Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Conservatives Against Illegal Spying

Borrowed from Kos at DailyKos

What do most conservatives think about Bush's illegal spying on Americans? I cannot really say for I haven't spoken to an adequate sample of them to make a conclusion. Nevertheless, the conservatives in the Wingnutosphere, namely the hacks over at Redstate, Instapundit, and that wench, Michelle Malkin, get behind their man and attempt to discredit or smear anyone criticizing the program. Some on the left are no better, passing judgment before knowing the facts.

The reason I'm writing this diary is to shed light on the few conservatives who openly criticize Dubya's illegal spying. To do so, I will quote the mighty Kos: are some of the key figures of the conservative movement essentially calling foul on the administration's egregious overreach. Norquist is literally the central figure of the VRWC. Weyrich, another key figure in the VRWC, was the founding president of the Heritage Foundation and founded the American Legislative Exchange Council. Keene's credentials are self-explanatory. Barr is no surprise. He's an old-school libertarian who has been consulting with the once-hated ACLU.

Kos is right on:
This should never have been a partisan issue, despite the knee-jerk defense of the indefensible by those who think Bush can't do any wrong.

Getting back to the conservatives, what is the big deal, right? These are a few quotes from some of these big shots:

Patriots to Restore Checks and Balances (PRCB) today called upon Congress to hold open, substantive oversight hearings examining the President's authorization of the National Security Agency (NSA) to violate domestic surveillance requirements outlined in the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

Former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr, chairman of PRCB, was joined by fellow conservatives Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR); David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union; Paul Weyrich, chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation and Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, in urging lawmakers to use NSA hearings to establish a solid foundation for restoring much needed constitutional checks and balances to intelligence law.

"When the Patriot Act was passed shortly after 9-11, the federal government was granted expanded access to Americans' private information," said Barr. "However, federal law still clearly states that intelligence agents must have a court order to conduct electronic surveillance of Americans on these shores. Yet the federal government overstepped the protections of the Constitution and the plain language of FISA to eavesdrop on Americans' private communication without any judicial checks and without proof that they are involved in terrorism."

The following can be attributed to PRCB members:

"I believe that our executive branch cannot continue to operate without the checks of the other branches. However, I stand behind the President in encouraging Congress to operate cautiously during the hearings so that sensitive government intelligence is not given to our enemies." -- Paul Weyrich, chairman and CEO, Free Congress Foundation

"Public hearings on this issue are essential to addressing the serious concerns raised by alarming revelations of NSA electronic eavesdropping." -- Grover Norquist, president, Americans for Tax Reform

"The need to reform surveillance laws and practices adopted since 9/11 is more apparent now than ever. No one would deny the government the power it needs to protect us all, but when that power poses a threat to the basic rights that make our nation unique, its exercise must be carefully monitored by Congress and the courts. This is not a partisan issue; it is an issue of safeguarding the fundamental freedoms of all Americans so that future administrations do not interpret our laws in ways that pose constitutional concerns." -- David Keene, chairman, American Conservative Union

So what is the proper, or just, course for conservatives? Should they support an independent investigation of Bush's impeachable offenses (impeachment isn't just for blowjobs anymore)? Or should they stand by their man regardless of what bullshit he's done?


BlackLabelAxe said...

Lefty, you bring up a most excellent point. There is no good in lining up behind the President just because you support him on several other issues. "Conservatives" aren't accomplishing anything by forming a union, this actually goes against everything these self-proclaimed "conservatives" believe in.

I supported his invasion/liberation of Iraq (although he folded to political pressure before making it worthwhile for us, effectively squandering the advantage we gained), I support him on several other things, but if he's doing something illegal, then it has to stop.

Please notice the bipartisanship of the Americans for Tax Reform. I am a grassroots supporter of the Fair Tax as you know, but I'm open to any discussion on something besides what we're doing now (income tax). Some say that a comsumption-based tax is part of the greater Right Wing Conspiracy, I'd like all on the left who ever entertained that idea to remember this moment when Americans for Tax Reform stood against the President on an issue of freedom. Just because Tom DeLay was a co-sponsor of HR.25 doesn't mean that it's a Right Wing Conspiracy plot.

Lefty Metalhead said...


Great points you make! Politicians and pundits have to stop with the whole "us vs. them" crap. Obama's keynote address at the DNC convention in 2004 should be our message.

ZombieSilas said...

And, party be dammned. If it is illegal, it's illegal.

This argument puts a spotlight on the underlying - yet obvious - flaws of our system, that being, as a conservative I am expected to blindly support the entirety of the conervative agenda. This is wholly false - as I do not support the agenda blindly - but instead find myself more in line with a majority of the conservative agenda as opposed to the liberal agenda.

Certainly I support the conservative movement, but I do not support something illegal, and I most assuredly do not support something that so blatently stomps on civil liberties and a right to privacy.

Conservative or not, this program flies in the face of what the majority of Americans - conservative or otherwise - see as a reasonable response to terrorism.

And this thread touches on something I have had a hard time figuring out for some years now. This country denies the existence of a two party system, yet clearly defines itsself along a two party platform. I am always amazed when people I talk to deny that we have a two party system by holding Nader up as an example, while in the same breath accusing a third party candidate of "stealing" votes.

Now, the way I see it, either the third party garnerd votes as a third party candidate or they "stole" votes. If they stole votes, then, in my mind, they had no right to be there.

It has to be one or the other. Once we get away from the two party mindset I think issues like this spying thing quit becoming a conservative or liberal, republican or democrate thing, and start becoming what they are - in this case a blatent abuse of civil liberties and a corruption of power that should never be in one individuals hands.