When Did Republicans Become the Party of Big Brother?

There is a large block of the Republican party that USED to pride itself on their unwavering support for individual liberties and privacy rights. In 1996 the State of Georgia passed a law requiring anyone either renewing or getting a new drivers license to be fingerprinted in the process. As you can imagine, being the blood red state that Georgia is this was not received well, particularly by that block of folks mentioned above. I lived in Atlanta at the time and listened to quite a bit of talk radio which included Sean Hannity when he was just a local snot-nose Rush Limbaugh wanna-be. Hannity was able to keep his program filled with callers for months on end as a result of this finger printing program – helping his launch onto the national stage.

Along the same lines, this group of self-proclaimed freedom lovers just about lost it when it was revealed in late 2000 that Bill Clinton had considered using the FISA court to approve wiretaps. Glenn Greenwald, by way of Matthew Yglesias, points out the massive turnaround this group has taken (some may call it a flip-flop).

The reaction by the folks at FreeRepublic to the Clinton article:

This is beyond frightening. Thank you for this find. . . .

Franz Kafka would have judged this to wild to fictionalize. But for us – it’s real. . . .

Any chance of Bush rolling some of this back? It sounds amazing on its face. Why didn’t Wen Ho Lee just “disappear” into one of these Star Chambers, never to return? . . .

This is one of those ideas that has a valid purpose behind it, but is wide open to terrible abuse. And there’s no way to check to see if it is abused.

Like all things that don’t have the light of day shining on them, you can be sure that it is being twisted to suit the purposes of those who hold the power.

This is wherein the danger lies in the precedent set by the Clinton criminal administration.

So after finding this piece at Matthew’s site I decided to do a little digging at the FreeRepublic for their current reactions to George W. Bush’s domestic spying program without the use of the FISA court.

I hereby expressly consent to the NSA eavesdropping on any telephonic, Internet or other electronic forms of communications I may have — whether I initiate or am on the receiving end of the communication — with any person or persons the government has reasonable basis to conclude is a member of al Qaeda, affiliated with al Qaeda or a member of an organization affiliated with al Qaeda.

This spying is absolutely necessary and we must use every weapon we can against the terrorists who would harm us.

What I don’t understand is why anyone would want to take the authority away from the President to protect us all and give that ultimate authority to some judge who says yes or no.

Liberals and Democrats fancy themselves the defense attorneys for Osama bin Laden and/or Saddam Hussein. Unbelievable, aint it?

If Clinton had been more serious about counterterrorism, we probably would not have had a second World Trade Center attack.

At least a couple people seem to recognize the hypocrisy of their current reaction…

It used to be that we didn’t trust government very much around here. I still don’t.

So you would have been A-OK with Bill Clinton wiretapping Americans? ‘Cause that’s not what the consensus opinion was on FR back when they toyed with the idea.

Just pointing out how opinion on presidential power did a 180 on this site when the clock hit 12:00 p.m. on January 20, 2001.

All Bush needs to do it go to a judge and get a warrant, like we’ve been doing for covert surveillance for years, and there wouldn’t be any issue at all.

So can someone please explain to me how all of a sudden it is ok – in the minds of these people – to invade the privacy of American’s?

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