I give you AlceeHastings, Democrat from Florida, the nextchairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligenceshould Democrats win a majority in the next Congress.
Before I explain exactly why that is a badthing for America, let me make clear that I am a registeredRepublican. I tell you this up front because several of my friendswho say they are Republicans have told me recently they intendto vote for Democrats this November, because the Republican Party hasbetrayed their trust.
These "Republicans" have two main gripes withthe party they embrace on sunny days.
Under Bush, they say, the size of the federalgovernment has expanded by leaps and bounds. We are small-governmentRepublicans. If our party won't limit the size of government, whowill? they ask. (Answer: not the Democrats, that's forsure).
Under Bush, they say &endash; gripe numbertwo &endash; the size of federal budget deficits continues to grow.It couldn't get much worse under tax and spend Democrats, they argue.What we have now are tax and spend Republicans. They need a lessonthat only electoral defeat can give them.
We all have heard such arguments from familyand friends. The Republicans won't do my bidding, so let's get rid ofthe Republicans!
Who cares if the Democrats won't do anybetter; at least my guys will have learned their lesson!
This column is not about the value ofconsensus, or about the need to find common ground with yourpolitical opponents for the greater good of the nation &endash;although both are extremely important when it comes to the day to daybusiness of actually governing.
It's about what my friend Paul Weyrichrecently evoked in reminiscing on what has disappeared from Americanpolitics since leftists (as opposed to liberals) took over theDemocrat party.
"There once was a time when you did notfear victory by the opposition party," Weyrich writes. "In 1960, Iworked hard for Nixon. I did everything I could to help him defeatSenator John F. Kennedy. But when the electoral votes were in andKennedy had apparently won, I was disappointed but had no fear in myheart."
No fear in my heart.
Now imagine for an instant Alcee Hastings aschairman of the House Permanent Select Committee onIntelligence.
Here is a man who was appointed to thefederal bench by Jimmy Carter in 1979, and whose outright corruptionwas so egregious that his own party saw fit to impeach him ten yearslater.
Judge Hastings was one of just six federaljudges since the beginning of the Republic to be impeached byCongress and removed from office by the United StatesSenate.
After his impeachment and removal from officein 1989 &endash; on charges of corruption and perjury &endash;Hastings did not retreat in a corner. He did not beg forgiveness. Hemade no public display of repentence.
On the contrary. Judge Hastings played theJesse Jackson race card. He was a victim. He had been wronged&endash; not the people of Florida, to whom he had lied and from whomhe had stolen (such is the meaning of perjury and corruption, afterall).
In November 1992, Hastings ran successfullyin the newly-created 23rd district of Florida, an overwhelminglyDemocrat district created by the Florida legislature after the1990 census as a safe Democratic seat.
Since then, Hastings has been re-elected withcomfortable margins every two years. His official biography makes nomention of the untidy fact of his impeachment and removal as afederal judge. I guess he figures it's not something potential votersin Broward and Palm Beach County need to know.
And that's just for starters.
Since Congress began investigating theSeptember 11 attacks, senior members of the U.S. intelligencecommunity have been in open revolt against the Bushadministration.
The leaders of this revolt continue to occupythe highest ranking positions in the intelligence community. Over thepast four years, their efforts to undermine the Bush administrationthrough the systematic leaking of national security secrets and thecompromise of top secret operations in the war on terror, constitutenothing less than treason.
They have been given cover by Democrats onboth the House and the Senate intelligence committees, who have beenmore than willing to serve as conduits for their partisanattacks against the Bush White House and, in some cases, as conduitsfor leaking intelligence secrets to the press.
Ever wonder how the media first learned thatthe CIA had set up "secret prisons" in Europe and the Middle East,where it was interrogating al Qaeda members captured during hush-hushoperations?
Or how the media first got wind that theNational Security Agency was listening to telephone calls and othercommunications between known terrorists and individuals in the UnitedStates, without seeking a warrant from the Foreign IntelligenceSurveillance court?
Or how the press got word of a long-standingeffort by the U.S. Treasury department to work with the SWIFT bankconsortium in Belgium, to monitor international wire transfers byindividuals suspected of terrorist ties?
These leaks have done irreparable harm to thepeople of the United States by limiting the ability of the U.S.government to track terrorists, capture them, and learn theirsecrets.
Alcee Hastings was not personally behindthose leaks, as far as I know. But Alcee Hastings, and the currentranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, Jane Harman(who is term-limited from becoming chairman should the Democrats winin November) have transformed the House intelligence committee fromits bipartisan oversight role into a highly-partisan attack committee&endash; at least, the forty percent of it they currentlycontrol.
Should Democrats win this November, we canexpert Mr. Hastings to use the HPSCI to conduct a series of partisanwitch hunts against the White House and against Republicans elsewherein the administration. These "investigations" will be conducted underthe banner of "oversight," and will allege partisan personnelappointments to top intelligence positions.
In fact, the goal of the Democrats is to usethe Congressional oversight process to cripple the ability of aRepublican administration to effectively run the federal government.
So far, they have made a pretty good job ofit, even though they have been in the minority. They hounded PorterGoss out as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and havebrought back a representative of the CIA "Old Boys Club," StephenKappes &endash; whom Mr. Goss correctly fired for insubordination inNovember 2004 &endash; as Deputy CIA director.
The word on the street is that Mr. Kappes isnow angling for the top CIA slot, after his current boss, Air ForceGeneral Michael Hayden, replaces John Negroponte as Director ofNational Intelligence later this year. (Mr. Negroponte is said towant Secretary of State, or NSC).
Imagine this pair: a former judge, impeachedfor corruption, teaming up with a former clandestine officer, firedfor insubordination, at the head of America's premier spyservice?
And you think they will turn their talents onal Qaeda?
My money is that they will use theirformidable powers to hound out Bush administration appointees fromthe intelligence community, and to quietly put an end to the waragainst our terrorist foes.
Call it, unilateral disarmament.
I give you Alcee Hastings.
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