Friday, July 26, 2013

We Can Talk Until the Cows Come Home

Trey Smith

Stepping outside my ongoing miniseries, 2013/1984, I want to draw your attention to the underlying message of the Obama administration in terms of discussion about the NSA's [illegal] mass surveillance programs. On more than one occasion in the past two months, the President has said he welcomes a debate about the key issues. However, he has shown that this declaration comes with a caveat -- Congress can talk about the situation all it wants so long as they don't try to change it! Attempting to change it in any way, shape or form is going too far!

In essence, he is advocating a position of talk without action. This is interesting because, in most instances, the President has complained of this very thing himself. He has derided Congress -- rightfully so -- for talking about the unemployment problem, but being unwilling or unable to pass any kind of meaningful legislation that addresses the problem. (Of course, the Obama administration itself hasn't done much to address the problem either.) He has castigated the Republican leadership in the House for an impenetrable gridlock and yet he relied on those same leaders to block the Awash Amendment.

As Glenn Greenwald noted in the column I quoted from in my previous post,
One of the worst myths Democratic partisans love to tell themselves - and everyone else - is that the GOP refuses to support President Obama no matter what he does. Like its close cousin - the massively deceitful inside-DC grievance that the two parties refuse to cooperate on anything - it's hard to overstate how false this Democratic myth is. When it comes to foreign policy, war, assassinations, drones, surveillance, secrecy, and civil liberties, President Obama's most stalwart, enthusiastic defenders are often found among the most radical precincts of the Republican Party.
And so, after saying he welcomes a debate on mass surveillance, Obama did everything possible to shut it down in the US House when it appeared that it might constrain one specific program aimed at upholding the constitutional rights of the American people. Yes, talk all you like, he says, just don't try to constrain my administration in any way!

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