Monday, January 23, 2006

What did we expect?

Much blog traffic is being devoted to Bush/Cheney/Rove's hubristic (a word?) effort to justify the NSA eavesdropping regime that (after a year's delay and over Bush's protests) the NYT revealed a month ago. They've published legal memos and hit the stump at full stride, guns ablaze, in an all-out campaign to support the manifestly illegal practices.

They have no choice. They were caught red-handed, without deniability, and so have no choice but to go on the offensive, and Rove's announcement that the 2006 midterm campaign will be waged over the "war on terror" is his signal to Congress (with all of the House and 1/3 of the Senate up for re-election) that the Republican membership had better get on board the administration's bus or be left behind when it comes to support from the White House.

The administration has been given a few weeks to present its case uncontested because any hearings (and we don't know what form they'll take) aren't scheduled until February. By that time, the Republicans may have been brow-beaten enough to authorize only limited inquiry, perhaps classified, to help Bush escape without significant injury, or maybe even with support in some wavering segments of the citizenry, who'll hear only how vital the eavesdropping is to US security. And those lawsuits challenging the practice? They may get a decent hearing, but if so, they'll take place long after Bush/Cheney are in retirement and on the lecture circuit.

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