For those of a Republican bent, Election Day wasn't much fun. But that's not to say that defeat doesn't bring with it certain muted pleasures of its own. Such as watching the liberal media take the Dem congressional majority to task as it begins to moonwalk away from various campaign promises. Chief among those pledges was this one, part of the DNC's official 6-Point Plan for 2006:
"We want to close the remaining gaps in our security by enacting the 9/11 Commission recommendations."
One of the most important 9/11 panel recommendations called for Congress to reform its own house when it comes to the oversight of intelligence. This might sound like inside baseball, but it's important. The basic notion is this: intelligence agencies will be most responsive to those congressional committees that control their budgets. The way Congress is currently organized, the various committees on intelligence - those with the most expertise in the area - are effectively toothless. They have no budget control over the intelligence agencies they theoretically oversee. Instead, budgetary control is in the hands of the armed services committees and the appropriations panels' defense subcommittees.
The Dems had promised to change this, but now that they're in power, they've effectively ditched the idea, loath to offend the powerful chairmen of the committees who would be stripped of the budgetary authority. Those wanting more details will find them in this WaPo article.
The New York Times is not pleased. In its editorial of this morning Cherry-Picking Campaign Promises, the Gray Lady takes the Dems to task in these terms:
"[T]he victors seem to be having second thoughts. Instead of attempting wholesale committee reform in the first weeks of Congress, Democratic leaders may punt the idea toward oblivion in some sort of a study panel, according to The Washington Post. Nothing could be more disappointing to voters. . . Surely, the leaders of the new Congress know they will be risking the nation’s security, far more than their credibility, if they retreat from the vow to do a stronger job of oversight."
The liberal Seattle Times has a similar editorial out today.
The internecine Dem wars might not have the sheer entertainment value of the impending NFL playoffs. But for GOP fans still licking their Election Day wounds, they should still make for some satisfying spectator sport.
Contact Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org