Spoke Too Soon

Mere days ago I was calling Bush indomitable because, unpopular lame duck that he is, he got the Senate to capitulate to his wishes with respect to electronic surveillance. As this morning's radio address shows, however, the House seems to finally have his number.
At midnight, the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence will be stripped of their power to authorize new surveillance against terrorist threats abroad. This means that as terrorists change their tactics to avoid our surveillance, we may not have the tools we need to continue tracking them -- and we may lose a vital lead that could prevent an attack on America.

In addition, Congress has put intelligence activities at risk even when the terrorists don't change tactics. By failing to act, Congress has created a question about whether private sector companies who assist in our efforts to defend you from the terrorists could be sued for doing the right thing.
The last sentence tells you what the Democrats' problem is: trial lawyers itching to file class action suits claiming breach of privacy and who knows what.
At this moment, somewhere in the world, terrorists are planning a new attack on America. And Congress has no higher responsibility than ensuring we have the tools to stop them.
Nice use of the bully pulpit, but his office requires he do more than talk. He ought to call them back into emergency session a la Harry Truman. I have no doubt that if he forced them to an up or down vote, the matter would go his way. Avoiding a vote is one thing; going on record refusing to protect the country from Al Qaeda is another. If he doesn't want to do that, he could give another State of the Union Address on the question of enemy surveillance. That's what Kennedy did in May of '61 to explain the Bay of Pigs. That would get a bit more attention than the radio address, for heaven's sake.

As Mr. W. put it in comments the other day, we must have a grudging respect for the Dem majority's constant testing, testing, testing of the Executive Branch's powers. Bush must push back, but unfortunately, like most post WWII Presidents, he has a weak conception of his constitutional authority. Now when he can call those powers to bear on an important national problem AND impact the election process as well, he fails to do it.

Maybe it'll still happen, but for now it seems as if the House finally figured the limits of the President's gumption. McCain could make a brilliant political play here, no?