by Conor Friedersdorf

Earnest as many Tea Partiers are in wanting a smaller, less intrusive government, it's going to be difficult to take their movement seriously if they keep insisting that the Republican Party is the only choice for liberty-minded individuals, as this CNET story shows:

The House Republicans’ first major technology initiative is about to be unveiled: a push to force Internet companies to keep track of what their users are doing. A House panel chaired by Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin is scheduled to hold a hearing tomorrow morning to discuss forcing Internet providers, and perhaps Web companies as well, to store records of their users’ activities for later review by police.

One focus will be on reviving a dormant proposal for data retention that would require companies to store Internet Protocol (IP) addresses for two years, CNET has learned. Tomorrow’s data retention hearing is juxtaposed against the recent trend to protect Internet users’ privacy by storing less data. Last month, the Federal Trade Commission called for “limited retention” of user data on privacy grounds, and in the last 24 hours, both Mozilla and Google have announced do-not-track technology.

Via Glenn Reynolds, who notes, "They call it the stupid party for a reason." With President Obama continuing his awful record on civil liberties – without much objection from elected Democratic officials – and the GOP reminding us why liberty-minded people loathed their prior stint running Congress, there's basically nowhere left for libertarians to turn. I don't begrudge anyone for thinking they're better off aligning with the Republicans or the Democrats. But I can't stand folks who pretend that advocates of overweening government are all on one side, or that the right thing to do at the ballot box is obvious.

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