FRUSTRATED, ANGRY REPUBLICANS [Byron York]Yep.
All across Washington today, Republican frustration has shot off the scale after the successful filibuster in the Senate of the extension of the Patriot Act. First, Republicans I have talked to are angry at the four GOP senators who voted with Democrats to filibuster the Act -- John Sununu, Larry Craig, Lisa Murkowski, and Chuck Hagel. "Disgusting," said one Hill Republican. "Just disgusting." More substantively, pro-Patriot Act Republicans are angry because they believe that if the Act is allowed to expire, key weapons in the war on terror will be lost. But Republicans are angry about more than just the Patriot Act. When the filibuster is viewed in context with some other recent developments -- the Bush surrender on the treatment of terrorist detainees, today's New York Times story on "secret" National Security Agency surveillance, and the Democrats' continuing "Bush lied and people died" campaign against the administration's conduct of the war on terror -- a number of Republicans believe they are in a titanic struggle, not just against global terrorism, but against those in the United States who oppose the administration's policies in the fight against global terrorism. And all of it comes against the backdrop of a stunning success in the Iraqi elections, in which pro-democratic forces were able to attract the participation of large numbers of Sunnis. Put it together, and today has been a day of great success and bitter anger for supporters of the Bush administration.
I am becoming increasingly convinced that we are either too stupid or too gutless to win this thing.
Listen - these guys - the terrorists and the leaders of sympathetic countries, especially Iran, North Korea, and Libya - like to parade around in uniform and give fiery speeches about the Great Satan and evil and terrible we and our decadent ways are.
They did that before 9/11, too. Then some of them decided to finally act on it.
It's a great deal for those dictatorships - they get to see their enemy given a black eye at negligible cost and at no accountability to them.
The Bush Doctrine was supposed to change that. So far as it has been applied, it has. But our enemies think we lack the will to persevere.
And today's vote suggests they're right. We may very well be back to a mindset where 9/11 never happened. And if that's the case, Heaven help us. Because our enemies mean what they say. We would do well to take them at their words.