Why are Democrats filibustering to prevent the U.S. Senate from voting on the Patriot Act? For five years the Democrat strategy has been to obstruct anything President Bush tries to do; but there may be something more sinister in this latest obstruction. Here is my theory:
Most Senate Democrats know perfectly well that the Patriot Act is not only necessary to homeland security, but that none of the abuses that critics worry about have occurred. So why would Democrats be willing to risk a terror attack against the U.S. by handcuffing our intelligence efforts? Because they don't believe that President Bush will risk a terror attack.
In the 1980's Democrats used the Budget process to prevent President Reagan from helping the Nicarauguan Contras against the Communist Sandanista government, and as a result the Iran-Contra scandal occurred, weakening the Reagan presidency. In fact, Democrats could almost taste a repeat of Watergate, and were flustered when Ollie North famously turned the tables on them.
So, what's Iran-Contra got to do with the Patriot Act? Just this: by letting the Patriot Act expire, Democrats are hoping to tempt Bush into carrying on the intel operations that were practiced under the authority of the Patriot Act, but which are now illegal. When Bush takes the bait -- so their fantasy goes -- the Democrats will finally have the noose with which to end the "illegitimate" Bush Presidency and sweep into power again, just like 1974.
The best part is that, if Bush continues the now-illegal Patriot Act activities, there will be no terror attack for the Dems to be blamed for, and once Democrats are restored to ruling Party status they can take whatever measures they deem necessary to protect the homeland. But, for Democrats it's first things first.