Hoyer and Pelosi To Their Base: You Should Thank Us for Screwing You

Nancy and Steny are making the rounds, visiting their friends in the media to get the word out on how fabulously clever they were to foil Republican election strategy by giving the right every unchecked power they wanted in a national surveillance bill.

Glenn has the nauseating details (emphasis is Glenn’s):

Just as Nancy Pelosi ran to Time to justify her support for the FISA bill, Steny Hoyer yesterday spouted his justifications to The Politico and said this:

In an interview with Politico on Monday, Hoyer called the FISA legislation a “significant victory” for the Democratic Party — one that neutralized an issue Republicans might have been able to use against Democrats in November while still, in his view, protecting the civil liberties of American citizens.

In other words, Democrats achieved a “significant victory” because — by giving Republicans everything they demanded — Republicans are no longer able to criticize Democrats on this issue. What a shrewd strategy: “if we comply with all their demands, then they can’t criticize us for anything.” That’s the Democratic Party’s plan for winning, according to Hoyer.

Pelosi and Hoyer continue to peddle the absurd idea that the surveillance legislation they just passed is a “compromise,” and that neither the right nor the left is completely happy with it. Astonishingly (although perhaps it should not be so astonishing), some in the media are similarly deluded (Glenn’s bolds):

Yesterday, National Review‘s Ramesh Ponnuru commented on the Time/Pelsoi article as follows:

Massimo Calabresi reports in Time that the deal “has drawn attacks from both sides of the political spectrum. The right is unhappy at concessions made to protect civil liberties; the left is furious that the Democrats allowed the domestic spying powers to be extended in any form.” I haven’t heard much unhappiness being expressed from righties.

I haven’t either. Actually, I’ve heard literally none. As I documented the other day, even the most extreme right-wing absolutists on spying and presidential powers are happy with the bill. The only dissatisfaction with the bill comes from Democrats and civil-liberties-defending libertarians. How can a bill that makes every Republican, including Dick Cheney, ecstatic, while infuriating huge portions of the Democratic base, possibly be “a significant victory for the Democratic Party,” as Hoyer proclaimed it to be?Regarding Pelosi’s claim that the Democrats won “significant concessions” — a claim repeated by Hoyer in the Politico article — Ponnuru says: “If that’s what they want to tell themselves, fine. It sure looks like they got rolled.” It looks that way because that’s what happened. Who exactly do Pelosi and Hoyer think they’re fooling with these self-glorifying claims that they stood down the Republicans and extracted concessions? Dick Cheney couldn’t wait to endorse the bill and GOP leaders and right-wing polemicists haven’t stopped boasting about how completely Democrats capitulated on what had been one of the most scandalous aspects of the Bush administration — the fact that he got caught breaking the law when spying on Americans. Doesn’t it rather obviously compound, rather than mitigate, the Democrats’ humiliation to try to pretend this was some great victory when everyone can see how absurd — pitifully so — that claim is?

The Politico article (which, incidentally, misquotes this post of mine completely) also says this:

Despite those efforts, liberal activists were furious at what they view as a sellout by House Democrats on FISA, particularly on the retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies.Two liberal groups, Blue America PAC and ColorofChange.org PAC, ran a full-page ad in The Washington Post spelling out their displeasure with Hoyer. But Hoyer has been targeted by the left in the past — MoveOn.org has run radio ads against him — but he was reelected with nearly 83 percent of the vote in 2006, and he’s never drawn less than 65 percent of the vote.

“I am aware of it,” Hoyer said of the loud criticism from progressive groups of the FISA agreement. “When you try to reach a compromise, the people on one side or the other are not pleased.”

Hoyer has this backwards. The nature of a “compromise” is that neither side is happy with the outcome. Where, as here, one side is ecstatic and the other side is furious, that, by definition, is not a “compromise.” It is, as Russ Feingold correctly says, a full-scale “capitulation.” Hoyer’s bill gives the two gifts the administration most wanted — the power to engage in “vacuum-cleaner” surveillance of communications over U.S. telephone and email networks with no warrant requirement (and no required connection to Terrorism) and a guaranteed end to the telecom lawsuits.

2 Responses to “Hoyer and Pelosi To Their Base: You Should Thank Us for Screwing You”

  1. keybagmicros says:

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  2. slag says:

    FISA is the mullet of compromises. Thanks, Steny and Nancy! A plague on both your houses.

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