I don’t know whether or not the new FISA bill will be a sell-out, a capitulation, or a clever strategy, but I do know what bothers me most about it- the framing of its selling. More important than any particular instance, or possible instance, of Democratic weakness is the rationalization for the weakness. It’s not just about Democrats being weak in confronting Bush as a means of proving that they are not weak, it’s that Bush himself is the weakness!
If it had stalled, that would have left Democratic lawmakers, long anxious about appearing weak on national security issues, facing an August spent fending off charges from Republicans that they had left Americans exposed to threats.
And, in a different article, this:
As the debate over the N.S.A.’s wiretapping powers begins anew this week, the emerging legislation reflects the political reality confronting the Democrats. While they are willing to oppose the White House on the conduct of the war in Iraq, they remain nervous that they will be labeled as soft on terrorism if they insist on strict curbs on intelligence gathering.
And this is what infuriates me, because it’s not about weakness, it’s about stupidity. The Democrats need to stop playing political defense on national security issues and start simply referring to the facts. Because the facts prove that it is Bush who is soft on national security, so opposing Bush is not weakness, it is strength.