Republicans — Too Straightforward to be Savvy?

The Wall Street Journal (http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2008/02/29/political-perceptions-release-the-secret-weapon-obamacans/) reported that crossover Republican voters may skew next week’s Democratic primary in favor of Senator Barack Obama:

Some … genuinely like Obama; some dislike Sen. Hillary Clinton so much they’ll vote for another Democrat next Tuesday just to stop her.

It’s unclear if those Republicans would follow-up with votes for Senator Obama in the November general election. We suspect that, even if Senator Obama tracks back toward the political center as the campaign progresses, they may find an imperfect Republican candidate preferable to a Democrat. But if Senator Clinton, who is a much more divisive figure than Senator Obama, would be the easier Democrat to defeat in November, won’t these primary-season “Obamacans” be making it harder for the Republican ticket to prevail?

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Who’s Afraid of Wiretaps?

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence — the HPSCI, usually pronounced “HIP-see” — will take a classified briefing today on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). We presume the HPSCI members are well-versed in the FISA law itself, so this briefing will cover the current intelligence-gathering situation after the Protect America Act — which amended the FISA — expired on February 17th. In particular, it may include the matter of telecommunications companies’ immunity from lawsuits that arise from their cooperation with national security investigations.

We may hope that, after this briefing, the HPSCI members rise in support of the bill that recently passed the Senate, and pressure the House leadership to bring the matter to a vote. We remain skeptical, but optimistic. How else are we to live?

We wonder, however, at the subtle irony that on the HPSCI’s web page, http://intelligence.house.gov/, we are treated to the graphic of the Homeland Security Advisory System showing an “Elevated” threat level: “Significant risk of terrorist attacks.” How much different might that level be, were it not for our operatives’ ability to eavesdrop on potential terrorist communications? Should our elected leaders not give those operatives every possible tool to protect us?

Yes, they should; the question is whether they will.

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If you heed the Gray Man’s warning, …

… you make it safely through the storm.

At least, that’s how the legend of the “Gray Man,” the ghost of Pawleys Island, SC, has it. Even though we’re not warning about approaching storms — or at least not real, physical storms — this blog marks a new attempt at getting our warnings out to the world.

Hopefully, some folks will come and join us from time to time ….

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