Washington Post staff writer Jonathan Weisman had the lead story on page A01 of the paper: "Patriot Act Extension Is Reduced To a Month," with the subheading being "House Action Overcomes Senate's Longer Reprieve"
It is entirely reasonable to believe that Mr. Weisman's copy would be on the renewal of the Patriot Act itself, and the many different paths it took to get where it wound up. That would be the logical progression of thought, but alas, this is the Washington Post, one of
Weisman at first describes the extension of the Patriot Act for only 5 weeks as a near-personal defeat for Bush, instead of what it truly is: A near-defeat for the American people, and a victory for terrorists.
"The House action was a setback for Bush, who had repeatedly said he would not accept a "short-term extension." Wednesday night's Senate action, which increased the proposed extension from three months to six, was seen in part as a way for Bush and his allies to save face... Yesterday's House vote not only erased the face-saving measure, but it also forced Bush to accept the shortest extension that lawmakers had seriously considered."
But here is where the story ends for the Patriot Act, and begins for the Republicans in Congress, who were part of "a year marked by bitter infighting in a Republican caucus that had been known for exceptional discipline."
Weisman continues: "Congress finished a year in which it rebuffed Bush on many of his top priorities and showed a new willingness to assert its prerogatives after four years during which the president largely dictated the terms and sought to expand executive power at the expense of the legislative branch."
Translation: Bush cannot run again, and is, in essence, a "lame duck," and Congress is thinking about its own electoral prospects in 2006.
After a few more shots at the GOP in general, Weisman tries to resurrect the media drumbeat against Rep. Tom DeLay, who was indicted on September 28 and accused of money laundering.
Here, the Post attempts to hammer the "hammer: "But congressional experts and former Republican lawmakers say that, despite those accomplishments, the year will be remembered more for the indictment of former House majority leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) in September and the ensuing leadership discord, the growing stain of embattled Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff, and the chaotic conclusion that kept Congress in active legislative session longer than in any year since 1987."
Now what does Tom DeLay have to do with a story about the Patriot Act? If you said "nothing," then you deserve to be hailed as someone having common sense.
Of course, what progressive periodical would be complete without the obligatory Republican(s) wringing his hands, and sounding defeat?
"If you look at the whole, they didn't have a bad year," said former representative Vin Weber (R-Minn.), who remains influential with congressional Republicans. "But, unfortunately, what matters politically is not the whole, but the end. And the end didn't end very well."
Or try this:
"Former DeLay aide Michael Scanlon has already agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors looking into Abramoff's relationships with members of Congress. Now Abramoff himself is nearing a plea agreement that could turn him against at least a dozen lawmakers and congressional aides. Weber said House leaders should view the investigation with "paramount seriousness."
"It's the cumulative effect of all of this, whether it is scandal, or failure to get an agenda enacted or questions in the paper every day about unauthorized wiretaps and the failure of Congress to get involved," fretted another former Republican congressman, Mickey Edwards (Okla.). "It's all adding up to a pretty serious situation."
All in all, a very poor report regarding the Patriot Act, but a great rendering in regard to the "All is Lost" GOP and its lame duck president, George W. Bush.