Just a quick point to anyone out there who, amidst recent comparisons to Watergate regarding abuse of presidential power, might be thinking of the "i-word": Nixon was impeached for abusing his powers in an attempt to squash the opposition political party; the current president appears to have circumvented existing law in an attempt to secure the country from terrorists.
Breaking the law to do so isn't a good thing, of course, but somehow I don't think that Joe Public is going to make a big fuss about his civil liberties when, like John Dickerson says in the podcast linked to in my previous post, "regular folks...think about bombings at their shopping mall or at their theater, they'll side with the president."
My prediction? Some compromise will be reached and existing laws may be modified, but this is not going to be the major scandal some predict. It is definitely a very, very important issue, and one that needs to be publicly debated, but I suspect that most of the discourse will take place in the editorial pages of major newspapers and unfortunately not on the proverbial "street corners" of this country. Despite what you might see in the New York Times (recently, a full page ad by the ACLU making the Nixon connection), civil liberties just aren't that sexy.
CB Archive: "Spy Games" (December 21, 2005)