President Bush, brushing aside bipartisan criticism in Congress, said Monday he approved spying on suspected terrorists without court orders because it was "a necessary part of my job to protect" Americans from attack.And Bush loses:
The president said he would continue the program "for so long as the nation faces the continuing threat of an enemy that wants to kill American citizens," and added it included safeguards to protect civil liberties.
Bush bristled at a year-end news conference when asked whether there are any limits on presidential power in wartime.
"I just described limits on this particular program, and that's what's important for the American people to understand," Bush said.
Raising his voice, Bush challenged Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton _ without naming them _ to allow a final vote on legislation renewing the anti-terror Patriot Act. "I want senators from New York or Los Angeles or Las Vegas to go home and explain why these cities are safer" without the extension, he said.
From a standoff over the Patriot Act to pushback from Capitol Hill on the treatment of detainees, secret prisons abroad, and government eavesdropping at home, tensions between the Bush White House and the Republican-controlled Congress have never been more exposed.He loses because there aren't enough people in this country willing to give Bush the power tod defeat evil wherever it resides ("evil" being defined as "people who want to kill Americans," which we all know mean "foreign people." We may be the most xenophobic nation on earth, but we aren't that paranoid).
Much of the rift is over the exercise of executive power. Some lawmakers oppose the president on the values involved in harsh interrogation of terror suspects. Others are riled that they were left out of the intelligence loop.
On Friday, four Republicans and all but two Democrats opposed a move to end a filibuster and vote on reauthorizing the 2001 law. Instead, they are urging a three-month extension to reopen negotiations to boost protections for civil liberties.
Several senators cited disclosures of a secret US eavesdropping program in that morning's New York Times as the basis for their "no" vote. Democrats say as many as eight votes were swayed by the report. "We had 12 'possible leaners' going into the vote," says Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois, the Democratic whip.
Citing conversations with senators who voted against the bill, Sen. Jon Kyl (R) of Arizona attributed the loss to fears of the abuse of government power. "There's a feeling out there and it's hard to go against that feeling," he says. Senator Kyl and other Republicans say they will keep pressing the need for the Patriot Act, which they say is widely misunderstood.
And he loses because there aren't that many people in this country willing to give the President unlimited power to do whatever he wants for however long he wants to do it.
And one thing Americans don't trust, is the government.