It has long seemed likely that the Bush Adminstration’s signature combination of hotheadedness and incompetence will in the end prove its undoing, and now we can see how it is indeed this hotheaded incompetence, and not the skill of the Democratic opposition, that will shape the Administration’s final defeat:
Bush, in a tough-guy, small-man fit of picque, has ordered the Department of Justice to ramp up a real criminal investigation of the leak of the surveillance program. And, they ultimately will get their man or woman.
But what happens when the dog catches the bus?
The Administration will by then be committed to prosecute, and so the leaker or leakers will get their day in court. And, what will their defense be? That any obligation they had not to leak national security information did not extend to illegal programs.
Thus, through his shortsighted, vindictive, and bungling incompetence, Bush himself is going to put the issue of the program’s legality into the courts. Now, he may win there, at least at the Supreme Court level. But, he also may not win this, even at the Supreme Court. Any president with even a modicum of brains and caution would be doing all he or she could to keep this out of the courts.
But fools rush in.