I guess the Karl Rove "turn the screws" campaign isn't turning all the Republicans to jelly. In fact, it may be emboldening some:
A House Republican whose subcommittee oversees the National Security Agency broke ranks with the White House on Tuesday and called for a full Congressional inquiry into the Bush administration's domestic eavesdropping program.
The lawmaker, Representative Heather A. Wilson of New Mexico, chairwoman of the House Intelligence Subcommittee on Technical and Tactical Intelligence, said in an interview that she had "serious concerns" about the surveillance program. By withholding information about its operations from many lawmakers, she said, the administration has deepened her apprehension about whom the agency is monitoring and why.
Ms. Wilson, who was a National Security Council aide in the administration of President Bush's father, is the first Republican on either the House's Intelligence Committee or the Senate's to call for a full Congressional investigation into the program, in which the N.S.A. has been eavesdropping without warrants on the international communications of people inside the United States believed to have links with terrorists.
I do think this shows just what a piss-poor job Alberto VO5 did defending the party line on Monday. But there's another factor at work here. Heather Wilson, last heard braying "I thought it was nasty" about Janet Jackson's nipple like it was a weapon of mass destruction all to itself, is locked in a tough re-election battle with Patricia Madrid in the 1st District of New Mexico. A recent poll showed Madrid up 44-43. What Karl Rove may have failed to account for is the extent to which Republican push-back on this issue gives members much-needed distance from the White House. With an unpopular President facing difficulties from all sides, the last thing you want is him coming to your state and stumping for you. Rove may have given the impetus for the Republican caucus to run screaming in the opposite direction.