Sunday, August 5, 2007

The Party Without a Spine

Jack Balkin says it much better than I could:
The Republican Party of the future appears to be Rudy Giuliani's party-- waving the bloody shirt of 9/11 and making increasingly extreme assertions about the need for concentrating unaccountable power in the executive. This is the Party of Fear. The Democratic Party of the future appears to be a pale reflection of the same, which, afraid of being thought weak, proves itself to be so by repeatedly surrendering our constitutional liberties in the name of a hyped-up and potentially endless state of emergency. This is the Party Without a Spine.

Between the Party of Fear and the Party Without a Spine, there does not seem to be much opportunity to keep the National Surveillance State benign. Nor does there seem to be any political check on the development of an increasingly authoritarian Presidency, which controls the levers of secrecy, surveillance, and military force.

Do not be mistaken: We are not hurtling toward the Gulag or anything that we have seen before. It will be nothing so dramatic as that. Rather, we are slowly inching, through each act of fear mongering and fecklessness, pandering and political compromise, toward a world in which Americans have increasingly little say over how they are actually governed, and increasingly little control over how the government collects information on them to regulate and control them. Slowly, secretly and imperceptibly, the mechanisms of government surveillance are being freed from methods of political control and accountability; and the liberties of ordinary citizens are being surgically removed under a potent anesthesia concocted from propaganda, fear, ignorance and apathy.

I hope the Democrats are justly proud of themselves for their cowardly contributions to this slow-motion destruction of our constitutional system.
GBCW post coming soon.

By the way, Balkinization has by far the most comprehensive coverage of the FISA debacle, both on the political and operational (practical, legal) fronts.

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