Friday, March 17, 2006

It's Legal, !#$%^&* It

Byron York does everybody the evidently perpetually needed favor of reminding all of us, yet again, that the NSA terrorist surveillance program is legal. L-E-G-A-L. As in "not against the frakking law." Permissible by statute. In letter and spirit. It's okay to do. Fine and dandy.

Not that it's of much use anymore given how thoroughly it's been compromised over the past three months - or how additionally watered down it's become after Congress got through with it:

[In]explicable is [last] week's White House mugging by Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee over warrantless wiretaps of al Qaeda by the National Security Agency. On this one, Republicans were winning, the polls showed public support, and everyone outside the fever swamps had dropped their "impeachment" fantasies.

Nonetheless, a couple of GOP Senators forced the White House into conceding more Congressional oversight of wartime intelligence programs. Olympia Snowe of Maine and Chuck Hagel of Nebraska vowed to join Democrats in voting for a full-scale Senate probe of the NSA wiretaps unless President Gulliver bent to their wishes. Such a vote would have humiliated their Chairman, Kansas Republican Pat Roberts, at a minimum. But it would also have risked exposing intelligence sources and methods in a way that could have made the wiretap program less effective, if not entirely worthless.

Faced with this ultimatum from Lilliput, the White House agreed to let the Senate, and presumably also the House, set up a new subcommittee to oversee the NSA program. That means seven more Senators (and more in the House) will at any one time have to be briefed on the program, in addition to the eight Members of Congress who already are. Given committee rotation, this means dozens of more tight-lipped Members will have access to the details of one of the country's most highly classified programs. Of course, none of them will ever leak.


Remember the Democrat-RINO Senate majority I mentioned last year after the "memo of understanding" debacle? It's as powerful and entrenched as ever, judging by the above, Olympia Snowe's prescription drug price controls, and the gutting of the Presidents tax cuts and meager budget savings this week. And like I said then, so say I now: There's no such thing as electing "enough" Republicans because there will always be just enough RINOs to negate the remainder. You could conceivably get a hundred Republicans elected to the Senate, and you'd still have fifty-one go native and keep pulling stunts like this. It just isn't arguable anymore.

And where did this latest spasm of "moderation" get us? Russ Feingold feeling his oats. And while Cap'n Ed makes a compelling argument for Senator Censure being a 2006 Godsend for beleaguered Republicans, go back and re-read that Quin Hillyer link, then ask yourself how long the backfire of Feingold's stunt will linger versus the disgruntlement festering among a growing number of conservatives. I can see cons like Hillyer and Larry Kudlow adapting a "Let 'em impeach Bush" stance as easily as they have the "Let 'em lose" mentality against congressional GOPers. And all out of a bellyfull of spiteful, pretentious jiltedness.

There is an old saying a lot of Pachyderms seem to have forgotten: Never underestimate the ability of conservatives to commit political suicide.

Unfortunately, this time they would be, by surrendering the country to the Extreme Left, be taking the country itself down with them.