Former Clinton impeachment House manager Bob Barr has seen this all before. His Atlanta Journal op-ed blasts the Bush response to the spy scandal:
Two of the most powerful moments of political déjà vu I have ever experienced took place recently in the context of the Bush administration's defense of presidentially ordered electronic spying on American citizens.Is there a worse slap in the face Bush could get than a comparison to Clinton scandals?
First, in the best tradition of former President Bill Clinton's classic, "it-all-depends-on-what-the-meaning-of-is-is" defense, President Bush responded to a question at a White House news conference about what now appears to be a clear violation of federal electronic monitoring laws by trying to argue that he had not ordered the National Security Agency to "monitor" phone and e-mail communications of American citizens without court order; he had merely ordered them to "detect" improper communications.
On foreign policy, domestic issues, relationships with Congress, and even their selection of White House Christmas cards and china patterns, presidents are as different as night and day. But when caught with a hand in the cookie jar and their survival called into question, administrations circle the wagons, fall back on time-worn but often effective defense mechanisms, and seamlessly morph into one another.