It didn't take too long for the president's lusted-after legalization of the wiretapping program (sorry, terrorist surveillance program) to die on the vine. Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter has met his match in, of all people (when you're talking about defending the Constitution), Russ Feingold.
"We have seen the incipient stage of filibuster by amendment," the Pennsylvania Republican testily declared as he called off a vote to move his bill to the Senate floor. "Filibuster by speech, filibuster by amendment. Obstructionism."
The target of his ire was Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wis., who spoke against the bill for about a quarter of the panel's two-hour meeting and offered four amendments. Feingold, a possible presidential candidate, said Specter's bill would give the White House too much power to eavesdrop without a warrant in some circumstances.
Why did this fail? My theory is that 1)Democrats and some Republicans are philosophically opposed to it anyway and 2)said Democrats and Republicans are emboldened by the looming GOP defeat. I was out with a couple Hill staffers last night, and they were absolutely sure that the Democrats were going to win Congress in two months. The RNC's time machine was all for naught.