It may be dawning on some Democrats that letting the tail wag the dog has consequences. The left-wing blogosphere demanded that Democrats mount a filibuster against Judge Alito's confirmation, and naturally (see here), Sen. John Kerry led the charge. The result was a front-page headline, "Failed Filibuster Bid Worries Democrats," in today's Roll Call newspaper. Now, the Democratic leadership, cheered on by the same group that championed the filibuster, is ready to pounce on the president's NSA surveillance program in the weeks ahead. But, unlike Sen. Kerry, it appears that Gov. Vilsack, a prospective Democratic presidential candidate, is not about to be led around by the nose by the far left.
From today's Des Moines Register:
Vilsack: Opposing wiretapping dangerous for Democrats
Gov. Tom Vilsack said Monday that Democrats risk political backlash if they object to the Bush administration's wiretapping but cannot show that Americans' civil liberties are at risk.
The Democratic governor, who is weighing a 2008 presidential bid, said the party will suffer if it continues to be perceived as weaker than Republicans on national security....
"If the president broke the law, that's unacceptable. But I think it's debatable whether he did," Vilsack told Des Moines Register editors and reporters.
"And I think Democrats are falling into a very, very large political trap," he said. "Democrats are not going to win elections until they can reassure people they are going to keep them safe."
Bush has said the practice is limited to people suspected of terrorist ties and is necessary to conduct the war on terrorism.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean has compared the practice to President Nixon's practice of monitoring his political adversaries' communications.