Friday, November 26, 2010

Does It Really Matter Who's In The White House When Determining If A Government Action Is Right Or Not?

Denver Post columnist David Harsanyi seems to argue that it does:

I'm thrilled so many of you are causing a commotion over the creepy, occasionally amorous and always-intrusive policies of the Transportation Security Administration. It's about time. All this nonsense about our patriotic duty to surrender the Fourth Amendment to (illusory) safety deserves all the scorn Americans can muster.

But setting aside the indignities of flying, this debate also helpfully illustrates the hypocrisy of partisans.

Not so long ago, the left positioned itself as the defender of innocents against the just-one-tiny-step-away- from-fascism of the Bush administration's war on terror. The Constitution was sacred, especially when we faced danger — and even more especially when a Republican was president...

Yet, today, left-wing pundits, typified by syndicated liberal columnist Ruth Marcus, implore Americans to grow up, become better automatons, get moving, and submit. The admired liberal columnist Michael Kinsley first offers us tales of TSA kindheartedness and then tells us the same.

Many left-wing publications that cautioned us against George W. Bush's ham-fisted intrusions now defend Barack Obama's ham-fisted intrusions.

We all remember when Democrats passed the Airline Passenger Bill of Rights (with bipartisan support) to ensure that travelers had a right to, among other things, sit in a plane with a "comfortable cabin temperature." Well, how about the right not to have a stranger prying into your granddad's testicular area? Or, how about making sure that the actual Bill of Rights is afforded at least the same deference as the Passenger Bill of Rights?

He doesn't offer as many details when trying trying to be fair and going after the right:

Now, certainly, not every Democrat is insincere on the topic, nor is everyone on the right innocent.

For nearly a decade, Republicans have compromised and surrendered liberty in the name more safety — sometimes equating their policies with patriotism. And I simply can't believe that we would be witnessing anywhere near the levels of conservative outrage regarding the TSA's new security measures were we sitting in, say, 2005.

That's it. Not a single example.

But it's a silly argument anyway. It's like that totally disingenuous argument that says, "Where was the Tea Party when Bush was running up deficits?" Bush was running up deficits 1/4 the size of Obama's; is it really surprising that people act differently now? And besides, people were complaining (thank you, Rick Santelli)--not in an organized manner, but they were complaining--and that helps explain the 2006 changeover in Congress. The argument that conflates Bush's deficits to Obama's weak, just as is the argument that conflates wiretapping of terrorists' phone calls with feeling up the traveling public.


Bill said...

I'm sorry, but no, the right was not complaining in the slightest as Jose Padilla, a US citizen, was picked up, on US soil, and denied pretty much every single constitutional right. It doesn't matter if he was guilty as sin, he has those rights. I see to remember that the President (and you) swore to uphold The Constitution. It was wrong then, it's wrong now, and everyone should have been screaming bloody murder then, and should be doing the same now.

Darren said...

Jose Padilla was a traitor. We have laws to deal with traitors.

Are you as angry with President Obama, who has explicitly and specifically targeted an American citizen for assassination? I'm not--the target is an American-born imam currently thought to be operating out of Yemen.

I'm not a traitor. I'm not a terrorist. I don't fit any profile of a terrorist. Don't treat me like a terrorist. Real terrorists? I'm pretty "liberal" about how we deal with them.

But be sure that I want people watching. I don't want to give the government enough power to start calling anyone it wants a "terrorist". I absolutely believe in watching the watchers.

maxutils said...

Can I chime in? I was upset about the expansion of wiretapping and search and seizure provisions then, and I'm equally upset about the TSA procedures now, especially since EVERY SINGLE terrorist act on a plane, including 9/11, could have been prevented by profiling. And, if devout Muslims don't like it, perhaps they should stop blowing things up.

maxutils said...

You know, I've been thinking about it, and maybe my comments about profiling being the answer are off the mark . . . I mean, just look at the guy they just caught trying to blow up a Portland town square -- I mean he wasn't . . .oh, wait. Never mind.

Bill said...

Yes we have laws, that's my point, those laws do not allow ex-judicious kidnapping from US soil.
Obama has done nothing about the excesses of the USA Patriot Act, warrant-less wiretapping (again, there are supposed to be checks and balances), we now have to "show our papers" to travel to Canada or Mexico (yet NAFTA means that goods travel with almost no inspection).
The one problem with profiling is that you can get lax on general inspection. You need to have profiling and random inspection.
Oh, and never mind that not only is the security not forward thinking (looking for what's already been done) but it ignores the fact that none of the recent attempts ever went through US airports, and that the screening would not pick up body cavity devices or implanted explosives (which were already used by AQAP against a Saudi security officer)