Sunday, August 05, 2007

Pelosi Blinks

Just as a short review, here was House Speakerette Nancy Pelosi's FISA dilemma as it existed late Friday night:

If Pelosi does push this bill through, which she almost certainly has to, she will send her members home after the vote for their August recess to face a base that will be just as angry, just as ramped up as the Republican base by and large was during the recent immigration debate. Will she have the courage to stand up to her kook fringe and do what’s right? Will she be able to regain control of the reins of the House of Representatives after she so badly mismanaged it this week? Or is she so beholden to powerful lobbies within the Democratic base that she will turn her back on the national security of the country to placate the left wing fringe?

I called it a "rhetorical question," believing that placating the lunatic left nutroots would be her obvious default choice. But that was before (or at least concurrent with) the eruption over her caucus' attempt to steal a vote on denying illegal aliens access to agricultural subsidies that blew up so fast and so throughly that she had to agree to a formal bipartisan investigation of the incident.

Caught in that self-imposed public relations hammerlock, what to do about the White House-demanded FISA legislation became a bitter fait accompli:
The Democratic-controlled House last night approved legislation President Bush's intelligence advisers wrote to enhance their ability to intercept the electronic communications of foreigners without a court order.

The 227 to 183 House vote capped a high-pressure campaign by the White House to change the nation's wiretap law, in which the Administration capitalized on Democrats' fears of being branded weak on terrorism and on Congress's desire to act on the issue before its August recess.

The Senate had passed the legislation Friday night after House Democrats failed to win enough votes to pass a narrower revision of a statute known as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The original statute was enacted after the revelation of CIA abuses in the 1970s, and it required judicial oversight for most federal wiretapping conducted in the United States.

Yeah, the so-called "Blue Dogs" - or "DINOs," as the Kos-hacks would call them if they didn't all have terminal Touret's Syndrome - played a pivotal role in this critical national security victory. It's a little-known principle called "Looking out for #1." That group of "slightly less insane liberal" Democrats like being in Congress as part of the majority and realize that letting themselves be completely assimilated into the hive by making a high-profile point of leaving the NSA terrorist surveillance program shut down as it effectively has been for the entire calendar year would not be very conducive to keeping that plumb gig.

Of course, the fact that this majority has left that state of affairs in place even this long is going to weigh heavily against the "Blue Dogs" should we get hit big in the homeland again. But the latter has helped do what it can to limit that political damage.

They wouldn't have gotten the chance at all if Michael McNulty didn't have a hair-trigger gavel wrist. An encouraging confirmation that reports of the death of poetic justice have, after all, been profoundly premature.