Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Roberts on political opportunism

Memory pillsIs the Roots Project getting under Senator Roberts' skin?

His op-ed for The Hill, "No room for political opportunism in ongoing national security debate," starts off well:
Inside the Beltway, political opportunism is too often the norm. Historically, however, members of Congress have checked their political agendas at the door when addressing sensitive national security matters.

Protecting the nation and its citizens from enemy attack was something on which most politicians could agree. Sadly it seems, only four and a half years after Sept. 11, that this is no longer the case.

Now, those of us not taking memory pills may recall that Senator Roberts has been stonewalling an investigation into allegations that the intelligence process which lead us to war in Iraq was politicized. We may expect that the paragraphs following those will be a mea culpa, apologizing for allowing national security to have been hijacked by politicians looking for an excuse to invade Iraq. Or perhaps he's looking back on the way he allowed politics to sway him to back an unpopular and potentially illegal program of warrantless surveillance of American citizens.

But you'll be shocked (shocked!) to learn that he actually wastes his ink attacking his former colleagues in the press for publishing material of public interest and his colleagues in the House and Senate for demanding accountability and oversight.

And it makes me want his doctor to up the dose on his memory pills when he writes:
It is the constitutional duty of those in the executive branch to make the tough decisions necessary to prosecute and win wars. That is not the case for those of us in the legislative branch, who have the luxury of criticizing actions after the fact with the benefit of hindsight.
The legislative branch has the power "to declare war, grant letters of marquee and reprisal and make rules regarding captures on land and water; to raise and support armies…; to provide and maintain a navy; to make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces."

It seems that it's the constitutional duty of those in the legislative branch to make the tough decisions necessary to prosecute and win wars. The founders made a conscious choice to spread this power, like many others, among the branches to ensure oversight and accountability.

He also attacks members of the minority (Democrats, say it!), but someone doesn't mention that his colleague from Kansas is one of many Republicans who are on the other side of the issue.

Everything that happens in the Senate is politics, and that isn't a bad thing. The bad thing is partisan politics, and this isn't a partisan issue. Concern is bipartisan and is rooted in our deepest constitutional commitments as a nation.

If there were a pill for that, I'd send Senator Roberts a prescription.