CONFIRMING HAYDEN….So it looks like the White House is running into a headwind in its plan to nominate Air Force General Michael Hayden to run the CIA. It turns out that both Republicans and Democrats are skeptical that he’s the right man for the job, but apparently that’s a feature, not a bug:

White House aides have indicated that they are fully aware that General Hayden might face a tough confirmation battle ? though the process has gone smoothly for him in the past ? but defend his competence and say they welcome a new chance to defend the surveillance program as a necessary tool in seeking to ferret out terrorists.

Why am I not surprised? I assume the White House figures that Republican critics will air out a few mild criticisms and then shut up, leaving them free to paint Democrats as weak on national security because they think the NSA ought to get search warrants if they want to spy on U.S. citizens. They went to this well in 2002 and 2004, and I assume they figure it’s not dry yet.

But I wonder if they’ve finally miscalculated? Stay tuned.

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