Julie with a B

Tuesday, December 20, 2005
That wire tapping issue - -
So much commentary, so little time. I will just add my voice to those who are asking why he didn't ask Congress. There is a whole process in place for doing wire-taps expediently and then going back with a notification process. There is no reason not to do it. Except: Hubris
He says he did it because he can; he's the President.
There are many good editorials on this asking some good questions. For a balanced approach, I suggest George Will at the WaPo. He gives it a little history and a conservative spin. (GASP!! JulieB what are you doing???) Why? Well, I liked his advice at the end of the column.
On the assumption that Congress or a court would have been cooperative in September 2001, and that the cooperation could have kept necessary actions clearly lawful without conferring any benefit on the nation's enemies, the president's decision to authorize the NSA's surveillance without the complicity of a court or Congress was a mistake. Perhaps one caused by this administration's almost metabolic urge to keep Congress unnecessarily distant and hence disgruntled.

Charles de Gaulle, a profound conservative, said of another such, Otto von Bismarck -- de Gaulle was thinking of Bismarck not pressing his advantage in 1870 in the Franco-Prussian War -- that genius sometimes consists of knowing when to stop. In peace and in war, but especially in the latter, presidents have pressed their institutional advantages to expand their powers to act without Congress. This president might look for occasions to stop pressing.

I admit he does spoil it a bit for the conservative side by quoting the deplorable French, but at least it was a French conservative.


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