Tuesday, May 09, 2006

What if it isn't about the spies? An alternate theory of the Hayden nomination.

Yes, Bush may be calculating that people are more concerned about the threat of teorrorism than the threats to civil liberties, and that this issue will pull the Repubs through the midterms, but I don't think so. He may genuinely think that Hayden is simply the best man for the job (and he may be) but I don't think that's the motive, either. Here's my guess:

Rove has been saying that Republicans need to make this election about how the entire Republican party is tougher on defense against terrorism than the Dems. I think part of the strategy may have less to do less with winning the election than with reuiniting party defectors. Bush is more worried about losing the Repubs than the election.

After all, losing the Senate is unlikely, but losing enough Repub senators to push through an article of impeachment is possible. If the Dems take control of the house, the issue will be how many Republican senators would be willing to break ranks. How can Bush generate an insurance policy? Imagine if there were a way to make sure all the Republican senators had a vote on their record that would certify them as anti-terror at the expense of civil rights. Imagine if they all voted for the guy who ran the NSA program which will certainly be part of whatver article of impeachent Dems draw up.

Bush needs to force these guys to unite behind one anti-terror-screw-civil-rights banner, and making them do so makes them look like flip-flopers come impeachement time. This might be a move to ward off impeachment already, which is a nice sign, because if they know it's coming, the Dems sure as hell know it's coming and are strategizing to make it happen.

Hopefully, rather than serving as an insurance policy for the Pres, this will actually speed up the process. As Republican senators set themselves apart (keeping their eyes on '08) Hayden will get more difficult questions, and the more heard questions Hayden gets, and the more he struggles, the more it will be guessed that these Repubs might support an article of impeachment. And, as we all know, perception has a way of becoming reality in Washington. Sentaors might think, "If everybody else was grilling Bush via Hayden, they must not like him, so I won't either." This could give the impeachment movement momentum before the elections.

Sure, maybe I'm being overly optomistic, but think about it this way; just as no one wants to be the last man to die in the wrong war, no one wants to be the last guy to go down supporting the wrong president.

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