Based on what we have learned in the last week, I think it is safe to assume that even as I type these words they are flashing up in real time on some federal bureaucrat’s computer screen, deep in a massive secret bunker somewhere in a secret desert. And in my case, the Obama-designed supercomputers are forwarding this column to the IRS for appropriate targeting and follow-up.
We Republicans need to think through and be clear about whatever our objection is to the recently highlighted programs run by this administration, which gather massive amounts of metadata from our Internet and phone records. I say “whatever our objection is” because I have yet to read a clear, comprehensive review of exactly what the government is doing to collect this data for national security purposes, and I still don’t know exactly what it is that we Republicans are objecting to.
Are we against the collection of whatever data are being gathered? Are we for less data being screened? Are we arguing that none of these data should be captured? Only some data? Whose data?
At times we seem to just be screaming about the fact that we know Barack Obama and the Democrats would be screaming if it had been a Republican in the White House when these programs were revealed. We can fairly make the point about the Democrats’ hypocrisy on this issue, but then we need to either move on or clearly state our objection — if we have one — to the underlying policy.
Perhaps we have gotten carried away in the target-rich environment Obama has created for Republicans. With all the scandals, government malfeasance, half-truths, non-truths and jaw-dropping whoppers coming out of the administration these days, we are right to assume they are generally just up to no good. I’m also mindful of my own admonition that in politics, you should never kick a man when he is up. And Team Obama is anything but up these days.
But after Republicans in Congress have resuscitated themselves and overcome the horror of it all, we need to ask some serious questions about what is really going on here and decide how we will handle this issue going forward.