Thursday, February 28

FISA As a Wedge Issue

In order to attack Democrats in weak Congressional districts, it appears that Republican operatives are using the House's refusal to vote on the FISA bill as a wedge issue based accusing these Dems as being weak on protecting Americans from terrorists.

Truthout Reports:
An aggressive campaign by the White House and its allies to win approval of
a new electronic spying bill is escalating partisan tensions on Capitol Hill.
The contentious debate over the measure could spill over into this fall's
election campaign.

The latest tactic employed by administration
supporters involves a $2 million television advertising campaign featuring
sinister images of Osama bin Laden that started running this week in the home
districts of about 15 Democratic members of Congress who are potentially
vulnerable this fall. The ads, funded by a newly formed conservative advocacy
group called, charge that House Democrats have allowed
"surveillance against terrorists" to be "crippled" because they failed to
approve a version of the spying bill supported by the Bush administration.

The group, run by Clifford May, a former
communications director of the Republican National Committee, has not disclosed
the names of its donors. May told NEWSWEEK that he launched the campaign for the
express purpose of ratcheting up pressure on House Democrats. (The ads call on
voters to contact specific Democratic members and demand that they vote "to keep
us all safe.") "I think it's important for Democrats to hear from their
constituents on this issue," May said. "This is a national security

Democrats complain that the administration is
trying to politicize the electronic surveillance issue and use it for partisan
advantage this fall. "If you look at these ads, they are not too different from
the ads they ran against Max Cleland in 2002," said Meredith Salsbery, press
secretary to Minnesota Democratic Rep. Tim Walz, whose district has been
targeted in the advertising campaign. (Those notorious ads impugned the
patriotism and national security credentials of the Democratic senator from
Georgia, a Vietnam veteran and triple amputee who wound up losing his
re-election bid.) "To a lot of our constituents, these ads look like
fear-mongering and scare tactics designed to persuade the public that the
Democrats are soft on national security." More

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