Russell in Wonderland

"Resolved that the United States Senate does hereby censure George W. Bush, president of the United States, and does condemn his unlawful authorization of wiretaps of Americans within the United States without obtaining the court orders required."

Just how stupid is Russ Feingold?

Judging from his quest to censure the President of the United States for acting appropriately under the Constitution and Congressional legislation, he is stupid enough to sabotage the coming Feingold Administration that exists alone in his own addled mind.

For the sake of argument let's say swine soar, the Cubs win the World Series and Sen. Feingold is elected President in 2008. On January 21, 2009, National Security Adviser Jamie Gorelick briefs President Feingold about chatter the FBI has picked up about an immediate threat to bring down the Sears Tower with a bomb or a hijacked plane, followed by the detonation of a nuclear device on Michigan Avenue.

'Well, of course,' says President Feingold, 'we must go to the FISA court and get the appropriate warrants to tap phones and listen in on these conversations.'

'But Mr. President,' Ms. Gorelick interjects, 'there really isn't time for that. That could take weeks. Remember, it's not illegal to put a tap on if these calls are out of the country...'

'You know, just think what that monarch Bush did. Tapping the phones of American citizens! I will not stand for that and we can still handle these threats. Nothing will probably happen anyway. Just a bunch of nut jobs acting bold. The Bill of Rights was not repealed on September 11!'

'But Mr. President...'

'This is America! I don't care if Bush got some perverse pleasure of seeing what Aunt Minnny was checking out at the library! We won't give up our civil liberties under my watch!'

'But Mr. President...'

If you think that is overstating the case, just remember to whom President Feingold would be beholden and what their reaction would be should he ever, you know, act in defense of the security of the nation post haste. Just remember with whom he is currying favor by performing this little stunt of a censure proposal. This tableau is not unlike the class nerd offering to do the star quarterback's homework all year long.

To paraphrase a line from Tom Cruise's character in A Few Good Men, Sen. Feingold must have been absent the day they taught law in law school, if reviewing his censure proposal is any indicator. Confederate Yankee gives a detailed cyber—slap to Sen. Feingold, summarized below.

On the first charge of the President violating the law by wiretapping Americans within the United States, Sen. Feingold — nor anyone else — has been unable to cite one case in which the administration or executive agencies has listened in on conversations between domestic parties. The NSA surveillance program intercepts conversations outside of the United States.

On the second charge of President Bush misleading the nation as to the existence of the surveillance program, the President of the United States is under no legal or constitutional obligation to announce to the public — and the enemy — the existence of such a program. It begs the question: If indeed he became President Feingold, would Russ Feingold announce every secret surveillance program he authorized?

Sen. Feingold claims that the President has mislead the nation as to the legality of the program and purposely sought to break the law. But as Fred Barnes pointed out on Special Report with Brit Hume on Monday evening, at the very least a legal argument can be made that this surveillance program is legal — that's at the very least. The program has yet to be adjudicated and various Justice Department lawyers have cited existing case law (In re: Sealed Case, Hamdi v. Rumsfeld) that warrants are not necessary for international surveillance.

It is difficult to say how many attacks have been foiled because of this program. In theory, perhaps none have been foiled. Yet one sleeps much better at night knowing that these animals that want to inflict the most painful suffering and death to our nation are being watched — and heard. That this is happening without any civil liberties being violated is gravy and proves that, at least in this instance, the administration has all its bases covered no matter what the narrow media or myopic Democrats might have you think.

Censuring the President for acting lawfully in the defense of the nation by intercepting conversations of known agents of our enemy is a cheap political stunt by a cheap politician. If it is also the opening salvo of a presidential campaign, it is a stark preview of a losing campaign. Here is a little tip for Sen. Feingold that might help him as he heads into 2008: George Bush isn't running again.

To win the presidency in 2008, a candidate — any candidate — needs to explain to the American people how he or she will protect the nation from harm. That is the first and chief obligation of the President of the United States. Nothing else comes remotely close. Censuring the current President for merely doing his job isn't going to cut it. Tying your own hands before your own election won't cut it, either. Self—immolation is not a winning strategy.

Matt May is the proprietor the Matt May blog.  

"Resolved that the United States Senate does hereby censure George W. Bush, president of the United States, and does condemn his unlawful authorization of wiretaps of Americans within the United States without obtaining the court orders required."

Just how stupid is Russ Feingold?

Judging from his quest to censure the President of the United States for acting appropriately under the Constitution and Congressional legislation, he is stupid enough to sabotage the coming Feingold Administration that exists alone in his own addled mind.

For the sake of argument let's say swine soar, the Cubs win the World Series and Sen. Feingold is elected President in 2008. On January 21, 2009, National Security Adviser Jamie Gorelick briefs President Feingold about chatter the FBI has picked up about an immediate threat to bring down the Sears Tower with a bomb or a hijacked plane, followed by the detonation of a nuclear device on Michigan Avenue.

'Well, of course,' says President Feingold, 'we must go to the FISA court and get the appropriate warrants to tap phones and listen in on these conversations.'

'But Mr. President,' Ms. Gorelick interjects, 'there really isn't time for that. That could take weeks. Remember, it's not illegal to put a tap on if these calls are out of the country...'

'You know, just think what that monarch Bush did. Tapping the phones of American citizens! I will not stand for that and we can still handle these threats. Nothing will probably happen anyway. Just a bunch of nut jobs acting bold. The Bill of Rights was not repealed on September 11!'

'But Mr. President...'

'This is America! I don't care if Bush got some perverse pleasure of seeing what Aunt Minnny was checking out at the library! We won't give up our civil liberties under my watch!'

'But Mr. President...'

If you think that is overstating the case, just remember to whom President Feingold would be beholden and what their reaction would be should he ever, you know, act in defense of the security of the nation post haste. Just remember with whom he is currying favor by performing this little stunt of a censure proposal. This tableau is not unlike the class nerd offering to do the star quarterback's homework all year long.

To paraphrase a line from Tom Cruise's character in A Few Good Men, Sen. Feingold must have been absent the day they taught law in law school, if reviewing his censure proposal is any indicator. Confederate Yankee gives a detailed cyber—slap to Sen. Feingold, summarized below.

On the first charge of the President violating the law by wiretapping Americans within the United States, Sen. Feingold — nor anyone else — has been unable to cite one case in which the administration or executive agencies has listened in on conversations between domestic parties. The NSA surveillance program intercepts conversations outside of the United States.

On the second charge of President Bush misleading the nation as to the existence of the surveillance program, the President of the United States is under no legal or constitutional obligation to announce to the public — and the enemy — the existence of such a program. It begs the question: If indeed he became President Feingold, would Russ Feingold announce every secret surveillance program he authorized?

Sen. Feingold claims that the President has mislead the nation as to the legality of the program and purposely sought to break the law. But as Fred Barnes pointed out on Special Report with Brit Hume on Monday evening, at the very least a legal argument can be made that this surveillance program is legal — that's at the very least. The program has yet to be adjudicated and various Justice Department lawyers have cited existing case law (In re: Sealed Case, Hamdi v. Rumsfeld) that warrants are not necessary for international surveillance.

It is difficult to say how many attacks have been foiled because of this program. In theory, perhaps none have been foiled. Yet one sleeps much better at night knowing that these animals that want to inflict the most painful suffering and death to our nation are being watched — and heard. That this is happening without any civil liberties being violated is gravy and proves that, at least in this instance, the administration has all its bases covered no matter what the narrow media or myopic Democrats might have you think.

Censuring the President for acting lawfully in the defense of the nation by intercepting conversations of known agents of our enemy is a cheap political stunt by a cheap politician. If it is also the opening salvo of a presidential campaign, it is a stark preview of a losing campaign. Here is a little tip for Sen. Feingold that might help him as he heads into 2008: George Bush isn't running again.

To win the presidency in 2008, a candidate — any candidate — needs to explain to the American people how he or she will protect the nation from harm. That is the first and chief obligation of the President of the United States. Nothing else comes remotely close. Censuring the current President for merely doing his job isn't going to cut it. Tying your own hands before your own election won't cut it, either. Self—immolation is not a winning strategy.

Matt May is the proprietor the Matt May blog.