John is, of course, absolutely correct that the folks who led us down this security rabbit hole in the first place were the Republicans – albeit, with the aid of most of the Democrats at the time (a few stalwart civil libertarians on the right and the left opposed the security power grabs – Russ Feingold, Ron Paul, etc.) Nonetheless, it was the Republican party that was in charge when they formed the DHS, the TSA, started torturing people, wire-tapping sans warrants, detaining P.O.W.’s indefinitely at Gitmo without trial, and so forth.
Thank God the Democrats have changed all that.
It’s all well and good to point out the hypocrisy of the Republicans here. The Charles Krauthammers of the world deserve it. But I care more about the people who hold the reins of power now – and the Obama administration and Democrat-controlled congress have not scaled back their war-on-terror powers in any meaningful or sustainable way. That’s also useful to remember when you fly this holiday season. The Republicans may have gotten the ball rolling, but the ball is still rolling under the Democrats.
Another thing to remember is that your team will only hold on to their seats for a limited amount of time. When they’re out of office, whatever power they accrued will transfer over to the Republicans, who, despite their current hypocrisy on the matter, will quickly return to their old ways, heaping fertilizer on the worst parts of government all in the name of national security. Then the Democrats, after supporting these programs when they came to a vote, will campaign against them, win, and continue whatever programs they campaigned against. And so on and so forth ad infinitum.
Bipartisanship is terrifying in practice.
Or, as Jason Kuznicki puts it:
It works like this: The majority party supports the growth of government power, under its aegis. The minority party can’t do much about it. We are a democracy, and minorities have fewer resources in a democracy. Rather than fight, lose, and be seen as a loser, the minority acquiesces.
When the minority party becomes the majority, nothing changes. Once again, the majority party supports the growth of government power, under its aegis. The minority acquiesces. The cycle repeats.
And naturally, it only takes one little, tiny security failure for all of this to get much worse.