Bush's Loyal Servant
In the beginning the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter was angered by the domestic surveillance program authorized by President Bush. Back in May of 2006 Specter was reported to say,
There is some need for some oversight by Congress to assert its authority here. What's the point of having a statute if...the president can cherry-pick what he likes and what he doesn't like?"In the beginning,
Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he would conduct hearings on the warrantless monitoring of international phone calls, faxes and emails of U.S. citizens or residents since 2002.
But as this paragraph started that was in the beginning. And since then, many things have changed...in the begining there was an aire of determination.
At the beginning of the end, as there really is no middle to this tale, the once determined Arlen Specter was and is no longer. As the end approaches we have learned that
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter reversed course Tuesday, announcing he will not call on phone company executives to testify on their cooperation with the government in a secret eavesdropping program run by the National Security Agency.
Reversed course? Sounds like Specter has lost his way...the determined senator became the broken senator. His concern has given way to cowardice? Or maybe apathy? Wait he did say,
"I categorically reject the idea I'm backing off."
Wait a minute, maybe Specter is still determined. Maybe he isn't a coward after he publicly criticized Vice President Dick Cheney and the administration in his three page letter(.pdf). Well he did, did he not...
"I'm not accusing anybody of anything. And I'm not saying the vice president acted in bad faith...
I don't think the president has acted in bad faith here. I think he is functioning on something which he thinks needs to be done to protect the country. But he doesn't have a blank check. He's not the final word. We have a Constitution. The Constitution says that the Congress has oversight. And, on a constitutional issue, that's the Judiciary Committee.
Now is that determination or what? I mean maybe I'm being a little rough on Arlen. Maybe he isn't the loyal servant and ripe for the derision represented in my cartoon.
Maybe he isn't...or maybe he is when one takes into consideration that Arlen Specter has decided to offer a sweeping compromise on proposed NSA legislation. According to this report,
[t]he new proposal specifies that it cannot "be construed to limit the constitutional authority of the President to gather foreign intelligence information or monitor the activities and communications of any person reasonably believed to be associated with a foreign enemy of the United States."It goes on furhter to state,
[a]nother part of the Specter bill would grant blanket amnesty to anyone who authorized warrantless surveillance under presidential authority, a provision that seems to ensure that no one would be held criminally liable if the current program is found illegal under present law.
Reads to me like I was correct about Arlen, despite my waffling in the previous paragraph. It looks like Specter is a very undetermined coward and loyal servant of King George, the Decider-in-chief who clearly believes "the president can cherry-pick what he likes and what he doesn't like."
Arlen Specter, President Bush, Senate Judiciary Committee, National Security Agency, NSA, Dick Cheney, King George, Decider-in-chief, The Constitution