All You Need to Know About Why We Shouldn’t Renew the PATRIOT Act

So Mr. Bush would like to renew the PATRIOT Act: “To protect the American people, Congress must promptly renew all provisions of the Patriot Act this year,” sayeth King George.

First, an aside: I love that “all provisions” part. For me it cuts right to the heart of what it means to be a modern Republican pol: concede nothing, ever. I remember some guests on Bill Maher’s show last year were firmly stonewalling when Maher observed that, after W. got word of the WTC attack, perhaps 12 minutes was a tad long to continue reading along with the children. Predictably, the guests thought there was not a jot wrong — or even questionable — with this decision. That’s the playbook: never admit, never allow that anything you or your guy has done could be anything but the wisest possible course. (With a few rare exceptions — I’m looking at you, Mr. McCain.)

Back to the topic at hand. We could take Mr. Bush’s statement, comb through a copy of the Act, and see if perhaps there were a few provisions that could use refinement (perhaps the ability to monitor library records?) Or we could go higher level and try a cost/benefit analysis, noting that the number of terrorists convicted as a result of this law is (last I checked) nil.

But why bother? For me, all we need to know about the Act is in its name. Anyone who would rush out a law called, officially, the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act, needs to be sent to the back of the class — in part for being a smarmy kiss-ass (like the authors of the RAVE Act), but mostly for authoring a nakedly manipulative attempt to shroud a law enforcement land-grab in the buzzwords of the day.

In short, people this worried about marketing surely have something to hide.

Hit Me With It