Never content not to be the center of attention, the much-vaunted “Gang of 14″ appears to be making a comeback. But this time, rather than scuttling a Senate rules change, they are threatening to weaken the Administration’s ability to prosecute the war on terror.
While it has been widely reported that Republican Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham and John Warner are opposing the Administration’s proposal for military commissions, it has been underreported who their senatorial cohorts are. Today, Roll Call runs down the list:
By most counts, Warner, McCain and Graham have at least eight other GOP supporters — Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Olympia Snowe (Maine), Dick Lugar (Ind.), Mike DeWine (Ohio), Gordon Smith (Ore.), John Sununu (N.H.), Lincoln Chafee (R.I.) and Chuck Hagel (Neb.) — for their bill, which would give terrorist suspects more rights during trials and omits language the Bush administration says is necessary to protect U.S. interrogators from being charged with ambiguous war crimes.
Cross reference this list with the Republican members of the “Gang of 14″ and you get a full match plus the addition of Sununu, Hagel and Lugar.
The media lauded the “Gang” as heroes when they stopped the Senate from changing its rules with regards to judicial nominations. To the liberal media, this group of moderates, or “the mod squad”, was a picture of thoughtful moderation. That great press no doubt elicit’s a desire for more…and with the stance they have taken on the military commissions issue they are sure to receive it from a media who has already shown its determination to criticize Administration attempts to keep the country safe from terrorists.
The difference between the first strike of the “Gang” and this one is like night and day. By most accounts, the judicial nominations process has run smoothly despite — some could make the case — because of — the “Gang’s” interference.
Sadly, if the “Gang” succeeds in defeating Congress’s attempts to sanction the Administration’s military commissions proposal not only will the outcome not be as laudable, but the Administration’s ongoing attempts to wage the war on terror will have been dealt a severe blow.