February 13, 2008

National Review’s Andy McCarthy:

“Well it looks like the unconscionable is about to occur. I am hearing from several sources that the House is planning to recess on Friday without taking up the Senate bill. That would mean the lapse of our surveillance authority at midnight…. President Bush has to keep pounding this, as does Sen. McCain. This is not politics, folks. For grown-ups, this is life and death.”

If the powers extended through the PPA were genuinely a matter of “life and death,” and the bill's expiration were "unconscionable," they why not drop telecom immunity?

Look, if it’s that important, there’s a simple answer: pass the bill without telecom immunity. Then come back and introduce immunity in a separate bill. If you’ve got the votes for it, fine. If not, too bad. I’m against immunity myself — though hardly hellbent on the subject — but whichever way the vote went, in the meantime we’d have the FISA extension and surveillance could continue normally.

But that’s not on the table. The supposed grownups in the GOP are, apparently, perfectly happy to play around with “life and death” if it’s in the service of a bit of demagogic brinksmanship over telecom immunity.

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