HUGH HEWITT thinks the non-reauthorization of the Patriot Act is a big disaster. I’m not so sure.

UPDATE: There’s some unhappiness at The Corner, too. And there’s also a sense that Bush has lost a lot of legislative battles lately: Harriet Miers, the McCain Amendment, the Patriot Act renewal, etc.

Well, he has. The Miers nomination was a mistake from day one. The McCain Amendment and Patriot Act renewal defeats — which I’m not convinced are bad things in and of themselves — are defeats for Bush, but even if you think they’re bad on the merits, they’re certainly proof that despite claims of impending fascism we actually live in a country where checks and balances work. The Administration (which won far too easily on the Patriot Act the first time around, in my opinion) can’t be charged with running roughshod over its opponents, and only an idiot can claim that we live under the iron rule of the Bushitler regime. The system may or may not be producing the right answers, and that’s often hard to tell until later anyway, but it’s working as designed. Meanwhile, in light of these losses the White House might want to look to its legislative operation, and ask if it needs revamping. I think the answer is yes.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Kathryn Diamond emails:

I think President Bush recognizes he has weak support among the Republicans in the Senate.

One specific, concrete example is John Bolton’s nomination. The conduct of the Republicans in the Senate ranged from feckless to disgraceful.

And, now that Bolton is proving to be a very effective UN ambassador, we need to worry about the Senate Republicans’ judgment.

I believe the Senate Republicans fear the media more than their local constituents. Or fear the national media might make them look foolish in front of their local constituents.

Good point.