At several points in the last few years, as I gamely tried to convince conservatives that they should be concerned about the scale and scope of the Bush-Cheney surveillance state, the torture program, the claimed presidential right to seize, detain and torture anyone deemed an "enemy combatant", the avoidance of the FISA law, the suspension of habeas corpus, I was ridiculed as an hysteric. When forced to defend basic civil liberties against a presidency claiming unprecedented war powers within the boundaries of the US and potentially against American citizens, I found only one argument got through. What if Hillary Clinton got this kind of power? And the pathological partisanship of the right briefly faltered for just a little before the full-bore Bush-backing denialism kicked back in.
I am reminded of this today by the fooferaw on the bloggy right about a DHS study of potential far right domestic terrorism that also includes other completely legitimate forms of protest and dissent on the far right. I understand the need to keep an eye on potential violence after Oklahoma City and the rhetoric now out there. But I share the general unease about this kind of surveillance. Sadly, this belated concern on the right is the problem with a polity as deeply polarized as ours. Greenwald sums it up:
When you cheer on a Surveillance State, you have no grounds to complain when it turns its eyes on you. If you create a massive and wildly empowered domestic surveillance apparatus, it's going to monitor and investigate domestic political activity. That's its nature.
But, hey. No hard feelings. Glad to have you back on the side of liberty.
One small question, though: Where the fuck have you been these past seven years?