December 20, 2005


Bush Insists on Tools to Fight Terror: The president sharply defends domestic spying without court approval and calls Senate's failure to renew the Patriot Act 'inexcusable.' (Edwin Chen and Janet Hook, December 20, 2005, LA Times)

In an unusually personal challenge, he called on Democratic senators from California, Nevada and New York to justify their votes to delay the law's extension. "I want senators from New York or Los Angeles or Las Vegas to go home and explain why these cities are safer," Bush said.

Bush's pugnacious performance in the nearly hourlong news conference seemed a contrast to Sunday evening, when he delivered a televised speech on the war in Iraq that was notable for its conciliatory tone toward his critics.

On Monday, the president was talking not about Iraq, on which his policies are widely unpopular, but about law enforcement measures against suspected terrorists in the United States — an issue on which he has won, and held, consistent public support.

With such a large majority of Americans and a majority in the Congress supporting renewal of the Patriot Act he could hardly pick a better issue to face off with the Democratic leadership over.

President Takes the Offensive With Press (Michael A. Fletcher, December 20, 2005, Washington Post)

News conferences have never been President Bush's favorite venue, which is probably the main reason he's held fewer than any modern president. But any discomfort he felt yesterday was for the most part well concealed.

In the face of repeated skeptical questions on the Iraq war and whether he acted within the law in ordering a domestic spying program, Bush apparently decided that a passionate offense was his best defense. In a morning event in the White House East Room, he answered questions for 56 minutes, sometimes conveying humor, sometimes impatience, but never anything less than full confidence in his own answers. [...]

The morning's dominant impression was of a president who feels so strongly about his own presidential prerogatives that he was ready to take on all comers who might disagree.

CIVIL LIBERTIES & SECURITY: DEMS FOR TERROR (Dick Morris, December 20, 2005, NY Post)
ANYONE who wonders whether the Democratic Party in general and Sen. Hillary Clinton in particular are really tough on terror — or are just posing for the cameras — needs to look at the vote by the entire Democratic Senate delegation (excepting only Nebraska's Ben Nelson and South Dakota's Tim Johnson) to prevent closure of their filibuster against the Patriot Act extension. [...]

One of the key provisions due to expire in two weeks is one that President Bill Clinton presented as the cornerstone of his response to the escalation of terrorism in the wake of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

The measure allows "roving wiretaps" — so that the FBI can tap all phones a suspect uses, rather than just one specific number. Hillary's vote to let this provision expire is incredible.

Back in the '90s, the Republican-controlled Congress refused to enact the legislation promptly — and the Clintons excoriated the GOP for dragging its feet on this vital proposal.

It's no coincidence that Larry Craig is the leader of Republicans opposing the current measure, his state being a locus of white separatist movements.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 20, 2005 1:23 PM


No agenda here. Unbelievable.

Posted by: AWW at December 20, 2005 1:34 PM

Sorry, I pasted the following "On Monday, the president was talking not about Iraq, on which his policies are widely unpopular"

Posted by: AWW at December 20, 2005 1:35 PM

re: Larry Craig comment.

So what's Sununu's excuse?

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at December 20, 2005 3:14 PM

Sununu's Lebanese heritage? Maybe his folks talk to Lebanon a lot.

Posted by: erp at December 20, 2005 4:06 PM

Sununu's state is a locus of Eastern Standard Time Zone isolationist movements.

Posted by: joe shropshire at December 20, 2005 4:13 PM