Why Is Bush Suddenly Ready to Make a Deal on FISA? Ask the House Democrats

Much to everyone’s surprise, House Democrats simply wouldn’t budge a month ago when the Bush administration demanded that Congress pass a permanent “Protect America Act” — with retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies. The law expired, the president threw a fit, and lawmakers broke for a two-week spring recess.

Throughout the debate, especially after the PAA expired, the White House frequently and publicly emphasized a two-word message to Democratic leaders on the Hill: No Compromise. The House would pass exactly what the administration wanted, and no substitutes would be accepted. All the while, the Bush gang would fudge the facts, question Dems’ patriotism, and do their level best to scare the bejeezus out of the public.

And House Dems still wouldn’t back down. In an even more startling surprise, the White House is now willing to at least talk about bipartisan cooperation. (I’m going to work under the assumption that this is not an April Fool’s joke.)
The White House, seeking to break a months-long standoff, has signaled to Democratic lawmakers it is open to negotiation over a proposal to expand government spy powers, according to officials familiar with the conversations. […]
Over the two-week spring recess, administration officials contacted Democratic leaders to suggest they were open to compromise on updating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. “We definitely want to get it done,” said White House spokesman Tony Fratto. “We’ve had some initial conversations with Congress about the need to get FISA reform done quickly.” He added that Mr. Bush still prefers the Senate measure, which the White House negotiated with Senate Democrats. […]
The White House’s more conciliatory posture reflects a recognition that the Bush administration’s leverage on national-security matters has slipped since this past summer, a top Republican congressional aide said. “There’s a recognition that if they’re actually going to get a product they can support, there’s going to have to be some new level of engagement,” the aide said.

You don’t say.

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