RealClearPolitics has an interesting oped from the Opinion Journal, Congress is Acting Like the "Imperial" Branch.
Let's hope that the next time some Beltway potentate bemoans the "Imperial Presidency," everyone starts hooting with laughter. What we're watching this week is the Lilliputians on Capitol Hill tying down a Bush Administration that increasingly looks like Gulliver.
Over in the House, Republicans are preparing to block the Dubai port management investment as a political sacrifice to Democratic criticism. This even before the new 45-day review requested by the company is even two weeks old. Let's hope the world's investors conclude that this is a craven, one-time political surrender, rather than the start of an attempt to politicize every foreign investment in America that can be linked to "national security." If it's the latter, we're all in for some heavy economic weather, and Republicans won't believe how low their approval ratings can go.
At least this rout can be attributed to GOP panic in the face of lousy poll numbers and a company owned by Arabs. Less explicable is this week's White House mugging by Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee over warrantless wiretaps of al Qaeda by the National Security Agency. On this one, Republicans were winning, the polls showed public support, and everyone outside the fever swamps had dropped their "impeachment" fantasies.
Nonetheless, a couple of GOP Senators forced the White House into conceding more Congressional oversight of wartime intelligence programs. Olympia Snowe of Maine and Chuck Hagel of Nebraska vowed to join Democrats in voting for a full-scale Senate probe of the NSA wiretaps unless President Gulliver bent to their wishes. Such a vote would have humiliated their Chairman, Kansas Republican Pat Roberts, at a minimum. But it would also have risked exposing intelligence sources and methods in a way that could have made the wiretap program less effective, if not entirely worthless.
Not only are they wading into the arena of National Security where their power should be limited, Congress undermining the Commander in Chief in a time of war.
This entire incident with Dubai ports has also raised another issue, are we going to enter a phase of protectionism and xenophobia? Some people say that after the cartoon riots America had enough of Muslims. Maybe there is truth to that, but I also believe that is exactly what the rioters had in mind. They do not want to see alliances between the US and Arab nations and now they know that all they have to do to make us turn our back on all of Islam is riot. Just burn flags, trash embassies and the American Congress will walk away in disgust. And the fanatics will do it, after all, what the hell else do they have to do?
The HMS Prince of Wales
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