A rebellious Senate committee defied President Bush on Thursday and approved terror-detainee legislation he has vowed to block, deepening Republican conflict over terrorism and national security in the middle of election season… Republican Sen. John Warner of Virginia, normally a Bush supporter, pushed the measure through his Armed Services Committee by a 15-9 vote, with Warner and three other GOP lawmakers joining Democrats. The vote set the stage for a showdown on the Senate floor as early as next week.
A nice reminder for those of us who don’t typically think well of the GOP that some of folks in that camp really are saying “enough” to the president when it comes to his fetish for pointless authoritarianism for the sake of pointless authoritarianism. We can argue whether they’re doing it because of political triangulation away from an unpopular president in an election year, because they want to remind the administrative branch that the legislative branch is a co-equal branch of government, or because they believe that Bush’s policies are morally repugnant and not at all in keeping with the national charater or Constitution. Or some combination of the three; it’s rarely just one thing.
Thing is, on one level, I don’t actually care which of these it is. What I care about is that we’re steadily and increasingly moving away from the “president as king” model of government this administration has been cultivating lo these last six years. We’re getting closer to what we’re supposed to be: questioning our leaders, even and especially when they don’t want us to. This is a result worth having. If certain Republicans are an instrument of this, all I can say to that is: Thank you, senators. I appreciate it.