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Tilting at Windmills

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March 4, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

THEN AND NOW....Shorter Bill Frist: I think the Senate Intelligence Committee should be bipartisan unless being bipartisan happens to harm my party's interests.

Quite a guy, that Bill.

Kevin Drum 1:29 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (51)

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Can anyone take this man seriously anymore? I think he's done more to hurt his rep and chances for the presidency than any democrat could have.

Posted by: TomStewart on March 4, 2006 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

Fristula is only looking out for King George's best interests! And King George is only looking to Protect God-Fearing Americans!

Thank Jesus that King George is protected by Diebold. Otherwise, you Pathetic Dems would have obsessed over bin Laden, which is like, sooooo late 2001! How would capturing bin Laden help me fill up my Hummer?

Therapy for terrorists, indeed!

Posted by: Freedom Phukher on March 4, 2006 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter Bill Frist: I think the Senate Intelligence Committee should be bipartisan unless being bipartisan happens to harm my party's interests.

LIAR. Frist is trying to prevent partisanship and encourage bipartisanship. Liberals are trying to use the committee for partisan purposes and therefore bipartisanship no longer exists on the committee. Therefore the best way to bring back bipartisanship is to change the structure of committee so that Republicans and Frist can enforce bipartisanship on the committee.

Posted by: Al on March 4, 2006 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

I think Glenn Greenwald and FDL broke a big story here - Bill Frist threatening to re-structure the Intelligence Committee all to prevent Bush's NSA eavesdropping from being investigated is a big, big deal.

Will jouranlists realize this? Hello, journalists?

Posted by: Craig-SF on March 4, 2006 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

Bipartisan Partisanship a threat to Partisan Bipartisanship?

Posted by: Chris on March 4, 2006 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

Al, have you noticed the similarity with "doublespeak" in Orwell's 1984?

Partisan action = bipartisanship
war = peace
burn the village = save the village
giving up your freedom = protecting your freedom

Posted by: klevenstein on March 4, 2006 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

Dearest Al,

You've tortured yourself into a logic pretzel. You can't enforce bi-partisanship by getting rid of it! By your own definition, the Republicans under Frist are using the committee for their own partisan purposes (not to investigate) - therefore bi-partisanship does not exist on the committee therefore Frist must let the Democrats hold the hearings to restore bi-partisanship!

Posted by: Paul on March 4, 2006 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

Dearest Al,

You've tortured yourself into a logic pretzel. You can't enforce bi-partisanship by getting rid of it! By your own definition, the Republicans under Frist are using the committee for their own partisan purposes (not to investigate) - therefore bi-partisanship does not exist on the committee therefore Frist must let the Democrats hold the hearings to restore bi-partisanship!

Posted by: Paul on March 4, 2006 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

Paul, even your double-post can't disguise your lies! Unless the Dems vote as King George demands, they are obviously mere anti-American partisans! Anyone who dares to question Dear Leader is in need of being shunned from any position of power, and Al and I won't rest until everyone who doesn't support King George's Endless War to Resubjugate Brown People is properly cowed or jailed. We're well on our way!

Posted by: Freedom Phukher on March 4, 2006 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

The Rockefeller Memo can be read here.

Now, let's talk about partisan interests on the Intelligence Committees.

Sorry, but you're going to have a hard time convincing anybody that Democrats are interested in coming up with a better way to track communications between suspects overseas and phone numbers in this country, and not in just finding another way to try to nail Bush to the wall.

Posted by: tbrosz on March 4, 2006 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

In the land of Pelosi/Reid/Kennedy/Dean make-believe, partisanship by by a Republican is craven, but partisanship by a Democrat is noble.

Posted by: Monkey See on March 4, 2006 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

we run the country. you want to stop us, get elected.


liberal chumps.

Posted by: shithead on March 4, 2006 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, but you're going to have a hard time convincing anybody that Democrats are interested in coming up with a better way to track communications between suspects overseas and phone numbers in this country, and not in just finding another way to try to nail Bush to the wall.

Sorry, tbrosz, but you're going to have a hard time convincing anybody that Frist isn't desperately trying to provide political cover for President Bush knowingly and deliberately breaking the law.

but you're sure as hell going to try, aren't you?

Shame on you.

Posted by: Gregory on March 4, 2006 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

The Republicans nailed Clinton to the wall for a blow job. We can't nail Bush to a cross for breaking FISA requirements? Why this debate is frightening to me as well as appalling is the ease of which people (or my electors) are willing to forgo their liberties for safety. Liberties are hard won and easily lost (and easily taken for granted.) To be honest, I'd rather have less safety and more liberties. I do not trust Big Brother at all.

Posted by: Paul on March 4, 2006 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory:

If this was about breaking the law, then let the Democrats run with that. This is about getting in front of the news cameras and bloviating for a few weeks without actually having to come out and call for shutting down the NSA program.

Posted by: tbrosz on March 4, 2006 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

Paul:

The Republicans nailed Clinton to the wall for a blow job.

Actually, they nailed him to the wall (or tried--Clinton doesn't look much like he's been "nailed to the wall" to me) for lying under oath. Would have been the same if he had been talking about anything.

Liberties are hard won and easily lost (and easily taken for granted.) To be honest, I'd rather have less safety and more liberties. I do not trust Big Brother at all.

That's an admirable attitude, and you can certainly make a very good case that losing a couple of buildings and some lives may not be worse than losing our liberty. Many would agree with you. Maybe even me.

I assume you were not one of those running around in circles after 9/11, screaming that the government didn't "connect the dots," and didn't do enough to protect us.

Posted by: tbrosz on March 4, 2006 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

"This is what the tyranny of a one-party state is like, people!" - Rush Limbaugh c1993

Posted by: Red on March 4, 2006 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

Before I trade liberty for safety, I'd want the Gov't to do all it could to keep us more safe (there's no such thing as 100% safe) before we start to hand our freedoms away. And if the Gov't then says, "we've done all we can but to do more, we need some of your liberties to be taken away" - I'd want to debate that before I give it away. I may not want to - after all, what price Freedom?

Posted by: Paul on March 4, 2006 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

we run the country. you want to stop us, get elected. Posted by: shithead on March 4, 2006 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

I just knew shitheads ran the country -- I knew it!!!

Posted by: trex on March 4, 2006 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

I guess Orin Hatch was getting his knee-pads retreaded?
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on March 4, 2006 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

trex >"I just knew shitheads ran the country..."

Yea but who knew they could/would actually tell the truth ?

Amazin !

Hades must be very cold these days...

"Everyday reality now is a complete fiction, manufactured by the media landscape and we operate inside it." - JG Ballard

Posted by: daCascadian on March 4, 2006 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, but you're going to have a hard time convincing anybody that Democrats are interested in coming up with a better way to track communications between suspects overseas and phone numbers in this country, and not in just finding another way to try to nail Bush to the wall.

Or, this:

Sorry, you're going to have to have a hard time convincing anybody that the police are interested in coming up with a better way to track communications between suspects in the Nicole Simpson case, and not in just finding another way to nail OJ to the wall.

Or this:

The strategy will involve the dismissal of Democrats as the party of "protests, pessimism and political hate speech," Ed Gillespie, Republican National Committee chairman, wrote in a recent memo to party officials -- a move designed to shift attention toward Bush's broader foreign policy objectives rather than the accounts of bloodshed. Republicans hope to convince voters that Democrats are too indecisive and faint-hearted -- and perhaps unpatriotic -- to protect US interests, arguing that inaction during the Clinton years led to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Posted by: trex on March 4, 2006 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

We welcome any assistance Frist can give us in our effort to keep America safe.

In the meantime, here are a few pointers to help us do our job:

1. Please speak clearly and refrain from nicknames. We often just drop in for a quick listen and don't have the historical context needed to decypher nicknames and hidden jokes, etc.

2. Don't use those damn talk-and-toss cell phones, or use cash with those pay-as-you-go plans. We need paper trails, people.

3. Give us a heads up when making your next foreign call. Don't just say "talk to you later." Include a time and date - you don't know how busy we are. A little help goes a long way.

Posted by: NSA Mole on March 4, 2006 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

Trex:

Ed Gillespie wrote that as Chairman of the Republican National Committee. His main job as Chairman is getting Republicans elected.

Rockefeller wrote that memo as ranking member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. See the difference?

Posted by: tbrosz on March 4, 2006 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

Flanders: Sorry, but you're going to have a hard time convincing anybody that Democrats are interested in coming up with a better way to track communications between suspects overseas and phone numbers in this country, and not in just finding another way to try to nail Bush to the wall.

Sorry, but you're going to have a hard time convincing anybody that Republicans are interested in any effective oversight of the intelligence community and in enforcing the rule of law, and not in just finding another way to get on their knees and take it in the ass from the traitor Karl Rove.

Posted by: Stefan on March 4, 2006 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

Flanders: Actually, they nailed him to the wall (or tried--Clinton doesn't look much like he's been "nailed to the wall" to me) for lying under oath. Would have been the same if he had been talking about anything.

AHAHAHAHAHAHA! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

*pointing mocking finger of derision*

Posted by: Stefan on March 4, 2006 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

I assume you were not one of those running around in circles after 9/11, screaming that the government didn't "connect the dots," and didn't do enough to protect us.

What the fool Flanders is either lying about or is too dumb to realized (my money's on both!) is that the Bush regime is still fundamentally interested in connecting the dots. It's spying program isn't desiged to "connect the dots", its simply designed to sweep us as much raw data as possible. One reason why Bush didn't prevent the 9/11 attacks wasn't a lack of data -- there was plenty of evidence there -- it was that no-one ever actually bothered to look at the data, to analyze and consider it. The solution to that problem is not to just dump more data into the system, but to refine your methods for actually looking at what you have.


Posted by: Stefan on March 4, 2006 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

Man, I have to slow down when I type. My post above is a mess of typoes....

Posted by: Stefan on March 4, 2006 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

You have to hand it to the fool Flanders...every time you think he's hit a new low of moral relativism, outrageous biased partisanship and craven lickspittle servility to Bush, he outdoes himself and crawls even deeper.....

Posted by: Stefan on March 4, 2006 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

That's my Senator! I feel deprived; I have one actual Senator, the not-godawful Lamar! and Karl Rove's pickle boy.

The only way I could be more ashamed of my fellow Tennesseans is if we send Van Hilleary to DC in the fall, thus putting us in competition with Oklahoma in the Stupid Senators Sweepstakes.

Posted by: hamletta on March 4, 2006 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan:

Suggestion.

Posted by: tbrosz on March 4, 2006 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

OK, sure, Frist is a clown. But what am I supposed to think about the 3 out of 4 Dem Senators who decided to roll over and renew the "USA PATRIOT" Act? My quick tour of the liberal blogscape found not one word about this embarrassment. Interesting silence about something that I would've thought is a bedrock issue.

Y'know, ya gotta give the GOP this: At least with the Republicans, I have a pretty good idea that they'll actually follow through on their boneheadedness. They stand for idiocy, but at least they stand for something. The Dems stand for nothing, zero, zilch.

I'd already decided that I wouldn't give any more dollars to Democrats; now I think I'm gonna deny them my vote, too. They've done everything I can imagine to un-earn it. Greens, libertarians, anti-gravity and morning bran party, here I come.

Posted by: sglover on March 4, 2006 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

sglover:

If you have any info on that anti-gravity party, I might be interested...

Posted by: tbrosz on March 4, 2006 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

"The enemies of freedom will not prevail."
Bill Frist

I'm talking about the freedom to change the US Constitution to support unrestricted spying of all sorts on any American or person elsewhere who thinks corporate profits are a sin.

Ya see, the Democrats think they can bluster their way to making us Repugnacans look like the greedy-self-serving folks which we are.

"The American people expect and deserve a government that works and leaders who work together." Bill Frist

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on March 4, 2006 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz: Actually, they nailed him to the wall (or tried--Clinton doesn't look much like he's been "nailed to the wall" to me) for lying under oath.

Actually, he lied in a civil case funded by and run by his political enemies about an unrelated sexual relationship that the plaintiff's lawyers had been tipped off to by the Special Prosecutor who had been trying, and failing, to nail him on a financial deal. Then he was impeached in the House and tried in the Senate on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice and found not guilty (the final vote on the perjury charge was 55(not guilty) to 45(guilty)). So it certainly seems that some were at least trying to find something, anything to nail him to the wall with.

Would have been the same if he had been talking about anything.

This is either disingenuous or very naive. The salacious nature of the charges were one of the reasons those who tried to get Clinton thought they could bring him down. I doubt the House would voted for impeachment if the issue were that Clinton had lied about some dry, technical matter.

Posted by: Nagual Haven on March 4, 2006 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

Quite a guy, that Bill.

We can take some pleasure from the fact that in about a year, he will be starting his fade into total obscurity. Even Republicans are not dumb enough to go for this self-infatuated ass.

Posted by: bob h on March 4, 2006 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

Heres a comic that shows why Bill changed his mind.

Flip Flop Frist Flips on Ports

Posted by: Jack on March 4, 2006 at 8:39 PM | PERMALINK

If this was about breaking the law, then let the Democrats run with that.

Well, tbrosz, thanks for confirming that Republicans don't care if the President breaks the law, as long as he's a Republican.

Well, for confirming that you don't care, as long as he serves up those sweet, sweet tax cuts. The fact of the matter is, Gonzalez has more or less confirmed Bush did break the law, and Frist wouldn't have to propose this move if several Republicans weren't willing to hold hearings.

So your own bloviating about the Democrats is, in addition to being bullshit of course, beside the point. The point is that Bill Frist wants to help cover up Bush's lawbreaking. And that you're willing -- indeed eager -- to carry the GOP water yet again on this issue. Shame on you.

Posted by: Gregory on March 4, 2006 at 9:09 PM | PERMALINK

I assume you were not one of those running around in circles after 9/11, screaming that the government didn't "connect the dots," and didn't do enough to protect us.

tbrosz, just to refresh your memory, Bush did nothing -- nothing at all, as far as anyone can tell -- to protect us after the August PDB. That you give him a free pass on that issue just proves you can't trust Republicans with national security.

Posted by: Gregory on March 4, 2006 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, but you're going to have a hard time convincing anybody that Democrats blah blah blah

Actually, what the Democrats are trying to do in this case is live up to their Constitutional obligation to provide oversight. Roberts and Frist have been derelict in their Senatorial duties as it applies to the very serious matter of the NSA case and others, and have actually been providing obstacles to oversight.

Did you read the Rockefeller memo? Because what it shows is the strategy of a minority party whose members in committee have been blocked at every turn when trying to fulfill their duties and accused of partisanship.

There's nothing untoward in their using every legal means at their disposal to pressure the Republicans on the committee to do their fucking jobs for the American people.

This is just another example among many of unprecedented corrupt Republican tactics, including locking Dems out of committee meetings where bills are being deliberated on and them refusing them time to read the bills before voting; keeping 15 minutes floor votes open for hours until they can bribe and pressure enough members to change their votes; having Dems arrested by the Capitol police for speaking their mind in committee, et al.

I know: who gives a shit about the death of checks and balances in democracy as long as you get your tax cuts?

What an utter, utter lack of principles.

Posted by: trex on March 4, 2006 at 10:58 PM | PERMALINK

Its plain to see that in this post 9/11
world, he is a uniter not a divider, whose
main concern is not lowering the morale of
the troops or tipping off the axis of evil.
Its ironical that his committee cannot find
any WMS or nucular material on them pinko
commies.

Posted by: Conservative Dem on March 4, 2006 at 11:05 PM | PERMALINK

Liberals are trying to use the committee for partisan purposes and therefore bipartisanship no longer exist
----------

Wha tha fuk?
dood wtfu
'n pass the caviar.

Posted by: one eye buck tooth [ X^B on March 4, 2006 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

Batt-man and Robbthem

aka Busch Co.

Posted by: one eye buck tooth [ X^B on March 4, 2006 at 11:15 PM | PERMALINK

sheet far 'n save da matchs
WooOOooo!!
kablamMMmMmmm!!

Posted by: one eye buck tooth [ X^B on March 4, 2006 at 11:18 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, but you're going to have a hard time convincing anybody that Democrats are interested in coming up with a better way to track communications between suspects overseas and phone numbers in this country, and not in just finding another way to try to nail Bush to the wall.
Posted by: tbrosz on March 4, 2006 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK
_____________________

your lack of rf freeks is what I wont speak
ha ha bush!!
wondered into techville did ya?
lmao

Posted by: one eye buck tooth [ X^B on March 4, 2006 at 11:24 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz: Sorry, but you're going to have a hard time convincing anybody that Democrats are interested in coming up with a better way to track communications between suspects overseas and phone numbers in this country...

A hard time convincing? Maybe not so much now. Bush's national security creds dropped to neck and neck with Dems once Dubya stepped in the Dubai dukie. A poll from Feb. 22-23, 2006:

...For the first time ever, Americans have a slight preference for Democrats in Congress over the President on national security issues. Forty-three percent (43%) say they trust the Democrats more on this issue today while 41% prefer the President.
A related survey found that confidence in the overall War on Terror has declined significantly since the Dubai Ports deal has become a major news story.
It is important to note that the question about trust on national security issues was asked first, before any mention was made of the Dubai Ports issue.
The preference for the opposition party is small, but the fact that Democrats are even competitive on the national security front is startling.... [More at Ramussen]
But wait! It gets worse:
Just 39% of Americans now believe the U.S. and its allies are winning the War on Terror. That's down from 42% earlier this month and from 44% in January. With just one exception, this is the lowest level of confidence ever measured by Rasmussen Reports.
Even more dramatic is the fact that 36% now believe the terrorists are winning. That's up five points over the past two weeks and up ten points since our January survey.
A plurality of women and a majority of Democrats now believe the terrorists are winning.
In December, 50% of all Americans thought the U.S. and its allies were winning. Just 25% took the opposite view.
It is likely that the recent decline is tied to concern about the Dubai Ports deal. Before that deal was announced, 43% of Americans believed the U.S. was safer than it was before the 9/11 attacks. Thirty-nine percent (39%) say it was not. Those numbers have reversed--just 38% now believe the U.S. is safter [sic] and 45% say it is not. [Emphasis added. Ramussen]

Furthermore, Dems lead Repubs by 14 points when voters are asked how they would vote for Congress right now.

More bad news from Gallup.

...and not in just finding another way to try to nail Bush to the wall.

Um, Bush-bashing has become a conservative pastime these days. Haven't you noticed? Glance over these transcripts here and here. Staunch neocon William Kristol has gone limp having defended Bush's war for three years before he didn't. And, I guess you missed it, Repubs delivered a scathing report entitled, "A Failure of Initiative," on the Bush administration's handling of Katrina.

I'm sure I could pull up more cites for you since you seem to be out of step but I think you get the idea. You've got Internet access. C'mon. Catch up. You wouldn't want us to think you're a shill, would you?

LOL!

Now if Dubya continues stubbornly to support the DP World takeover of U.S. port terminals, I'd expect convincing Americans that Dems can do a better job at national security to get easier. Even if Dubya flip-flops on the DP World deal, with Katrina and now Dubai seared into voters' minds, I think the damage has been done.

Repubs facing mid-term elections must be very worried. I wonder how much longer Frist can afford to be Bushie's waterboy? Heh.


Posted by: Apollo 13 on March 4, 2006 at 11:41 PM | PERMALINK

From Glenn Greenwald, More conservatives jump ship & other matters:

Yet another conservative, National Reviews John Derbyshire, yesterday acknowledged that the war in Iraq has been a failure and the only thing left for Bush to do is to figure out a way to withdraw while minimizing both the political damage to Republicans and the national security damage to our country. Derbyshires concession that the war is a failure followed on the heels of similar admissions from the Father of Modern Conservatism, Bill Buckley, and George Will...

Posted by: Apollo 13 on March 5, 2006 at 1:04 AM | PERMALINK

George Will...

Posted by: Apollo 13

But it deprives me of one of my favorite pastimes of late: watching George Will attempt to contort himself into a pretzel, as he offer apologia afetr apologia for an administration which has serially betrayed every principle which Mr. Will has profitably and publicly espoused lo these many years.

Posted by: CFShep on March 5, 2006 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

but Kevin, you believe that congressional district boundaries should be drawn by bipartisan groups unless the new boundaries should hurt the Democratic party.

It's hardly news that everybody's attempts to be bipartisan always turn out to be partisan.

Posted by: republicrat on March 5, 2006 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

CFShep: But it deprives me of one of my favorite pastimes of late: watching George Will attempt to contort himself into a pretzel, as he offer apologia afetr apologia for an administration which has serially betrayed every principle which Mr. Will has profitably and publicly espoused lo these many years.

George Will has been consistently caustically critical of George Bush and the Republicans during most of the Bush administration. The only "support" he has given has been his comments on Democratic fecklessness. He has criticised Bush's lack of intellectual acuity, the growth of government, the growth of the deficit, and the corruption of congressional Republicans. If you have some examples of contorted attempts at apologia, please quote them from time to time; I don't think Will has written a single such thing.

Posted by: republicrat on March 5, 2006 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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