Monday, May 8, 2006

CIA: Ready to Rumble

Two of my favorite bloggers, John Hinderaker at Power Line and Captain Ed at Captain's Quarters, seem to be betting on different horses in the coming contest to replace the CIA's Porter Goss. Though I agree with the Captain that Hayden's a serious gamble, I have to hope it's a stroke of Rovian genius (rather than another Harriett Myers mistep), and agree with John that it's worth the gamble.

Be Careful What You Wish For
Captain's Quarters
, May 6, 2006

My friend John Hinderaker at Power Line feels that a confirmation-hearing spectacle for General Michael Hayden to succeed Porter Goss as CIA director would provide a boon for Republicans. He relishes the thought of Democrats attacking Hayden on the NSA surveillance program:...

I hope he's correct, if Hayden actually gets the nod. However, given the nature of Goss' departure and the hostility the NSA program has created among members of both parties in Congress, I suspect that any Hayden hearing will rapidly become a debacle. All one has to do is to review the committee that will likely conduct the hearings to see where the problem lies: Russ Feingold....

Feingold knows that he has little chance to win the Democratic nomination as things stand now. That's why these hearings will give Feingold a golden opportunity to make himself the Democratic standardbearer and the champion of more than just the fringe Left that supports him at the moment. And given the hostility that Congress has already shown towards this program, all Feingold will need to accomplish is to find any kind of inconsistency or questionable assertion regarding the program and its achievements to quickly get support among his peers.

This nomination could start a snowball effect that the Bush administration may find difficult to stop. If Hayden is their choice, they'd better be sure of their Congressional support before the hearings begin, because the gloves will really come off in those chambers -- and Feingold will be going for the knockout punch he needs for 2008.

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