NSA surveillance -- A Political Evaluation
The firestorm over the revelation that the President had authorized the NSA to monitor conversations with known terrorists without first seeking a warrant is going to continue to rage for the near future. Although the legal issues are not clear-cut, there is plenty of evidence going all the way back to President Carter (the well known right wing extremist) that this isn't new.
Regardless of the legal issues, I want to consider this revelation from a purely political viewpoint. The Democrats are once again placing all their bets on a lame horse that just started coughing at the gate. Arguing that President Bush is too serious about defending us from terrorists and is pushing for tools to do that job better is a loser. Unless the Democrats are somehow convinced that the terrorist threat has completely dissipated...and that a majority of people in the country think so too...they're handing the President a very large stick with which to beat them. And I suspect that since Karl Rove appears to be back on his game, that's exactly how this is going to play out. The Democrats will insist on hearing, the President will say "Please don't throw me in the briar patch" and the nation will see yet again why we have the right leader for the war on terror.