September 25, 2006

The InSpecter General Returns

Hatched by Dafydd

First, it was Sens. John McCain (R-AZ, 80%), Lindsay Graham (R-SC, 96%), Susan Collins (R-ME, 32%), and John Warner (R-VA, 88%); they collectively defined what John and Paul at Power Line have aptly begun calling the "terrorist rights wing" of the Republican Party.

Then we started hearing the names of Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-ME, 32%), Mike DeWine (R-OH, 56%), and Lincoln Chafee (R-RI, 12%) bandied about. (Do I bandy a woman's name? I do indeed, sir!)

Then McCain cut a deal with the White House, and the first batch faded; control of the terrorist-rights wing passed to the minor-leaguers in the second paragraph. They sought a leader; they virtually cried out for a knight in shining armor to ride roughshod over the power-mad American crusaders who would trample the rights of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), merely to save a paltry few thousand American lives.

And now, the Great Man himself has stepped forward into the void, the vacuum, to seize the laurel wreath (that was tentatively offered to the hightest bidder) and crush it firmly upon his crown, crushing with the might of ten men, because his heart is evenly divided between ten different positions.

The new leader of the terrorist-rights wing is none other than... Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA, 63%), the InSpecter General himself!

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said Sunday he has a problem with the Republican agreement on rules for the interrogation and trial of suspects in the war on terror.

President Bush is pushing Congress to put the agreement into law before adjourning for the midterm elections, but Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said Sunday he "vigorously" disagrees with the habeas corpus provision of the bill.

The provision would allow legal counsel and a day in court to only those detainees selected by the Pentagon for prosecution. Other terror suspects could be held indefinitely without a hearing.

"The courts have traditionally been open to make sure that individual rights are protected, and that is fundamental," Specter said on CNN's "Late Edition. "And the Constitution says when you can suspend the writ of habeas corpus, in time of rebellion or invasion. And we don't have either. So that has to be changed, in my opinion."

Specter scheduled a hearing on the issue for Monday. Otherwise, he said, most of the legislation is a "big improvement" over what Bush originally proposed.

This group of eight Republican senators -- with a mean average "partisanship" score of 57.4%, the most liberal subcaucus of Republicans in the Senate -- still threatens to stymie the president's bid to draw a clear line in the sand between the GOP, which treats national security as the most important issue facing the country, and the Democrats, who treat national security as the forgotten punchline to a joke told by some drunk at the office Christmas party.

If the terrorist-rights wing persists, the Democrats will be able to point to a number of "senior Republicans" who agree with them that we should care more about terrorist rights than American lives.

Arlen Specter was a former prosecutor (the District Attorney of Philadelphia), while Sen. Lindsay Graham was an Air Force Judge Advocate General (JAG); both men seem to be absolutely fettered by their crazed idea that unlawful combatant terrorists in U.S. custody deserve the same panoply of rights as do ordinary civilians charged with carjacking or selling illegal Viagra. Both men are driven by the elevation of legalism to the point of near deification.

When last we caught up with the InSpecter General, he was exercised by the president's use of his own Article-2 powers from the United States Constitution: Arlen Specter was flogging a bill that would lend the "nihil obstat" to the NSA's al-Qaeda communications intercept program. (His idea was that nothing is real until the United States Senate says it's real.)

Sounding less every day like a man who wants to win the war against jihadi terrorism and more like a man who wants the Executive to become "Curly" to the Legislative's "Moe" and the Judiciary's "Larry," Specter now demands that the president defer to the courts on whether terrorist captured on the battlefield can file writs of habeas corpus, demanding their release if the government cannot produce "evidence" that they have committed a "crime"... which, if it required the production in open court of classified materials, would probably result instead in the complete dismissal of charges against KSM and his ilk.

I highly doubt that Specter will push his objection very hard, given the collapse of the McCain branch of the terrorist-rights Republican caucus. I'm sure this is yet another bid for attention, to trot every administration official he can bully into the Judiciary Committee's chambers to perform a ritual mea culpa, accompanied by the subtle strains of an all-bouzouki and -kazoo marching band, the only purpose of which is to assert the primacy of Congress over all -- and the primacy of Specter over Congress.

I can't resist quoting John Collins Bossidy's toast to the Holy Cross Alumni Dinner in 1910:

And this is good old Boston,
The home of the bean and the cod.
Where the Lowells talk only to Cabots,
And the Cabots talk only to God

If only Specter were the senator from Massachusetts instead of Pennsylvania ... for so many reasons!

This objection will fizzle after a hearing or two, during which Specter will get to play prima ballerina. Then the Senate will vote, and the Democrats will desperately try to mount a filibuster... but they'll probably be thwarted by several of their caucus who actually need to win reelection this year (including, evidently, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, 100%).

For some reason, I am perpetually amazed and amused by the self-importance, bordering upon narcissism, of everybody who opposes George W. Bush -- even those who are nominally Republicans. It's as if, because Bush is so self-effacing, his enemies are required by some obscure clause in the Code of Hammurabi to be preening egoists.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, September 25, 2006, at the time of 2:52 AM

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The following hissed in response by: Xrlq

John Warner, not Mark Warner. Mark Warner, a Democrat, was the governor.

The above hissed in response by: Xrlq [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 25, 2006 3:44 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


Ack, brain short-circuited! Thanks for the catch; I corrected it.


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 25, 2006 7:21 AM

The following hissed in response by: Nuclear Siafu

We need to vote on somone to jiggle something shiny every time Specter begins to talk.

The above hissed in response by: Nuclear Siafu [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 25, 2006 8:51 AM

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