There's been a little fuss over Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and his comments at Gen. Michael Hayden's confirmation hearing.

I am a strong supporter of the First Amendment, the Fourth Amendment and civil liberties. But you have no civil liberties if you are dead.

This would be one thing if Roberts was flustered and winging it to defend the nominee. But he's said the same thing multiple times this year. He said it on March 26 and February 3. Senators Jeff Sessions and John "I miss Harriet Miers" Cornyn have used the same line of, uh, argumentation, but Roberts alone thinks it's clever enough to keep repeating.

Leave aside the pillow-clenching fear of terrorism from a senator who represents Kansas. Is there anything the "rights don't matter if you're dead" card can't apply to? It's not hard to imagine another senator (or more probably Bill O'Reilly) arguing that we need to curtail free speech rights to nail sexual predators, because civil rights don't matter if you're tracked down and killed by a perverted MySpace user. And if a report comes out about terrorists wanting to use handguns to take over a train or plane, senators could justify a massive gun grab - hey, the Second Amendment doesn't matter if you're dead.