The White House and its friends in the conservative media would have you believe that Democrats are alone in protesting President Bush's warrantless surveillance program.
For example, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said on Jan. 22:
Senate Democrats continue to engage in misleading and outlandish charges about this vital tool. ... It defies common sense for Democrats to now claim the administration is acting outside its authority. ...
Don't believe the empty spin.
Grover Norquist, a long-time conservative leader, declared the surveillance program illegal:
Referring to what some see as a choice between fighting terrorists and upholding civil liberties, Norquist said: “It’s not either/or. If the president thinks he needs different tools, pass a law to get them. Don’t break the existing laws."
Norquist is the latest Republican to suggest the program is in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and circumvents rules that say the National Security Agency must obtain a warrant before proceeding.
George Will called Bush's actions a mistake. William Safire said he sided with Bush's critics. Bruce Fein, former deputy attorney general in the Reagan Administration, and Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute have actually suggested Bush's personally authorizing the surveillance was an impeachable offense.
Additionally, at least 11 Republican Senators have publicly questioned the program: Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who chairs the Judiciary Committee, as well as Sam Brownback of Kansas, Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, Susan Collins of Maine, Larry Craig of Idaho, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, Dick Lugar of Indiana, John McCain of Arizona, Olympia Snowe of Maine and John Sununu of New Hampshire.
The question that should be asked is: what will it take for the 44 other Republican Senators to agree?
This item first appeared at JABBS.