I think every Republican who wants to defend Bush on this one should be forced to utter the sentence, "I would not hesitate to see President Hillary Clinton have the same authority."The rest of his comment is worth reading too, but that bit really sums it all up.
Another good statement appears on Huffington Post, in an article by David Sirota:
[T]his isn't a question of whether America supports domestic surveillance operations against terrorists or not. This is a question of whether America supports those operations without requiring a warrant.Exactly. There are perfectly legal, constitutional ways to spy on people who might really be a danger to the nation. The only reason a president would have to get rid of those requirements, to allow wiretaps and spying contrary to the law of the land, is to spy on people who aren't really a danger to the nation, only a danger to his own political goals.
The truth is, domestic surveillance operations happen all the time. They are such a part of our culture, they are a regular topic of television shows and movies (think Serpico or Stakeout). But they are also governed by the U.S. Constitution's 4th Amendment, which explicitly protects citizens against "unreasonable search and seizures" and requires the executive branch to obtain a warrant from the objective judiciary branch in order to do surveillance operations.
So the question reporters should be asking the White House isn't why the president thinks there should be domestic efforts to track and stop terrorists. The vast majority of Americans think that. The question reporters should be asking is "Why did the President order domestic surveillance operations without obtaining constitutionally-required warrants?" That is behavior that most Americans who believe in the Constitution likely do not support at all.