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Friday, February 29, 2008

House to Revisit FISA After Break?

The political miscalculation that the Democrats hav made regarding warrantless wiretapping will rival that of Rudy's fifty state strategy in my opinion. By leaving for break without extending the law, they have left themselves wide open to further criticism that they can't be trusted on national security.

Now comes this story from the Weekly Standard. The Dems are reportedly ready to act however they haven't reconciled yet with the Senate version. The House is insistent on not extending liability protection for compliant phone companies. This is an advertisement campaign waiting to happen.

Liberals in the House are unwilling to extend liability protection to telecommunications companies that facilitated surveillance on suspected terrorists operating abroad. Quin Hillyer looks at the lawsuits that House Democrats are insisting go forward:

It is unclear what the Dems think they will accomplish, however they are quickly driving for a resolution that would allow this bill to be passed in roughly the form the President wants, only it will be passed after a recess. By doing this, the Dems will be painted as not serious about national security. Keep in mind that the temporary FISA bill expired. If they wait until after the recess to pass largely the exact same bill, they will rightly be painted as totally unserious about national security. The irony is that the options get worse from there. They can let this drag on and turn it into a front burner issue and really be painted as unserious. They can refuse to pass it at all and turn this program into a critical election issue. (Keep in mind that Obama and McCain each take opposing views of this) That is pretty much it for the Dems, worse, even worse, and worst.

Frankly, their options only get worse from there. They could drag this out and allow this to become a front burner issue. This will make it even easier to paint the party as unserious about national security. They can attempt to pass this bill without protection for phone companies though that would never make it out of the Senate.

Their options are limited to bad and worse. That's because they played to their looney base that hates warrantless wiretapping and anything, frankly, resembling aggressive GWOT prosecution. By doing so, they left themselves wide open to be painted as weak on national security, and so far they are doing nothing to change that perception.

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