Four stories from past week (two of them today) sadden all of us who love American democracy.
First, and most importantly, the President revealed today that he authorized secret surveillance of Americans because of—wait for it—9/11:
"This authorization is a vital tool in our war against the terrorists. It is critical to saving American lives. The American people expect me to do everything in my power, under our laws and Constitution, to protect them and their civil liberties and that is exactly what I will continue to do as long as I am president of the United States," Bush said.
So, he authorized violating our laws and Constitution, compromising our civil liberties, "under our laws and Constitution, to protect [our] civil liberties" then? Is he channeling Nixon? If so, maybe he'll end his presidency the same way. One can hope, anyway.
Notice, by the way, that he dropped this bombshell on Saturday morning, when people are listening to Wait Wait! Don't tell me instead of reading actual newspapers. This tactic is described in The West Wing episode "Take Out the Trash Day," which has special poingiancy this morning.
Second and third, former Wisconsin Senator William Proxmire died Thursday at the age of 90, and former Minnesota Senator Eugene McCarthy died last Saturday at age 89.
And finally, Emmy-winning West Wing star John Spencer also died, at 58. (Photo: NBC)