Is there no principle subject to negotiation? Is there no course subject to reversal? For the Bush administration to argue for years that this program [terrorist surveillance], as operated, was critical to our national security and fell within the president's Constitutional authority, to then turnaround and surrender presidential authority this way is disgraceful. The administration is repudiating all the arguments it has made in testimony, legal briefs, and public statements. This goes to the heart of the White House's credibility. How can it cast away such a fundamental position of principle and law like this?
OK, so Levin butchered the first two sentences. His meaning still comes through.
Bush's surrender on the surveillance program is a page out of the Schwarzenegger playbook. Schwarzenegger had also taken a beating at the polls (his reform referendums in 2005) and was faced with a Democratic legislature and a hostile press. Schwarzenegger surrendered all of his principles, adopted Democrat positions, and once again became a media darling. Bush can surrender like Schwarzenegger, but the press will never like him like Schwarzenegger.