Whether or not Paul really accomplished anything in his efforts against the Patriot act this past weekend is up for discussion – mostly, it was a symbolic victory. I don’t think that Paul, or any one man can single handedly stop the massive surveillance state that has been created.
And, though really nothing at all has been accomplished (thanks to the ironically named “Freedom” Act) this is nice because it shows who the 2016 GOP contenders really are when difficult issues such as these come up.
Let’s see what some have to say about the Patriot act, shall we?
We can’t really be surprised by what establishment republicans have to say. But just for good measure:
“There is ample evidence that the Patriot Act has been a tool to keep us safe, ample evidence, there is no evidence of anyone’s civil liberties being violated because of it.”
Jeb Bush said this at the SRLC. I did not have the pleasure of going, but it seems I didn’t miss much. It’s safe to assume the man does not know the meaning of “civil liberties.”
“President Obama has done nothing to change the policies of the Bush administration in the war on terrorism. And I mean practically nothing, and you know why? Because they work.”
Well, look at this! Two sentences put together by Chris Christie without profanity. Too bad he’s wrong.
As for the minor candidates, Rick Santorum (who is always wrong) supports it, as does Bobby Jindal. Rick Perry, who was apparently critical of the NSA’s activities in the wake of the revelations offered by Edward Snowden, is now critical of Paul, saying that Paul has a “basic misunderstanding of the situation in Iraq and Syria.” Scott Walker, like a true politician, is saying nothing of substance on the issue.
Marco Rubio supports the NSA programs, saying that “they are important for the security of our country.” Always the same thing.
As for the superconservative superstar Ted Cruz?
“We need to vigorously go after terrorists and at the same time respect the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans, there is no need for the federal government to seize and possess bulk metadata. USA Freedom Act protects our constitutional rights but also ensures that the government has the tools to go after terrorists. We need to walk and chew gum at the same time.”
But you can’t do both at the same time, at least not the way you are going about it. “Going after terrorists” somehow always involves the diminishment of American liberty and privacy. You cannot have your cake and eat it too. And going after terrorists is a bit more complicated than chewing gum.
Much of the criticism of Paul has to do with his supposed political grandstanding – his fight has been great for fundraising. Perhaps. But I am inclined to ask, so what?
Yes, Paul has his eyes upon the White House. But the people criticizing him for this aren’t exactly innocent – they have agendas of their own. They are, after all, politicians.
So either Paul is either grandstanding to raise money or fighting for privacy. Like the little girl in the old taco commercial, we should ask,