Thursday, February 14, 2008

What Got Into The House Today?

What got into the House today, particularly the Democrats? Looks like the Republicans got all in a snit because they couldn't scare the pants off anyone today:

House Democrats left Washington today for a week-long recess without taking action on a terrorist surveillance bill set to expire Friday night, drawing theatrical protests from congressional Republicans and a sharp rebuke from President Bush.

Bush, GOP Rebuke House Democrats on Surveillance Bill

I also wonder who chose that headline for Ben Pershing. It looks to me like "GOP Threw A Hissy Fit" would have been more appropriate:

Echoing Bush's criticisms, House Republicans staged a full day of protests on the House floor, beginning with a controversial procedural vote called during a memorial service for the late Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) and culminating in Republicans walking out of the chamber en masse during a vote on contempt of Congress citations against White House chief of staff Josh Bolten and former White House counsel Harriet Miers.

Bush, GOP Rebuke House Democrats on Surveillance Bill

[links from original]

Now, just to refresh your memories, this is the same Josh Bolten and Harriet Miers who decided not to show up when they were subpoenaed by the House Judiciary Committee. The Attorney General at the time, Alberto "Abu" Gonzalez, decided he had better things to do than enforce a subpoena. Rep. Lantos was a holocaust survivor. Leave it to the GOP in Congress to take their sense of entitlement to the point of interrupting a funeral service for a guy who spent his formative years in a Nazi deathcamp over a couple of miscreants.

But what's truly is amazing is that this time the Democrats decided to stand up to this nonsense:

But Democrats are refusing to budge, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said that while key committee chairmen would stay in Washington to keep working on the issue, the rest of the House would be going home today.

And because Bush has the constitutional authority to call the House back into session "on extraordinary occasions," the chamber will go into symbolic "pro forma" sessions rather than adjourn for the week. Senate Democrats have used similar sessions to prevent Bush from making controversial executive branch nominations during that chamber's recesses.

Bush, GOP Rebuke House Democrats on Surveillance Bill

So, what's going on? Is it the scent of another election in the air? Whatever it is, I hope they keep this up for a while.

Christy Hardin Smith has a few pithy comments on today's proceedings. It's worth going there just to check out the picture. Oh, and if you haven't done it already, you can sign sign their petition to the House on telecomm immunity.

UPDATE: Keith Olbermann delivers a wonderful synopsis of the day's events:

Richard Clarke — you might remember him, sir, he was one of the counter-terror pro’s you inherited from President Clinton, before you ran the professionals out of government in favor of your unreality-based reality — Richard Clarke wrote in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

“Let me be clear: Our ability to track and monitor terrorists overseas would not cease should the Protect America Act expire. If this were true, the president would not threaten to terminate any temporary extension with his veto pen. All surveillance currently occurring would continue even after legislative provisions lapsed because authorizations issued under the act are in effect up to a full year.”

You are a liar, Mr. Bush, and after showing some skill at it, you have ceased to even be a very good liar.

And your minions like John Boehner — your Republican congressional crash dummies who just happen to decide to walk out of Congress when a podium-full of microphones await them — they should just keep walking, out of Congress and if possible, out of the country.

For they — and you, sir — have no place in a government of the people, by the people, for the people.

Countdown Special Comment on FISA: President Bush Is A Liar And A Fascist

Video is available at that link. Happy Valentine's Day.

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