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October 28, 2006
Isn't This What We Want In The Senate?

Rick Santorum is facing the fight of his life to win re-election to the US Senate, against Bob Casey, Jr, his Democratic challenger. He has struggled to get himself back into position to compete against Casey after starting off twenty points behind. Recently, Casey delivered a horrendous performance in an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer, which has helped put some wind behind Santorum's sails; Casey gave an incoherent dissertation on terrorism that had jaws dropping across Pennsylvania and the nation. I've put the passage in the extended entry, and the most disturbing part of it is that the Inquirer endorsed Casey anyway.

Instead, Santorum has been focused on national security and terrorism in a way that reveals Casey as the pretender he is. His new stump speech, which borrows its title from Winston Churchill (deliberately, I'm sure), is called "A Gathering Storm", and it lays out the challenge in front of us in stark terms:

How many Americans realize that Iran declared war on us 27 years ago - in 1979 - and has been killing Americans ever since?

Most everybody has heard by now that Iranian President Ahmadinejad has denied the Holocaust and called for Israel to be wiped off the face of the earth. But that's only the beginning of his mission. He continued with a rhetorical question: "Is it possible for us to witness a world without America and Zionism?" He answered himself: "But you had best know that this slogan and this goal are attainable, and surely can be achieved."

He is only the latest in a series of Iranian leaders who have vowed death to us and visited death upon us. Our troops in Iraq are killed by Iranian weapons paid for with Iranian money, smuggled into Iraq by Iranian logistics, and utilized by Iranian-trained terrorists. A couple of years ago you needed a security clearance to know this. Today it is common knowledge. Iran is the centerpiece of the assault against us and the other countries in the civilized world, which is why I fought so hard for passage of the Iran Freedom and Support Act.

I fought for it, and, after years of opposition from the Democrats, some of my own colleagues, the State Department and even the White House, it is now law.

I fought for it because I do not want my children to suffer through devastating attacks on American soil, and to risk their own lives in the battle against those who brazenly tell us they are planning to destroy what they call Anglo-Saxon civilization - and we call freedom.

This is an unpopular war. I have been ridiculed by the media and my opponents for defining the enemy Islamic fascism - they say words don't matter. But words do matter because words are what define the enemy we confront. Words are needed for Americans to comprehend what motivates the deeds that the enemy is planning, so we can effectively defeat them. And defeat them we must.

It's a tough, uncompromising speech, one that clearly states Santorum's position on the war on terror -- he wants to win it before it gets us all killed. Contrast those words with Casey's dodges in the extended entry, where he plays a rather sad version of "Who's On First?", and the choice for Pennsyvanians will be clear.

Interviewer: Let me ask you to shift gears to the anti-terrorism initiatives. Last night in the debate, I think you said that you'd support warrant- less wiretapping. How does that square with your suspicion about this White House? Why would you be willing to let them do that without judicial oversight? And on the Military Commissions Act, would that have been something you would have supported? In general, your outlook on anti terrorism initiatives.

Casey : Yeah, I think going backwards the, with regard to the detainees and interrogation, look, we've had people like John McCain, and you could give other examples as well, but people who have looked at this for a long time who have been very serious about making sure that we are very tough in our interrogation, that we get as much information as possible from those we detain and interrogate and also John McCain, showing the kind of independence that Rick Santorum never seems to show, took on the administration and I think they, based upon their experience, I think they got it right and I think I would have support that. Secondly, on the question of wiretaps, my position all along has been we've got to do everything possible and give every tool that government agencies need, intelligence, law enforcement, give them the tools they need to fight this war on terror. And I think we, in terms of wire tapping, whether its terrorists, known terrorists, or suspected terrorists, we've gotta give this government all the tools it can. And I think what we've seen in the past is the system that has been setup when its operated according to the law, and when the administration goes and puts a wiretap in place and then comes back later and gets a warrant after the fact, the system that has been setup is a pretty solid system, but they often don't comply with it. You can support having a lot of tough wiretapping, but also support the kind of tough oversight of the administration, which I think has been lacking. And I think we can have the two in balance at right.

Interviewer: Well, it might have been misreported this morning, but it certainly seemed to me as if you were endorsing the NSA program which is warrant less wiretapping without court oversight.

Casey : Well, I think, look, my position all along has been you've got to have the ability to wiretap known or suspected terrorists, and I am going to make sure that everything I do in this area is focused on anti terrorism and making sure that we are being as tough as possible to ferret out any kind of plot or and kind of terrorist activity.

Interviewer: Bob, it's real simple, and it seems to me you are dancing around it. Either you believe that the President or his designees need to go to the FISA court and provide some probable cause for the wiretapping, or you don't. They say they don't. They say they can do it on their own say so and there's no oversight of whether the person they're wiretapping is actually credibly a terrorist suspect or not. That's the issue. Do they have to go through the FISA court or not? Nobody's debating that we need to wiretap suspected terrorists.

Casey : You know very well that Senator Specter has worked very hard on this to try to get this right and I think with bi-partisan cooperation, working with people like Senator Specter, as I know I can, that we can get this right. I don't, I don't, I don't see what the...

Interviewer: It's a real simple question. Do they need to go through the FISA Court as the FISA law has said since 1973 or don't they? They say they don't. We say they do. What do you say?

Casey : I think it's worked well.

Interviewer: What has worked well?

Casey : I think it's worked well when you use that system and you use it in the context of making sure that we are doing everything possible to, to...

Interviewer: So, are you saying that the president has been breaking the law since 2002, or whenever the NSA program started?

Casey : I'm saying that people like Senator Specter have a lot of questions about whether or not the law was broken. I don't think anyone has made a determination about that. I think that's pretty clear.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 28, 2006 7:46 AM

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