Perfect example of no matter who wins the white house, we must regain the Congress before the Dems take us deeper into Hell ...
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats appear to have decided that November's election is a distraction from their effort to simply pull the plug on a sitting President. How else to explain what is happening in the House this week?
Democrats voted yesterday, for the first time in decades, to hold two White House officials in contempt of Congress. Hours later it emerged that Ms. Pelosi has apparently decided not to vote on the warrantless wiretap bill passed by the Senate days ago. This means that the Protect America Act -- which conferred Congressional support to wiretapping suspected al Qaeda terrorists -- will expire at midnight today.
We admit to wondering earlier this week whether Congress's interrogating Roger Clemens was the best use of the Representatives' time. On the evidence, the country will be safer if the House takes up tilting at windmills.
Speaker Pelosi says that letting the Protect America Act evaporate is no big deal. But the Director of National Intelligence told Congress last summer that the Administration lost two-thirds of its terrorist-surveillance capacity after it agreed to go to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and a judge there required a finding of probable cause to listen in on terrorists abroad.
There are in fact enough Blue Dog Democratic votes in the House to pass the Senate bill, which had Democratic support there as well. But Ms. Pelosi instructed House Intelligence Committee Chairman Sylvester Reyes to begin negotiations with the Senate on a compromise bill. This effectively tosses the entire surveillance program into a kind of limbo, with all players uncertain about its practical authority.
This was of a piece with the remarkable contempt vote against White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and former Counsel Harriet Miers, which passed 223 to 32, as Minority Leader John Boehner led the Republican delegation out of the chamber. The pretext for this historic moment? The fight over the fired U.S. Attorneys. Remember that?
This is the scandal that vanished because there was nothing to it. U.S. Attorneys are political appointees who serve at the pleasure of the President; he can fire any -- or even all -- of them if he sees fit. This nonscandal seemed to fade into the mists after it hastened the departure of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Ms. Pelosi asserts that this virtually never-used contempt vote is necessary to ensure "oversight" of the executive.
Mr. Bolten and Ms. Miers, however, refused under orders from the President and on the advice of the Solicitor General, on the principle that the President's advisers should be free to give advice to the President without being called before Congress to explain themselves. Democratic Presidents to the horizon have made this claim.
Every time he speaks, Barack Obama promises to overcome "bitter partisanship and petty bickering." Good luck with that. The House Speaker from San Francisco is obviously running her own campaign to gain control of the White House. The needs of the party's Presidential candidates appear to be a distraction from this.