The Nov. elections: Will the GOP base turn out?
Recently, the Bush Administration is beginning to move forward on some issues that may help the GOP retain its majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. Recall, the House is the only body that can vote to impeach a President.
Democrat leaders have already let it be known that the prime objective of a Democrat-controlled House will be to impeach President Bush. While that threat may or may not be realized, we can be sure a Democrat-controlled House would not address any other substantive issues during the remaining years of the Bush presidency.
What happens in November, 2006, will depend on whether the “it’s-my-way-or-take-the-highway” Republicans stay away from the polls or will the Republican base understand what a Democrat-controlled House would mean and keep the House in Republican hands?
Meanwhile, the GOP has some good issues going for it. Polls -- those that are not rigged to obtain a pre-determined answer -- show Americans do not mind if the National Security Agency (NSA) has a data base of U.S. phone numbers. Most Americans can see the importance of a NSA capability to match overseas telephone numbers, thought to be used by terrorists, with a possible pattern of those numbers making repeated calls to any of the domestic telephone numbers in the NSA data base. After all, printed phone books reveal much, much more about us.
Then, if a particular U.S. phone number is receiving a pattern of “hits” from overseas by a known or suspected terrorist phone number, a warrant is sought for permission to begin to listen in on the phone conversations approved by the warrant. Even the most mentally-challenged person in the village can understand that. Unfortunately, some members of Congress can’t or don’t want to understand the telephone number program.
It was no accident that the nomination of former NSA director, General Michael Hayden, to be CIA Director, prompted a leak about the NSA’s telephone number program. Again, the dullest thinker in the village would conclude that leak came from Democrat congresspersons and/or their staffers.
After a distinguished military career, one of my best friends served as a senior Democrat staffer on the Senate Armed Services Committee. He quit in disgust because he got tired of listening to other congressional staffers discussing highly classified information on the elevators, in the hallways, and in trendy Georgetown watering holes.
Recall, the purpose of secret information is to keep our methods and sources of gathering intelligence and the intelligence we have gathered from those who would do our nation harm. As my friend told me, “Any enemy intelligence agent or news reporter with 20/20 hearing could compile a top-secret document in just one day of walking around congressional office buildings.”
When yours truly was an intelligence officer in West Germany, my partner and I sometimes went to the U.S. Embassy in Bonn to pick up COSMIC Top Secret (no foreign distribution) documents from the Embassy’s document repository. You could tell the young Foreign Service Officers “stuck” with classified document duty thought it was a joke.
One time, we presented a pass to the Circus Barum (a traveling circus in Europe) as our bona fides, and walked off with the maintenance manual for a 155mm, atomic artillery shell. Duh.
More recently, Bill Clinton’s former National Security Advisor was caught sneaking highly classified documents out of the National Archives in his socks. He got a slap on the wrist or, as it were, ankle. No wonder those who think they should be making national policy instead of doing apolitical analysis think they can “leak” with impunity.
Meanwhile, the call by President Bush for increased border security, coupled with a guest-worker program, has found a receptive national audience. The economy is booming, another round of tax cuts is now law and the prescription drug benefit for seniors is working so well that even the AARP likes it. That’s a bitter “pill” for the Democrat-dominated AARP. Even so, control of the House still depends on a strong turn-out by the GOP base in November.
William Hamilton, a syndicated columnist, a featured commentator for USA Today and self-described “recovering lawyer and philosopher,” is the co-author of The Grand Conspiracy and The Panama Conspiracy – two thrillers about terrorism directed against the United States.
©2006. William Hamilton.