Although dark political clouds were closing in on the Bush Administration from all points last week, one ray of light shone through. President Bush signed a renewal of the Patriot Act.
Just three months ago, Senate Democrats used a filibuster to prevent the Republican congressional majority from sending President Bush a renewal of the act that he could sign before it was set to expire on January 1. Democrats in that ancient era had not yet seized on the United-Arab-Emirates ports deal as a way to pretend they were more concerned about national security than Republicans. Their big issue then was protecting the "civil liberties" of Americans who feared the FBI might be surreptitiously reviewing their library records.
The final votes on renewing the Patriot Act were 280 to 138 in the House and 89 to 10 in the Senate.
When push came to shove, many Democrats apparently decided they didn’t want to stake their careers on energizing the outraged left-wing librarian vote.