The race is on to determine which Republican can best walk and chew gum at the same time: that is, simultaneously fear-monger about the lapse of the Protect America Act while at the same time rejecting Democratic efforts to extend it for thirty days.
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President Bush, in his weekly radio address, warned: "We need to know who our enemies are and what they are plotting. And we cannot afford to wait until after an attack to put the pieces together." Bush, remember, has threatened to veto any extension of the PAA.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), face underlit with a flashlight observed succinctly: "Itâs not about frightening the American people. The American people should be frightened and remember full well what happened on 9/11."
And House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO) ties it all up into a neat bow: "The implications of failing to act are real. If we let this law expire, we will go back to a system that last spring kept American soldiers in Iraq waiting on D.C. lawyers before they could look for a kidnapped colleague.... Our national security is far too important for another temporary patch."
For me, I have to say that Blunt takes the cake. Not only does it rely on the by-now debunked claim that the prior FISA law prevented the NSA from wiretapping Iraqi insurgents who'd kidnapped U.S. troops, but he claims that the old FISA law prevented the U.S. from even looking for those missing soldiers. And Blunt glancingly describes the administration lawyers who deal with surveillance authority as "D.C. lawyers." Gotta love that. His full statement, which is just bursting with distortions too numerous to catalog, is below.
Note: Any other outstanding examples we didn't note? Let us know in the comments.