Kevin Drum has a proposal and a question about Republican concern-trolling over the FISA bill, with authority for surveillance due to lapse at midnight tonight:
Look, if it's that important, there's a simple answer: pass the bill without telecom immunity. Then come back and introduce immunity in a separate bill. If you've got the votes for it, fine. If not, too bad. I'm against immunity myself — though hardly hellbent on the subject — but whichever way the vote went, in the meantime we'd have the FISA extension and surveillance could continue normally.Well, Kevin - there are two simple answers.
But that's not on the table. The supposed grownups in the GOP are, apparently, perfectly happy to play around with "life and death" if it's in the service of a bit of demagogic brinksmanship over telecom immunity. Why?
1) Given the Bush administration's record, do you really think they'll stop all programs authorised by the lapsing bill at midnight tonight? Me neither.
2) Stripping out the telecom immunity to become its own bill would make sense if they were planning to pass the FISA legislation as quickly as possible - but they aren't. Being able to yet again get behind the decades-old electioneering push to call Dems "surrendercrats" is, in their calculus, far more important than passing legislation they say is essential to national security.
Update While pretending to be outraged over the FISA authority lapsing, and actually in an attempt to prevent the House voting on contempt citations for Bolten and Miers, House Republicans staged a walk-out. They even interrupted Tom Lantos' memorial service to do it. The contempt vote passed 223-32 and House Minority Leader John Boehner is now in the position of having voted against a bill yesterday that today he says is essential to America's safety.
See what I mean about demagogic brinkmanship being the whole point?
When it comes down to it, Republicans have proven to be the most immature, whiny, cry-baby-ass brats in public service. I kid you not, and they proved it not once, but twice today.Uh-huh. And that's them playing to their base's strengths.