SCARED OF THEIR OWN SHADOW….As I was scanning the newspaper this morning, I came across a brief piece recapping the surprising Republican opposition to General Michael Hayden’s nomination to head the CIA:

In a break with the White House, House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) said he was surprised by the nomination and concerned about Hayden’s background. “I don’t think a military guy should be head of CIA, frankly,” Hastert said. “I don’t know anything about him.”

….Several Republicans and a greater number of Democrats have expressed discomfort with Bush’s decision to choose a military man to run the CIA. House Intelligence Chairman Peter Hoekstra of Michigan and Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, an Intelligence Committee member, are among the Republicans who have voiced doubts.

So what’s the deal? Do we really think that all these Republicans are truly concerned about the possibility of a military officer running the CIA? That hardly seems likely, does it?

Here’s my alternative guess: they’re just completely spooked (no pun intended). After Harriet Miers and Katrina and the Dubai port deal, Republicans in Congress now have an almost Pavlovian response to any George Bush nominee with even a hint of controversy: oppose him! And do it quick before Democrats beat them to the punch.

Despite the brave words from the White House, my guess is that congressional Republicans are really, really not happy at the prospect of a drawn-out series of hearings focused on Hayden’s support for the NSA’s domestic spying program. But they don’t feel like they can say that, so instead they’re claiming they don’t want a military guy in charge of the CIA. It’s faintly ridiculous, but it’s the best they can come up with.

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