Josh Marshall wonders why the NSA warrantless wiretap program, which “the administration spent like — what? — a year saying was vital to national security . . . can now apparently be brought under constitutional supervision without any problem whatsoever.”
If I were a cynic, I would answer in the following way:
Once the program was brought to light, Karl Rove thought that he had a great political opportunity. Refuse to bring it under the Constitution, and when the Democrats complain, slam them for wanting to hamstring the “terrorist surveillance program.” Well, that didn’t work too well, but it sufficiently cowed the Dems to cave on the Guantanamo prisoners issue.
In any event, Bush will no longer be on the ballot, and no Republican will want to run on the Bush policies. So the program’s extraconstitutional nature no longer has a political purpose. And that’s the key: the Constitution, for this administration, can and should be used for political ends.
Remember DiIulio’s Law:
There is no precedent in any modern White House for what is going on in this one: a complete lack of a policy apparatus. What you’ve got is everything—and I mean everything—being run by the political arm. It’s the reign of the Mayberry Machiavellis.
At least that’s what I’d say if I were a cynic.