Growing the Rebellion
As the end of this congressional session nears, it's growing increasingly likely that the Administration will have to blink or sink on the detainee trials legislation they'd like to have passed before the fall elections. We saw the first indications of this Monday night with a new proposal from the White House in which the Administration "dropped its insistence on redefining the obligations of the United States under the Geneva Conventions" and decided to focus on making changes to the War Powers Act instead. Negotiations on that point reportedly are continuing, and Graham said yesterday "I am very pleased with the tone and the progress." Details remained sketchy at best, though, so what will emerge very much remains to be seen.
The two sides are still far apart on the issue of allowing suspects' attorneys to examine classified evidence against their clients and whether CIA operatives would be immune from prosecution based on past and/or future interrogations.
Yesterday Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist threatened, idiotically (but what else is new) to filibuster McCain-Warner-Graham rather than let it pass with the majority support that it has. He also admitted that there was not support for a (rotten) bill to authorize the warrantless eavesdrop program, and has set that aside until next week at the very earliest. Republicans Olympia Snowe, Mike DeWine and Chuck Hagel may block that bill in the Intelligence Committee and hold off action until after the elections.
Meanwhile, on the House side, Republicans Chris Shays, Jim Walsh, Jim Leach and Mike Castle threw their support behind the Warner-McCain-Graham approach on the detainee treatment legislation, saying any House bill must abide by the principles the senators have set down.
I can't remember the last time I've been so proud of our Republican centrists. It's about time they stood up like this, and even though it might get skewered as politically expedient right now, it's also the right thing to do. Don't back down. Never give in!