Apologists for the Democratic Party who refine “lesser evil voting” to a high art, should have been hanging their heads low for quite a while now with the advent of Obama’s Bush policies on national security and foreign policy (among others). But this jingoist, warring bipartisanship – regardless of campaign slogans to the contrary – manifests throughout Congress as well, of course. Harry Reid has been summoning the ghost of Dick Cheney to fear monger civil libertarians on the Patriot Act. Either you’re for the Patriot Act, or you’re for the terrorists, he says.
Remember back when a Republican was in the White House and demanded broad surveillance authority? Here’s Reid back then. ”Whether out of convenience, incompetence, or outright disdain for the rule of law, the administration chose to ignore Congress and ignore the Constitution,” Reid said about Bush’s warrantless surveillance program. When Bush insisted Congress entrench that surveillance with legislation in 2008, Reid turned around and demanded Bush “stop fear-mongering and start being honest with the American people about national security.” Any claim about the detrimental impact about a lapse in widespread surveillance were “scare tactics” to Reid that ”irresponsibly distort reality.” (Then Reid rolled over for Bush.)
That’s nowhere near the end of Reid’s hypocrisy here. When the Senate debated renewing the Patriot Act in 2006, Reid, a supporter of the bill’s surveillance procedures, himself slowed up the bill’s passage to allow amendments to it — the better to allow “sensible checks on the arbitrary exercise of executive power.” Sounding a whole lot like Rand Paul, the 2006-vintage Reid registered his “objection to the procedural maneuver under which Senators have been blocked from offering any amendments to this bill” and reminded his colleagues, ”the hallmark of the Senate is free speech and open debate.”
This happens to be as predictable as gravity effects the fallen here on earth. Still, with election cycles revving up, we can be sure the entirety of the American electorate will clamor for their chosen parties and candidates, utterly convinced by their perfunctory rhetoric. And consistent libertarians will endure a year or two of condemnation for cynicism and patriotic duties to vote gone unfulfilled, and then find their vindication again when those newly elected liars prove as cowardly and dishonest as Harry Reid.