The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

You know that since Republicans became the majority in the House of Representatives, they have voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act 37 times. They’ve voted on the PATRIOT Act just once — to extend it, in 2011.

A new Pew Poll shows that there is plenty of hypocrisy when it comes to surveillance by the National Security Agency on both sides of the aisle.

In the wake of revelations that the Bush administration was using warrantless wiretaps to monitor phone calls and Internet activity of American citizens when communicating outside of the U.S., 75 percent of Democrats opposed that activity. In 2013, with Barack Obama in the White House and NSA surveillance sanctified in law and supervised by courts set up by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, 64 percent of Democrats approve of it.

Republicans have reversed course too, with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly — a supporter of Bush NSA activity — now calling for the program to be dismantled.

Screen Shot 2013-06-11 at 7.34.38 AM

But the Tea Party — with its supposed focus on “Constitutional” values — rarely took on its own party for first passing and then extending the PATRIOT Act. Instead, it attacked Obamacare ceaselessly — even though the Founders had approved their own health care mandate — and recently rose up to defend the Second Amendment with great sound and fury.

Tea Partier Rand Paul (R-KY) has seized this moment to say he will sue the government to stop NSA surveillance. In 2011, he delayed extending the PATRIOT Act. But where were the rallies to support him? And since then, how many times have House Republicans revisited the issue?

The truth is, these issues, while dear to Paul and others on the libertarian right, never synced with the blatantly partisan agenda of the mainstream Tea Party movement.

Disclosures about the NSA’s surveillance program cannot be unheard and they demand revisiting the PATRIOT Act, as Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) has suggested.

Americans need to decide complex issues that have previously been decided for them: Is metadata private? Are we okay with the presumption that our communications abroad will be monitored? Is the American public fine with the fact that the NSA can be used to spy on citizens of other countries at our and their government’s will?

There’s a perpetual arms race by both national parties to seem tougher than each other on defense that will try to squelch any debate about the actual issues at the heart of these revelations. Libertarians on the right, willing to put essential liberty into a debate about temporary security, have a unique chance to force their party into such a debate — if they want to.

Until then, we’re still waiting for one Tea Party rally against the PATRIOT Act.

Photo: Dwight Burdette via Flickr.com

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Donald Trump

Image via Twitter

A year after former President Donald Trump left the White House and Joe Biden was sworn in as president of the United States, Trump continues to have considerable influence in the Republican Party. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a former Trump critic turned Trump sycophant, recently told Fox News that having a “working relationship” with Trump must be a litmus test for anyone in a GOP leadership role in Congress. But an NBC News poll, conducted in January 14-18, 2022, finds that many Republican voters identify as Republicans first and Trump supporters second.

Analyzing that poll in the New York Times on January 21, reporters Leah Askarinam and Blake Hounshell, explain, “Buried in a new survey published today is a fascinating nugget that suggests the Republican Party may not be as devoted to Trump as we’ve long assumed. Roughly every month for the last several years, pollsters for NBC News have asked: ‘Do you consider yourself to be more of a supporter of Donald Trump or more of a supporter of the Republican Party?’ Over most of that time, Republicans have replied that they saw themselves as Trump supporters first.”

Keep reading... Show less

Ivanka Trump, right

Image via @Huffington Post

As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s select committee on the January 6, 2021 insurrection moves along, it is examining Ivanka Trump’s actions that day — especially the former White House senior adviser urging her father, then- President Donald Trump, to call off his supporters when the U.S. Capitol Building was under attack. This week, Ivanka Trump’s importance to the committee is examined in a column by liberal Washington Post opinion writer Greg Sargent and an article by blogger Marcy Wheeler.

Sargent notes that the committee’s “new focus on Ivanka Trump” shows that it “is developing an unexpectedly comprehensive picture of how inextricably linked the violence was to a genuine plot to thwart a legitimately elected government from taking power.”

Keep reading... Show less
x
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}