Jim Henley on Barack Obama’s lack of leadership on FISA: “If the House and Senate leadership really did sneak the bill past him last week, which I’m not inclined to believe, still nothing stopped him from shutting them down this week. Except if he either doesn’t consider it important enough to be worth his time and credibility, or if he’s just as happy that the measure might pass.” And of course if I were Barack Obama it’s very possible that I wouldn’t think giving the executive branch unlimited surveillance powers was a bad idea at all — I’m going to be president in a few months.
For the rest of us, this is a concern. But it’s still baffling to me how little concern congressional Republicans seem to have about this. It’s not that I expect logical consistency to restrain them — they complained about Bill Clinton’s expansions of executive power in the 1990s then turned on a dime when Bush entered office and they’ll turn again in 2009. But while they’ll be able to whine about the inevitable abuses Bush-era policymaking has opened the door to, they won’t actually be able to do anything about it. Meanwhile, I guess I hope President Obama uses his powers responsibly, but on some level I’m sort of rooting for massive abuses so the right can get what they’ve been asking for.
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