Transcript: Duelling stories, Democratic Dilemma (voting for the FISA Act), Aug 09 2007

Thom, concerning Diane Feinstein and others voting for the FISA Act (which he thinks was a mistake).

Duelling stories, Democratic Dilemma rant, 09 August 2007

Thom, concerning Diane Feinstein and others voting for the FISA Act (which he thinks was a mistake):

All of us have to consider the political calculus here and consider the position that these people find themselves in...

If, God forbid, there was another attack in the United States, a spectacular attack, I mean as in, you know, large, impossible to ignore, another 9/11 kind of thing, there are going to be two competing story lines about what happened, just as there were hours after 9/11.

One of those story lies is going to be, "How could George Bush have let this happen? He wasn't paying attention. He didn't secure our ports. He wasn't checking the cargo on the airliners." You know, blah-de-blah-de-blah-de-blah. "How could George Bush have let this happen?" That's going to be one of the story lines. And along with this story line will be, "and these people are criminals and we should pull the world together in a unified group, and all the police agencies around the world, and find them and prosecute them as criminals". That's the one story line.

The other story line, the competing story line, is, "Those Democrats prevented Bush from stopping this from happening. Those Democrats didn't give Bush the tools he needed to prevent this from happening and the blood is on their hands and it's all their fault."

Now, if the media in the United States was completely, literally, fair and balanced; if there was a broad level of impartiality, if we actually had news news and we didn't have reporters who were basically stenographers for the White House in most of the White House Press Corps, and we didn't have the vast majority of all talk radio in America being right wing talk radio, you could say, let those two arguments compete with each other in the market place of ideas.

But look back at what happened after 9/11. Those two arguments were being put out then too. And the argument that said, "you know, George Bush was warned that this was coming, the argument that said why Dick Cheney was put in charge of the Homeland Security Task Force in January of 2001 and it never met before 9/11. Instead, he had his energy task force meeting where they were planning how to carve up Iraq. That story line, which by the way is a true story line, that never made it through to the American people.

And then, on top of that, if you're a Senator or a member of the House of Representatives, remember that when the Patriot Act after 9/11 was dropped in the laps of Congress, there were only two guys who could have stopped it: Pat Leahy, who was the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee because the Democrats had, for that little window of time there, the Democrats had control of the Senate, remember, because the Republican Senator for Vermont said, you know, "I'm out of here". Jim Jeffords. So, as a consequence of that, Pat Leahy, who was the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he could have blocked that bill, the Patriot Act, in committee. And if he passed it through committee, Tom Daschle could have blocked it on the floor of the Senate, because these were the two guys who had the ability to say yes or no to whether a vote was going to be held on a piece of legislation.

And who, right after the Patriot Act was introduced, and both of these guys had come out with some statements that indicated that they had some doubts about this piece of legislation, who were the only two member of Congress who were subject to assassination attempts? Five, six other people were murdered, and they tried to murder Pat Leahy and Tom Daschle, the only two members of Congress who got anthrax in the mail.

So, you're a member of Congress and you see Bush coming down the road and you're hearing from the intelligence community, it looks like a hit is coming, and that seems to be the primary meme right now, and I'm hearing this from a number of lawmakers that all the intelligence community is saying there's another hit on the United States. And after all, after all we've done, I mean, Bush has done everything he can to try and generate one; he's inflamed the entire Muslim world, he's created, you know, the president of Egypt came out and said that if Bush invaded Iraq, he would create a hundred bin Ladens.

Well, we've created a thousand bin Ladens, and when that hit happens, God forbid, if it happens, what's the story line that's going to prevail? Will it be the thing that flips us into a hundred years of Republican rule? And let's hope not. And I think that at a certain level with this vote, as terrible and tragic as it was, some of these Democrats were trying to give themselves, in my opinion, political cover for an event like that. And it's a lousy way to legislate and it's a lousy reality, but it's a reality that we all have to acknowledge.

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