Monday, March 13, 2006

"It's not about us" Russ Feingold

Once again the Journal-Sentinel has called Russ Feingold a "maverick" (although at least this time he is named as a "liberal maverick") in connection with his silly proposal to censure President Bush in connection with what he persists in calling "illegal" "domestic" wiretapping. The left side of the local blogosphere (I mean you, Jay") is all rapturous over the "courage" of their hero.

What this is a hard left politician positioning himself to garner the support of the drum circle left. If the Bush surveillance program is really illegal, then someone ought to challenge it in court. Should that ever happen, my guess is that there is a significant chance that the courts will find it authorized by the AUMP and a much better than even chance that the Supreme Court would find that the President has inherent authority to conduct this type of surveillance that cannot be limited by Congress (and, therefore, is not illegal). To call this, as Feingold does, "domestic" wiretapping is misleading in that what appears to be happening is that transnational, not domestic, communications are being monitored according to some process reasonably calculated to "drop out" calls of interest.

There are policy questions raised by this type of surveillance in the context of the war on terror which, unlike war between states, tends to have no clearly demarcated temporal and geographical boundaries. That's why legislative proposals to address the manner in which such programs can be monitored are not after the fact excuses, but serious efforts to balance our interest in liberty with our desire for security.

But "It's not about us" Russ can't be bothered with that. He's running for President.

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