Thursday, November 4, 2010

Rhetoric Over Substance

I am personally skeptical over some of the reasoning being used to explain the massive shift in power after this year's election. Many would have you believe that they voted the way they did because those in power didn't do enough to fix the economy, to lower the debt, or to uphold the Constitution. I tend to think people were fed-up in general and the Democrats were they obvious scapegoat.

One reason I believe that finding a "scapegoat" had more to do with the election than anything else is Constitutional aspect of the anger coming from the right. They often complain that many of Obama's policies go against the Constitution and should be repealed based on that fact alone (see our own Attorney General's lawsuit over Obamacare). While the Constitutionality of many of these policies can and will be debated, other similarly Constitutionally challenged policies have remained pretty much undiscussed especially when it comes to the Patriot Act and more recently the changes made in FISA regulations.

These changes initiated during the Bush Administration and continued during Obama's term have led to easing of the requirements related to government wiretapping activities often allowing wiretaps on US citizens to be performed without getting warrants first.

The furor over the breaching of our 4th Amendment rights all in the name of "protecting" us from terrorists has been strangely absent from most of the Tea Party folks, most of whom would have busted a blood vessel in anger if their 2nd Amendment rights were even remotely challenged. In Congress, the outrage over these changes was even less noticeable as evident by the ease in which it passed, except for one individual.

Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold was one of only 16 Senators to vote against the 1st Amendment breaking Internet Decency Act of 1996 which was eventually struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Feingold was the only Senator to vote against the Patriot Act while also being one of the few to fight against giving immunity to the Telecom companies that participated in The Bush Administration's illegal warrant-less wiretapping activities. From Wired:

Feingold and retiring Senator Chris Dodd (D-Connecticutt) attempted to filibuster a provision that provided legal immunity to telecoms that helped the Administration spy on Americans’ internet and phone use without warrants. That provision, along with expanded government surveillance powers, eventually passed in July 2008 with the support of then-Senator Barack Obama, who promised to revisit that law, but has not.


Sounds pretty pro-Constitution to me doesn't it?

I have no doubt that many voted out of office yesterday deserved their fate and Feingold did have his issues as he often times aligned himself with the Obama Administration on fiscal issues which likely made him an easy target for defeat in this Democrat unfriendly environment. But if one claims to be truly worried about getting our country back in line with the Constitution, Russ Feingold was someone many would have thought should have been worth supporting.

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