WASHINGTON, Oct. 8 — Two months after insisting that they would roll back broad eavesdropping powers won by the Bush administration, Democrats in Congress appear ready to make concessions that could extend some crucial powers given to the National Security Agency.
Administration officials say they are confident they will win approval of the broadened authority that they secured temporarily in August as Congress rushed toward recess. Some Democratic officials concede that they may not come up with enough votes to stop approval.
As the debate over the eavesdropping powers of the National Security Agency begins anew this week, the emerging measures reflect the reality confronting the Democrats.
That is as far as I got when I got hit with my own realization that I am sometimes too naive for my own good because the next line of the article says:
Although willing to oppose the White House on the Iraq war, they remain nervous that they will be called soft on terrorism if they insist on strict curbs on gathering intelligence.
The right decision for the country is being made for the wrong reasons.
Not to keep us safe, not to protect us from known dangers, but because they do not want to be portrayed as "weak".
No one is willing to predict with certainty how the question will play out. Some Congressional officials and others monitoring the debate said the final result might not be much different from the result in August, despite the Democrats’ insistence that they would not let stand the extension of the powers.
“Many members continue to fear that if they don’t support whatever the president asks for, they’ll be perceived as soft on terrorism,” said William Banks, a professor who specializes in terrorism and national security law at Syracuse University and who has written extensively on federal wiretapping laws.
If they would have stood up and declared, "We are doing this to protect the country because we have information that you, the American people, do not".. they could have, actually gained some grudging respect from people like me as well as some of their own supporters.
The bill to be proposed Tuesday by the Democratic leaders of the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees would impose more controls over the N.S.A.’s powers, including quarterly audits by the Justice Department’s inspector general. It would also give the foreign intelligence court a role in approving, in advance, “basket” or “umbrella” warrants for bundles of overseas communications, according to a Congressional official.
“We are giving the N.S.A. what it legitimately needs for national security but with far more limitations and protections than are in the Protect America Act,” said Brendan Daly, a spokesman for Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California. (Source)
The Democratic politicians could also have avoided the backlash this is going to create from their supporters, or at least most of it because they would have preempted it with the aforementioned declaration.
Instead, we are seeing their far left liberal supporters throw a hissy fit.
I Officially Give up On the Democrats.
The answer is at the end of the article. Interest groups that are working closely with the Democrats explain their primary concern - being called weak on terror. But don't you see, you are weak! Miserably weak. Not because of any actions you might or might not have taken on the war on terror, but because you keep caving into an administration that has no political capital because you don't have the nerve to fight for your principles.
How is it possible to have any respect for these Democrats? Every day, I struggle not to call them cowards and weaklings. And every day they make it harder. They are truly pathetic. I'm so tired of encouraging them to grow a backbone. It's a hopeless struggle. I give up.
The comment section of this Huffpo piece is even worse.
This is what I wrote to Pelosi. I tried to be nice but it�"s hard when your country is dying:
Gee, Speaker Pelosi, thanks for abandoning my constitutional rights. Why don�"t you and the rest of the Democratic Party just kiss George W. Bush�"s posterior on national television? It�"s bad enough you took impeachment off the table for the most corrupt administration in US history, but now you sell my rights down the river because you and the rest of my once-beloved party are afraid you�"ll look like pussies on national security. I�"m trying to be civil but don�"t get your hopes up. I voted Democratic to change this situation in our government, not to keep the status quo. I, and many other Dems, am at the point now where I can see no difference between you and the Repubs in Congress, and since I see no difference I, and many other Dems, will sit at home in November 2008. Why elect pseudo-Republicans when I can sit back and watch real Republicans get elected? I expect THEM to violate my civil rights, but I never expected my own party to stab me in the back. And please do not respond with another one of your lame excuses saying how the war on terror has made it difficult to balance my rights with national security. My rights ARE the national security of this country. Grow a spine, dammit. You�"ve got the American public behind you. Stop worrying that GWB might say something bad about you. What happened to my Fighting Democratic Party, or are you all a bunch of corporate losers now?
That is just the very first comment, they get worse.
It is obviously a question of leadership in the Democratic Party that is the problem. There needs to be a revolt because Reid and Pelosi are incompotent bafoons. They lack the balls to fight like the Repugs did the past 12 years. We
need strong advocates for Democratic principles. Play these punks on the right with their own game, communicate with one strong voice. Unfortunetly, there are dozens of Conservative Democrats that will fight because they feel the need to please their voters.
am getting more and more pissed off by the day. Those fu**ing Dems are a bunch of spineless sh*ts! Why won't they stand up to the most unpopular president in the history of this nation! If they don't get moving soon I am never voting for a Democrat again.
Leave it to the weak kneed, spineless dems to pull defeat out of the mouth of victory once again.
I hate the bastards. I will not be voting for them in the next election.
The lesser of two evils, is still evil and I will not give anyone permission to take away my constitutionsl rights. Screw them. They are worse than the republicans.
That was just a sample and I only scrolled through the first EIGHT out of 225 (at 7:52 am, AZ timezone), but I think you get the point.
From Daily kos:
Yet in the face of all this and so much more, Congressional Democrats will give George Bush both a "get out of jail free" card and a green light to continue spitting on the Constitution because they don't want to look weak? If they do decide to roll over on this one, here's a suggestion on how to avoid that: keep away from mirrors.
Brainless at Breakfast adds a "conspiracy theory" to the mix:
I for one am sick of this. Every time the Democrats in the Senate and House cave on an issue like this, they reaffirm the stereotype that they are simply not tough enough to deal with the realities of today's world. That stereotype is based on an erroneous impression of a supposed lack of toughness in dealing with terrorism, but when they refuse to fight on any issue EVEN THOUGH IT'S THE RIGHT THING TO DO -- just because they're "afraid of being called soft on terrorism."
By whom? Rush Limbaugh? Ann Coulter? Tim Russert? Senate Republicans? Do these people not have mouths? Are they so stupid that they cannot articulate why giving the government broad, sweeping power to eavesdrop on every aspect of our lives is completely inconsistent with what this country was founded to be?
There are a few possibilities here: One is that the Administration has already used its broad eavesdropping power to gather dirt on every Democrat in Congress -- and is prepared to use it if they don't fall in line. Another is that they're afraid the next bogus intelligence about a planned attack on the Capitol won't be bogus -- or will be allowed to play out -- in which case they owe it to us to tell us. The third and most horrific possibility is that the Democrats also want to give the president unlimited eavesdropping power. And if that's the case, then why should we reward a party that's marching towards fascism as quickly as the Republicans are?
You can keep up with their perpetual "outrage", once again, at memeorandum.
Prairie Pundit puts it perfectly:
It would be nice if it were wisdom rather than cowardice that led the Democrats to do the right thing on the enemy intercept authority, but that is probably too much from this lot. The Democrats' opposition to the measure was always unreasonable in the extreme in war time. It was very likely responsible for the delay in the hunt for the kidnapped US troops in Iraq.
The ridiculousness of this argument simply amazes me. Having the tools to protect us as a nation, in a time of war, shouldn't even be an issue.
Saving lives, stopping potential terror plots and National Security, means nothing to those whining about this.... they are more worried about being able to communicate with terrorists, when they aren't even communicating with them.
They are simply pissing and moaning to be able to piss and moan.
The ONLY people these tools will hurt, are those communicating with terrorists.
They cry about their civil liberties and yet not one person has been able to answer when we ask them, "How has this had a negative impact on you, personally?"
They cannot answer that because it has not impacted their lives at all.
They don't want to communicate with terrorists, they simply want the "right" to communicate with them, if they so chose to.
Do they not understand how silly that sounds?
All FISA related posts from Wake up America on one page here.