Monday, April 2, 2007

Democrats, National Security & the Flying Imams

From the NYPost, Debra Burlingame answers the question "why must Democrats constantly defend against charges that they can't be trusted on issues of national security?" According to Ms. Burlingame, one need only look at the Democrats fractured performance when faced with legislation to protect whistleblowers from individual liability when they report strange or suspicious behavior in mass transit - legislation pushed by Republicans and aimed directly at the Flying Imams lawsuit.

This is the kind of no-brainer legislation that every member of Congress should vigorously support. Yet House Democrats reacted to King's proposal as if he'd thrown a bomb into the House chamber itself.

According to witnesses in the gallery and on the floor, Speaker Nancy Pelosi displayed a classic deer-in-the headlights look as the Democratic leadership went into a huddle - plainly eager, not to embrace this common-sense measure, but to sidetrack it.

Meanwhile, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, took the floor to oppose King's motion - and to defend the lawsuit against John Does. "We should be tolerant," he argued; people shouldn't be singled out because they "look different."

In fact, the flying imams triggered concerns by a variety of unusual actions, as well as words that roused the concern of another Arabic-speaking passenger. Witnesses say that House members started booing Thompson.

Finally, a member of the leadership realized how this would look to Americans watching on C-SPAN: Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) was seen staring at Thompson and repeatedly drawing his hand across his throat - an urgent signal to get off the floor.

With Democrats realizing they couldn't argue against King's measure, it went to a vote, and passed, 304 to 121

Every one of those 121 votes aimed at defeating protection for "John Does" was a Democrat - indeed, more than half of all Democrats present voted "nay." . . .

Read the entire article here.

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