Thursday, March 09, 2006

NYT: Suddenly, a Rebellion in the G.O.P.

Suddenly, a Rebellion in the G.O.P. on a Signature Issue - New York Times: "After more than five years of allowing President Bush relatively free rein to set their course, Republicans in Congress are suddenly, if selectively, in rebellion, a mutiny all the more surprising since it centers on the party's signature issue of national security.

In a rebuke to the White House, House Republicans are moving aggressively to put the brakes on the takeover by a Dubai company of some port terminal operations in several large American cities, an effort that moved forward on Wednesday with broad bipartisan support.

At the same time, Republicans in the Senate are wrestling with how hard to press the White House for more authority over Mr. Bush's eavesdropping program, seeking a middle ground between Democratic calls for an investigation of the program and White House demands to keep hands off.

In the case of the port deal, the political considerations are clearly paramount for Republicans and are compelling. Public opinion appears to be strongly against allowing an Arab company to manage some port terminals in the United States, Democrats are hammering Republicans on the issue, and the White House has been unable to provide much political cover to its allies on Capitol Hill.

When it comes to the debate over how and whether to allow eavesdropping without warrants on terror suspects, the politics are more muddled. The White House has had considerable success defining that issue on its terms, as antiterrorist surveillance, and there has been no broad public outcry against it. Republicans on Capitol Hill have been left grappling with how to balance their concerns about granting the president wide wartime powers against the perception that they might weaken a program that the administration says protects Americans from attack.

Still, ev"


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