Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Big Brother II: Arlen Fires Another Blank

There used to be a joke (and probably still is) in the newsrooms where I worked to the effect that Arlen Specter was able to talk out of both sides of his mouth at the same time.

"Wafflin' Arlen," as we called the veteran Republican senator from Pennsylvania, marched before the cameras after USA Today reported that the NSA's domestic spying program was much broader than previously disclosed and announced that his Senate Judiciary Committee would be holding hearings posthaste to get to the bottom of this Orwellian outrage.

This prompted CNN's Jack McCaffery to declare that:
We better all hope nothing happens to Arlen Specter . . . because he might be all that's standing between us and a full-blown dictatorship in this country.
I noted that Mr. McCaffery might be jumping the gun given Specter's history as a waffler. I was right.

The Hill reports in a front-page article that Specter, true to form, has capitulated to right-wing colleagues who have been blocking a long overdue judicial review of the NSA program. Glenn Greenwald puts it all into perspective in a spot-on post at Unclaimed Territory.

Specter has another nickname -- "Mr. Single Bullet" -- for his oft challenged assertion as the Warren Commission's counsel that Lee Harvey Oswald was the sole gunman and fired but a single shot to bring down President Kennedy.

Regardless of what you think about that, it's obvious that when it comes to a real NSA investigation, Specter has fired another blank.

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