Chris Christie wants to be the next Moral Preener in Chief
It’s a fundamental error partisans on both sides make to believe that problems with abusive government arise only or primarily when the “bad guys” are in power. It’s not surprising that strong partisans tend to be more forgiving when their own side is in control. But if you are a “libertarian-minded” conservative, that means that you have an underlying ideology beyond mere partisanship, and that ideology, if nothing else, cautions against giving the government too much power, especially when that power is exercised in secret and reviewed only in secret hearings and by secret courts. So, in fact, “it is entirely understandable that libertarian-minded conservative should distrust [ANY] administration” and not only “resist endowing it with unnecessary additional powers,” but try to check the abuse and potential abuse of powers already granted.
The fact that so many Republicans were willing to vote against NSA surveillance despite the argument that they were voting against policies advocated and implemented by the Bush Adminsitration and therefore were undermining the Bush-initiated War on Terror can be seen as a rare (albeit partial) vindication of the GOP’s purported limited government ideology against partisan drivel and the sort of demagoguery recently exhibited by Governor Chris Christie,* who seems to think that saying “9/11 widows” is a persuasive policy argument. That’s not only cheap demagoguery, it makes one wonder about how secure the rights of the accused would be in a “former prosecutor” Christie administration, given that there are a lot more victims of violent crime out there than there are victims of 9/11.
My second was, haven’t the arguments for unrestrained spying gotten any better over the last 11 years? Talk to the “widows and orphans,” visualize a smoking crater, and write a blank check to the Security-Industrial Complex?
That took some chutzpah: The debate Obama allegedly welcomes is only taking place because a former NSA contractor revealed that the administration had been lying to the public about bulk data collection. During the July 24 debate, Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., one of the PATRIOT Act’s principal authors, reaffirmed that it was never intended to make every American’s call records “relevant” to terrorism investigations.That, apparently, is the kind of debate over NSA spying that Christie’s pal, President Obama, “welcomes.” Just before the vote on the Amash amendment, the White House charged that “this blunt approach is not the product of an informed, open, or deliberative process.”
Contra Christie, the implications of the administration’s sweeping legal theory aren’t particularly “esoteric.” Last Tuesday, Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., explained: “If you know who someone called, when they called, where they called from, and how long they talked, you lay bare the personal lives of law-abiding Americans to the scrutiny of government bureaucrats.”
Unfortunately, it seems that the future Aldous Huxley predicted in 1932, in Brave New World, is arriving early. Mockery, truculence, and minimalist living are best, then enjoy the decline. However, we do need a Revolving Door Tax (RDT), learn what Members of Congress pay in taxes, and prosecute politicians and staff and their “family and friends” who profit from insider trading. Oh, and pay “public servants” what they are worth.