If you are wondering why the Blogosphere has been so quiet today, they are all listening in to US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales defending Bush's illegal NSA wire-tapping program on C-span. (AP story here).
From what I can see so far, it's a case of:
"Can too!"I guess if you think that UN Resolutions gave Bush the power to invade Iraq, you might also believe that Congressional approval of the war gave Bush the power to spy on US citizens' phone calls without a court order.
"You shouldn't have!"
"Well, other people did it first!"
"So I can too!"
UPDATE: Surely a lesson to be learned from these hearings is that Democrats should never have allowed Gonzales to be confirmed in the first place:
During Gonzales' confirmation hearing last year, Feingold asked the would-be attorney general whether he believed that the president has the power "to authorize warrantless searches of Americans' homes and wiretaps of their conversations in violation of the criminal and foreign intelligence surveillance statutes of this country." Gonzales dismissed the question then as "hypothetical."What could they have done to block the nomination? Fillibuster? Mass walkout? Protest in the rain outside the White House like other Democracy-loving Americans? At least try SOMETHING!
At today's hearing, Feingold focused on the first part of his question to argue that it wasn't hypothetical at all: At the time he testified last year, Gonzales knew that the president had, in fact, authorized "warrantless wiretaps" of Americans' telephone conversations. In defense, Gonzales focused on the second part of the question instead: Yes, the president had authorized "warrantless wiretaps," but he hadn't done anything "in violation of the criminal and foreign intelligence surveillance statutes of this country." So asking about the power to engage in such a violation, Gonzales said, was in fact a "hypothetical" question.
Gonzales may have dodged Feingold's bullet, but he wasn't -- and isn't -- done yet...
UPDATE: Today's Buzzflash editorial makes a similar point:
The Democrats lost control of the hearing when Specter forced a party line vote of 10-8 that Gonzales wouldn't be sworn in. Period.
At that moment, the Democratic senators on the Judiciary Committee should have taken charge of the scriptwriting and left the room in protest...
Why should anyone have to testify under oath in a United States court room when the Attorney General of the United States won't? And the President and Vice-President wouldn't before the 9/11 Commission (when Bush wouldn't even talk with them without Dick Cheney by his side)? And Condoleezza Rice wouldn't be sworn in before the 9/11 Commission?