Turnabout is fair play

When the Democrats were out of power, they condemned warrant-less surveillance by the Bush administration.  But the Obama administration doubled down on these abuses, so now it is the Republicans’ turn to be advocates of civil liberties and the Fourth Amendment..

Democrats will doubtless accuse the Republican National Committee of inconsistency and hypocrisy.  But it is better to change one’s mind than to stick to a wrong position for the sake of consistency.

There is nothing in the Republican resolution that is inconsistent with basic conservative principles, which include the rule of law and the limitation of governmental power.  But even if it is just a political ploy, turnabout is fair play.


NSA domestic surveillance condemned in Republican party resolution by Dan Roberts for The Guardian.

Democrats Have Just Handed Republicans a Huge Win; Stopping NSA Spying Now a Republican Position by Washington’s Blog.

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6 Responses to “Turnabout is fair play”

  1. whungerford Says:

    There is good reason to think that whatever a President does sets the standard for the next. Presidents do well to remember that what they do for one reason makes it easy for a successor as President to exercise the same power, possibly for a different reason. It is rare for a Presidential prerogative, once established, to be rolled back; the “recess appointment” issue currently before the Supreme Court would be an exception if the Court issues a broad ruling restricting recess appointments.


  2. philebersole Says:

    Democrats should think about how the powers exercised by the NSA under President Obama will be exercised under President Christie or President Ted Cruz.


    • whungerford Says:

      Perhaps, but if we worry too much nothing will be accomplished. The Senate recently changed the rules on filibusters knowing it might haunt them in the future.


    • philebersole Says:

      We strain at gnats while swallowing camels.

      The legislative branch ought to be able to approve legislation and routine Presidential appointments, no matter which party is in power.

      The executive branch ought not to have the power to engage in warrant-less mass surveillance, let alone start wars or order assassinations, no matter which party is in power.

      The dysfunctional U.S. government has too little when it comes to enacting necessary reforms and even providing basic public services, but it has too much power to abuse the basic rights of citizens. Historically, this is characteristic of empires in decline.


      • whungerford Says:

        I don’t think NSA’s activities are equivalent to starting wars and ordering assassinations. If we call what NSA does “data collection” rather than “spying on Americans” or “warrant-less mass surveillance,” it doesn’t seem so bad. Google built a successful business empire on purloined data. Why should corporations have access to such data but not our American government?


      • philebersole Says:

        What is your argument? Are you saying that you and I as citizens have no right of privacy? Does the Fourth Amendment mean nothing? Did the East German Stasi do anything wrong? Did the FBI have the right to eavesdrop on Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.?


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