Post-literate Congress

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I have the Alito hearings on the tube as I write this.  Leahy is hectoring Alito on the warrantless "spying" by the administration and he is getting very worked up about it.

Which brings up an interesting point.  Dan Quayle — much underestimated in my view — wrote an entertaining autobiography about 10 years ago called Standing Firm (the book was most interesting in part because he used it to settle scores).

In his book, he made an arresting point that has stayed with me.  "Nobody in Congress reads."  Wow.  This is from the horse's mouth because he had a career in Congress.

"Instead of reading, they are briefed."  Quayle made this point to explain the shallow level of debate on substance that you hear in Washington.  Once you have this insight, you "see" it everywhere. 

Did Kerry read the intelligence on Iraq before the October 2002 vote?  No.  By his own admission, he went to the Pentagon to be briefed on it.  In fact, the monitors for the National Intelligence Estimate said that only 6 senators actually read the 96 page intelligence document (although more read the 5 page summary)!!

Now I am listening to Leahy hector Alito on warrantless wiretaps.  He is implying that the administration is out of control.  However, we at AT and others have already shown that warrantless wiretaps were expressly allowed in FISA, leaving aside whether FISA applied in this situation.  

Leahy is able to be so self—righteous on this point because I very strongly suspect he hasn't read the relevant documents and is very likely unaware that they provide for warrantless wiretaps, or at least that that point is very much in dispute.

Greg Richards  1 11 06

I have the Alito hearings on the tube as I write this.  Leahy is hectoring Alito on the warrantless "spying" by the administration and he is getting very worked up about it.

Which brings up an interesting point.  Dan Quayle — much underestimated in my view — wrote an entertaining autobiography about 10 years ago called Standing Firm (the book was most interesting in part because he used it to settle scores).

In his book, he made an arresting point that has stayed with me.  "Nobody in Congress reads."  Wow.  This is from the horse's mouth because he had a career in Congress.

"Instead of reading, they are briefed."  Quayle made this point to explain the shallow level of debate on substance that you hear in Washington.  Once you have this insight, you "see" it everywhere. 

Did Kerry read the intelligence on Iraq before the October 2002 vote?  No.  By his own admission, he went to the Pentagon to be briefed on it.  In fact, the monitors for the National Intelligence Estimate said that only 6 senators actually read the 96 page intelligence document (although more read the 5 page summary)!!

Now I am listening to Leahy hector Alito on warrantless wiretaps.  He is implying that the administration is out of control.  However, we at AT and others have already shown that warrantless wiretaps were expressly allowed in FISA, leaving aside whether FISA applied in this situation.  

Leahy is able to be so self—righteous on this point because I very strongly suspect he hasn't read the relevant documents and is very likely unaware that they provide for warrantless wiretaps, or at least that that point is very much in dispute.

Greg Richards  1 11 06