Last week, Republicans actually let a Democrat hold a hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. This is rare. Usually, if Democrats want a hearing, Republicans will only let them hold it in a basement office somewhere. This time, Republicans were pushing to bring the resolution to the full senate floor for a vote because they think they have a winning issue. They launched an all out media blitz in order to hype what Feingold wants do as a threat to the President, and rally Americans to his patriotic defense by branding Democrats as weak on security and a bunch of crazed kooks from whom he needs to be protected. They are hyping the fact that John Dean is one of the witnesses: (John Dean says to censure Bush: Watergate figure testifies in Senate on eavesdropping Pittsburgh Post Gazette, April 1, 2006) The problem is that Bush's poll numbers are tanking, so nobody's really in the mood to rally around the president, and John Dean and Russ Feingold sound reasonable. They did not back down when various Republicans accused them of helping the terrorists by having the audacity to question the legality of the President's use of warrentless wiretapping in a time of war. Republicans say it's about terrorism, but Americans aren't buying it anymore. Feingold says it's about accountability. "The President must be held accountable for authorizing a program that clearly violates the law and then misleading the country about its existence and its legality," Using what has been called a political ju-jitsu move, Feingold turned the force of the attack back on the aggressor by saying that the reason we go to war in the first place is to protect our civil liberties.
Nowadays, most Democrats are willing to stand back and let the Republicans self-destruct. Thank God we have a few brave senators like Feingold who are willing to stand up now, because time is ticking. We are coming upon a mid-term election this year, and a presidential election in '08. If Democrats don't grow some cahunes, they could lose both of them. They should get a clue and a spine from Feingold, who almost single-handedly put the focus back on this illegal program, strengthening both his supporters and the Democratic base as a whole, making the old school Republican propaganda tactics backfire.