A reader at Birmingham Blues passed on this interesting bit of perspective on Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID). Back in 2005, when Bush was pushing for renewal of the Patriot Act, he faced opposition from several senators in his own party, including Craig.
While die-hard Republicans try to present a unified front in support of President George W. Bush’s evasion of the law and Constitution in ordering nonstop spying on Americans, splits are showing in the GOP ranks.
“What's wrong with it is several-fold,” former GOP Congressman Bob Barr says of the domestic spying. “One, it is bad policy for our government to be spying on American citizens through the National Security Agency. Secondly, it's bad to be spying on Americans without court oversight. And thirdly, it's bad to be spying on Americans apparently in violation of federal laws against doing it without a court order.”
Barr, one of the most conservative members of Congress when he served in the House, leads an increasing group of disenchanted Republicans who have had enough of Bush’s misuse of the law and encroachment of civil liberties that are supposed to be protected by the Constitution. He has joined with fellow conservative firebrand Phyllis Schlafly and the ultra-liberal American Civil Liberties Union to fight renewal of many of the rights-robbing provisions of the USA Patriot Act.
And he’s not alone. Republican Senators Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, Larry Craig of Idaho and Olympia Snowe of Maine question Bush’s actions along with Pennsylvania Republican Arlen Specter, chairman of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee. [emphasis added]
The article notes that Bush was very unhappy with then-Majority Leader Bill Frist, whose struggles with ethics questions kept him from effectively quelling dissent in the ranks. Frist, who had been considered a serious candidate for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, instead chose to retire from the senate in 2006.
Bush was also just a little ticked off at Larry Craig.
Bush is also angry with Craig, a conservative who joined with Democrats in a filibuster to defeat permanent renewal of the Patriot Act. As a meeting recently, Bush referred to Craig as “a goddamned traitor” and told the National Republican Senatorial Committee to start recruiting someone to run against the Idaho Senator in 2008.
Such anger against those who dare oppose him is typical for a President who all too often launches into obscene tirades when his policies are questioned. Bush, on many occasions, has called political opponents “traitors’ and, in private, refers to Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter as a “lily-livered bastard.”
Craig, however, is unfazed by all this and says the Patriot Act “doesn't do enough to protect the civil liberties of innocent Americans.”
And while Criag, Hagel, Snowe and Specter are willing to speak out publicly about the illegal actions of a President who is a member of their own party, other Republicans stick to grumbling in private – not surprising given the President’s reputation to waging wars on revenge against those who oppose him.
Yeah, I guess this could explain why the White House didn't even make a pretense of defending Craig before the GOP tossed him under a Metro bus. Perhaps Bush remembered the old Klingon proverb: revenge is a dish best served cold.