By now, everybody knows about the NSA/Verizon data thing. Hugh Hewitt is not sure it is such a big deal. Hewitt is expert at such matters have served an important role in obtaining such data during his tenure in the DOJ in the Reagan administration. I will agree that it is not a big deal from the standpoint of violation of privacy or the “government snooping on Americans.”
But this is a big deal.
Let us return to those thrilling days of yesteryear, all the way back to 2007/2008. Do we remember the left wing furor over the Patriot Act? The legislation under which the subpoena in question was obtained. Do we remember this particular Straw Man being set up by then Candidate Obama who used it repeatedly to paint the Bush administration, and by extension Republicans inclusive of Candidate McCain, as power-mad tin-pots bent on using data obtained in this fashion to invade our homes and our most private thoughts and deeds?
Apparently, like Guantanamo Bay – that was just campaign rhetoric. But this is also different than Gitmo. Gitmo was portrayed as a violation of human rights, but it was still abstract – out there. The Patriot Act Straw Man was a threat to our individual and personal liberties. He terrified some people to the core with this idea.
But now that he is in charge, it is not such a bad idea at all.
And that is why this is a big deal. Apparently there is no gap between campaign rhetoric and governing reality that this administration finds too large. From my perspective, we cannot trust a single word they are saying. Even Nixon, in the end, had more honor than that.
But what remained of Nixon’s honor was, and in some corners is still, continually besmirched by a hostile and rabid press. This administration does not suffer from such a disadvantage:
The New York Times edited its damning editorial condemning the Obama administration for collecting phone call data from Americans to make it less stinging shortly after the editorial was published online Thursday afternoon.
The editorial originally declared that the Obama “administration has lost all credibility” as a result of the recently revealed news that the National Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have been secretly collecting call data from American users of Verizon under the authority of the Patriot Act.
But hours later the stinging sentence had been modified to read the Obama “administration has now lost all credibility on this issue.” [Emphasis added]
Apparently, the NY Times is willing to flush their veracity down the toilet in solidarity with any remaining trust between this administration and the American people. For once in recent memory, the Old Grey Lady had it right the first time.
This administration has completely eroded the trust between itself and the people – at least the ones that are paying attention. What I find problematic is that the course of the administration and the lapdog press is such that it is also rapidly eroding the trust between the people and the office.
If this continues, we are going to need more than a great candidate with a crack political team in 2016. We are going to need an individual of extraordinary character. Not just a good president, but a paragon. The work that will confront the next president is extraordinary.