The American Civil Liberties Union is running Internet advertisements depicting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) as sheep.
"Bush wanted more power to eavesdrop on ordinary Americans, and we just followed along. I guess that's why they call us the Democratic leadersheep," say the two farm animals in the ad, referring to Congress's passage of legislation granting Bush a six-month extension and expansion of his warrantless wiretapping program.
Rep. Rush D. Holt (D-N.J.), who leads a newly created House select intelligence oversight panel, lamented, "Democrats have been slow to recognize they are in the majority now and can go back to really examine the fundamentals of what we should be doing to protect democracy."
Actually, maybe the division isn't between those who think the terrorists are our biggest enemy versus those who think George W. Bush is, but rather those who think that standing up for terrorists just to oppose Bush is political suicide versus those who don't care so long as they take out the Bush War on Terror:
Reid and Pelosi promised last week that they would at least confront the president next month over his wiretapping program, with Pelosi taking an uncompromising stand in a private conference call with House Democrats. When lawmakers return in September, Democrats will also push legislation to restore habeas corpus rights for terrorism suspects and may resume an effort to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
But conservative Democrats and some party leaders continue to worry that taking on those issues would expose them to Republican charges that they are weak on terrorism. And advocates of a strong push on the terrorism issues are increasingly skeptical that they can prevail...
"The most controversial matters are the ones that people use to form their opinions on their members of Congress," said Rep. Lincoln Davis (D-Tenn.), who voted for the administration's bill. "I do know within our caucus, and justifiably so, there are members who have a real distaste for some of the things the president has done. But to let that be the driving force for our actions to block the surveillance of someone and perhaps stop another attack like 9/11 would be unwise."...
"If you just say you're standing up for civil liberties, the American people are with you, but if you say terrorism suspects should have civil liberties, it stretches Americans' tolerance," said Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.), who along with [Florida Democratic Rep. Alcee] Hastings represents Congress on the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, a human rights monitor. "It's a tough issue for us."
One of the most interesting things about this article is that it quotes and names so many Democrats (and one Republican, if in name only) as favoring habeas corpus rights for terrorists, shutting Guantanamo Bay, and restricting the ability of intelligence services to monitor international communications of terror suspects:
And it closes with the most telling quote of all:
"We can do this, but you have to keep in mind Republicans care more about catching Democrats than catching terrorists," said Rep. Rahm Emanuel (Ill.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. "They have spent years taking Roosevelt's notion that we have nothing to fear but fear itself and given us nothing but fear."