Lehrer Newshour did a piece on the failure of the US House to pass a new FISA bill. Steny Hoyer for the democrats and Somebody-or-other Hoogland (sp?) for the republicans got a solid bit of air time to explain their sides.
Democrat Hoyer didn't talk about issues he cared about, but he had a lot to say about "process". He had a lot of Not-Invented-Here talk, a lot of "we don't have all the paper work talk", more "we need more time" talk, but never did he mention the contents of the bill, or any problems with said content. In short he stalled, in public, on national TV. Made himself and his party look stuck on stupid.
Republican Hoogland did a little better. He explained that the telco's need immunity from law suits when they cooperate with intelligence agencies. If the telco's have to fight off 40 lawsuits for helping out, next time they won't help. Only the telco engineers know how to make the fancy electronic switches cough up the desired phone calls. Without telco support, intelligence agencies can't do anything. If the telco suits find out that cooperating just gets them in trouble, they will stop cooperating.
Hoogland failed to explain how the new bill was going to limit wire tapping to Al Quada terrorists and not authorize every two bit sheriff to tap any old phone just for the hell of it. All in all, a very poor public performance by both parties.
Update: Could it be that the trial lawyers want the opportunity to collect fees by suing the telcoes? After all the trial lawyers are one of the heaviest contributers to democratic campaigns.