Monday, May 21, 2007

Washington Post: ODNI Makes Case for FISA Reform

Where was this column 5 years ago? I think it reveals something about the recent challenges to the philosophy of governanace under the Bush administration.

The indifference to public opinion demonstrated time and again by policy pronouncements, sometimes of questionable legality, seems to come from a belief that Americans fundamentally do not care what the government does or how it does it. This perspective is obviously informed by a conservative sensibility, based on assumptions that most people agree government is more evil than it is necessary.

But even more than that, a viewpoint prizing the imperial presidency has meant that, even in areas where making a case to the public for policy reforms and pursuing reform in consultation with the Congress, and not over its head, was seemingly discounted consciously because Who cares? Those idiots certainly do not.

What this colum really demonstrates is that public outcry, and yes sometimes the MSM, special prosecutors, and an appropriately zealous Congress needs to help it along, can prduce results, small as this one may seem. The ODNI is finally making the case for reform of our surveillance laws to the public instead of just watching the president and the AG reform on their own terms by privately eliminating checks on the the executive branch. It is a good thing too, because we really are in need of reforms that will help ensure our national security from threats foreign and domestic. Not to mention ensuring the security of our civil liberties and transparency n our government.

Hopefully this is some small indication of a burgeoning humility which has truly been forced on the the administration. It may work out for the best though, since hubris is a traditional foible of the epic hero and overcoming it is often the crucial step in his journey.

Did I just compare W to Odysseus? I suppose he would be alright with that, since Odysseus was a King who won a victory in an war with dubious justification that lasted longer than anybody ever expected and got to prove his viriity on many reckless foreign adventures.


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