The Editorials of E. Desiderius

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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

A Time For Resolutions, Not Silence

In cliché Beltway terms, Senator Russ Feingold has been Swift-Boated by not just the Republicans, but by his own party, not to mention commentators from all across the ideological spectrum. A March 17th NY Times editorial declared firmly that this is “A Time For Facts, Not Resolutions” [1] The New Republic’s Ryan Lizza calls Feingold an “ass” and accuses him of shameless moving left to set himself up for a presidential run. [2]. And these are left-of-center publications. Never mind what is being said of Feingold on the right.

This author fully comprehends the political risks the Democrats would be running in endorsing such a measure, and also realizes that their one and only true desire is a stab at regaining power in the House or Senate in November. However, Feingold’s motion is preferable to allowing this issue to quietly slip from the news cycles, to be buried by the time of the mid-term elections. Senate Republicans on the Judiciary Committee insisted that Alberto Gonzales’ testimony be unsworn and immune from prosecution for perjury, meanwhile Senator Pat Roberts is stalling the investigation in the Intelligence Committee. Further, there is talk of altering of the FISA law to provide legal cover for the administration (apparently, ex post facto means as little to Congress as the Fourth Amendment or the FISA law). In short, Congressional Republicans simply cannot be trusted. And while Senator Arlen Specter is clearly uncomfortable with the program, his record of courageously taking a stand against his party is unfortunately weak at best.

At the center of this is an issue of utmost importance: executive power and limited government. For all the Republican rhetoric on small government over the years, they have shown no commitment to the most vital part of limited government: restrictions on the government ability to intrude into the private lives of private citizens.

And the Democrats have once again allowed the Republicans to paint them into a corner. Republicans are the party that wants to catch terrorists and bravely protect American lives, Democrats would let Al-Qaida operatives run amuck all for the sake of such trivialities like civil liberties. This is, of course, another false dichotomy. The Federal Government, under the Bush Administration circumvented the law, overstepped their authority, and violated the safeguards that prevent abuses of power. Nothing is simpler. The federal government, if it wanted to intercept communications from a suspected individual, had the tools necessary within the bounds of the law (the law allowed them to seek approval and a warrant retroactively!) and the simply chose not to.

This author applauds Senator Feingold’s resolution.

-E Desiderius

Related Articles:

Washington Post: Possible Clue on NSA Spying
The Nation: A Perculiar Politican
MSNBC/Newsweek: Democrat’s Dilema
TNR Online: Russ Feingold’s Selfish Move
NY Times: A Time For Facts, Not Resolutions

Posted by George Gordon | Tuesday, March 21, 2006 | E-mail this post

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