting is not the only problem the writer has, the fact is ,BUSH himself is making it easy for the terrorists, as long as he keeps wiretapping with no warrant NO COURT in this land will take evidence that was ILLEGALLY obtained.SO number one on the terrorist bill of rights would read: The right to be wiretapped by an idiot too stupid to know any facts gathered against me can’t be used against me……………..

    Number 2 would be: The right to be left on the streets with only a wiretap to protect the American people………isn’t it nice to see our dear leader trusts the terrorists more then Americans?

    Number 3 would be :Terrorists have a right to amend our constitution

    Rush limbaugh’s only hope is a terrorist bill of rights: SOMEONE has to protect the ole bag of wind

    Please feel free to add to this “terrorist bill of rights” as needed

  6. Bill Karl  •  Feb 7, 2006 @4:29 pm

    Hey, Maha, why’d you remove my comment? Guess the only free speech you believe in is your own. Or is it just that you’re humorless?

  7. maha  •  Feb 7, 2006 @5:09 pm

    Hey, Maha, why’d you remove my comment?

    It is standard Mahablog policy to remove comments that consist of nothing but personal, ad hominem or otherwise gratuitous insults directed at me or other commenters. If you have something substantive to say about politics, I’ll consider leaving it up. No promises, though.

    In answer to your earlier question, I am in fact old enough to be your mother.

    Guess the only free speech you believe in is your own.

    I am not a public utility. I pay for the bandwidth on this blog and exercise some editorial control over the comments. This is one of the joys of capitalism, son.

    Or is it just that you’re humorless?

    No, but you are.

  8. Swami  •  Feb 7, 2006 @8:49 pm

    Because of the secrecy of the program, he was unable to reveal details that could have buttressed his case

    Oh, brother! That’s why we refer to them as kool-aid drinkers.
    Buttressed?… I don’t think so.

    This whole defense of the domestic spying program has an amazing similarity to St. Augustine’s treatise on the authority echelon of celestial beings. A brilliant work,except Augustine didn’t account for the powers of Cherubim in times of spiritual warfare..

  9. Donna  •  Feb 7, 2006 @11:42 pm

    If we take stealing-elections-by-computer-hacks out of the equation…..there is nothing the Bush administration, including the hypnotist-snake-trainer Rove, can do to help Republicans up for re-election. This country is angry and deeply disgusted with Bushy reality— Bush team Iraq incompetence, Bush team Katrina incompetence, Bush team drug bill incompetence, Bush team budget incompetence…..all matters that Congressional Republicans aided and abetted.

    The Republicans whom I personally know, over the past year, have simply gone silent [with embarrassment?], whereas before 2005, they would engage in lively defense of Bush team actions.

    Those diehard rightie bloggers understandably grow hysterical.

  10. Steve Nichols  •  Feb 8, 2006 @2:11 am

    Who Will Save America?
    My Epiphany
    By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

    When I saw that the neoconservative response to 9/11 was to turn a war against stateless terrorism into military attacks on Muslim states, I realized that the Bush administration was committing a strategic blunder with open-ended disastrous consequences for the US that, in the end, would destroy Bush, the Republican Party, and the conservative movement.

    In Reagan’s time we did not recognize that neoconservatives had a Jacobin frame of mind. Perhaps we were not paying close enough attention.

    We have reached a point where the Bush administration is determined to totally eclipse the people.

    Having eliminated internal opposition, the Bush administration is now using blackmail obtained through illegal spying on American citizens to silence the media and the opposition party.

    The only reason for the Bush administration to evade the court is that the Bush administration had no legitimate reasons for its spying. This should be obvious even to a naif.

    The only reason for the Bush administration to evade the court is that the Bush administration had no legitimate reasons for its spying. This should be obvious even to a naif.

    One certainty prevails. Bush is committing America to a path of violence and coercion, and he is getting away with it.

    http://counterpunch.org/roberts02062006.html

    He’s claiming that Bush used FISA to obtain blackmail information. If true, that should be the end of Bush.

    At one point Roberts discusses 9/11 and the fact that a steel frame building has never failed due to fire, and three of them came down at free fall speed on 9/11.

  11. debbiehamil  •  Feb 10, 2006 @8:03 am

    Bush is not protecting America by spying on Americans talking to Al Qaeda without a warrant. If an American is talking to Al Qaeda, they need to be investigated, watched, and arrested. Bush is not doing this or they would be getting warrants. Bush is just LISTENING. Big woo. That is reeaaalllly protecting us!!!! Common sense tells us that Bush and his minions are spying on “their” enemies, not “our” enemies.