Sunday, February 05, 2006

Someone Take Mehlman To Task!

I watched Ken Mehlman on ABC's This Week this morning. I generally like George Stephanopolous, but I can't believe he let Mehlman skate on several outrageous statements. Stephanopolous made the point that Republicans (most recently in speeches by the President, Karl Rove and Mehlman himself) were throwing down the gauntlet on national security. He played a clip of Senator Chuck Haegle who said "I don't like it. It's wrong for this country. National security is more important than the Republican Party or the Democratic Party and to use it to get someone elected will ultimately end up in defeat and disaster for that political party." Stephanopolous asked Mehlman his response. He said "I wouild agree with him. I think national security is too important for partisanship."

After a further exchange and a statement by Mehlman that Democrats still used pre-9/11 thinking, Stephanopolou asked
"Are you saying the Democrats don't want to go after the enemy?"
Mehlman responded that Democrats continue to use pre-9/11 thinking. "Well I'm saying when the Chairman of the Democratic Party goes on radio and says we're going to lose the central front in the war on terror." Later he says, "When Harry Reid says we are going to kill the Patriot Act or we killed that Patriot Act, that doesn't connect the dots, that is pre-9/11. When you don't have the ability to listen in on foreign terrorists calling into this country to potential sleeper cells I think that unfortunately is a 9/11 view."

One, I believe Howard Dean was talking about the war in Iraq. It was Mehlman who twisted Dean's words and equated the war in Iraq and the war on terror. Republicans continue to do this because without this clearly untrue connection the failures in Iraq are more obvious. Howard Dean was not saying anything about the war on terror, he was talking about the war in Iraq and most of the country agrees with him. What Mehlman said was wrong and misleading and he knows it.

Two, as I understand it, Harry Reid was talking about stopping the final conference committee version of the Patriot Act. The Senate 79-9 had voted on a version Reid supported that contained a few changes that even many Republican Senators agreed were important to make. The House voted to basically reauthorize the current Patrior Act without any changes. This went to committee and what came out was the House version. Senator Reid wanted to stop that version from becoming law and instead gain some time to negotiate further to try to enact the Senate version (again, a version supported by most Republican Senators). Reid never tried to kill the Patriot Act. Senator Reid and the Democrats offered to extend the current Patrior Act to allow more time to debate the issue, which is what happened. If Senator Reid wanted to kill the Patrior Act, why did he vote on at least two occasions to extend it? Mehlman lied.

Finally, I don't believe I've heard of any Democrat that has said we shouldn't listen in on converstations between al Qaeda members and people in the United States. Democrats and some Republicans have questioned whether the way this administration has chosen to conduct this listening is legal. Members of both parties have agreed to help write legislation to make such listening legal and constitutinal. Most want oversight to ensure that rights are not being abused, but no one is saying we shouldn't try to intercept terrorist communications. The administration has refused to seek such legislation. Democrats have not called for the administation to stop this surveillance. Mehlman lied.

Ken Mehlman says that national security is too important for partisanship and then does just that. It is certainly fair to raise issues about how your opponent would approach national security, but when you distort their position you are not having an honest debate. That is partisan politics.

This guy is unbelievable! Today's distortions are even more reason to hope Brit Hume will leave Fox and replace Mehlman.

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