The Obama Administration has got to be the dumbest group of people since whenever the last Geek Squad staff meeting was. They campaign on a platform of not being George W. Bush, and are now dismayed to find that, after almost two years of being strikingly similar to George W. Bush, albeit with a veneer of faux intellectualism rather than faux cowboy homeyness, people didn’t want to vote for Democrats in the midterms.
For example, Obama came into office promising to reverse Bush’s egregious rights violations and protect the American people from the power Bush’s executive branch seized in the midst of a wave of fear and paranoia. Instead, his administration now defends the use of nude body scans and enhanced pat-downs (colloquially known as “touching one’s junk”). At a time when Republicans are calling out the TSA for being overly invasive, Obama should not be taking the authoritarian stance on this.
Don’t get me wrong, the Republicans aren’t doing so out of genuine concern. They’re doing it because the oppose the Obama Administration, which at the moment means every single thing the government does at any level can be disingenuously blamed on Obama. For Obama to lend them credibility by defending the TSA’s actions is going to do serious, serious harm to the Democrats’ image.
Two years ago, I was laughing in the face of people who said that Democrats and Republicans are basically the same. It’s still not really true, but the Democrats have been so ineffective this whole decade, and so afraid of the Republicans that they’d rather defend an atrocious policy inherited from Bush than actually reverse it, that they might as well be. The Republicans’ policy platform was replaced by rhetoric and prejudice a long time ago, but the Democrats’ policy platform appears to have been replaced more recently by watered-down centrism that basically amounts to total inaction.
Let me throw in a quick reminder of a law I read once. You know, one of those really important laws that constitutes the very core of our government? Okay, I’ll stop being subtle; it’s from the Constitution.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
In other words, you may, with probable cause, issue a warrant describing “my junk” as the place to be searched. Until then, you cannot touch it. (Side note: I happen to be in the business of authorizing people to touch my junk; any interested ladies should call me sometime and we’ll see if we can get you a warrant. Hint: probably.)
But the worst part of all this, besides the reminder that Obama is a toothless moderate, is the way conservative pundits are flocking to this issue and pretending to be its liberty-loving champions. To wit (yes, to wit):
The hoi polloi revolt against such outrages is beginning to resemble the TEA Party awakening in 2009. Watch not just for the Goverment pushback to such audacity but some pragmatic hand-wringing from the usual corners of the blogsphere. (source)
Krauthammer’s take, however, is even more hilarious.
Don’t touch my junk is the anthem of the modern man, the Tea Party patriot, the late-life libertarian, the midterm election voter. Don’t touch my junk, Obamacare – get out of my doctor’s examining room, I’m wearing a paper-thin gown slit down the back. Don’t touch my junk, Google – Street View is cool, but get off my street. Don’t touch my junk, you airport security goon – my package belongs to no one but me, and do you really think I’m a Nigerian nut job preparing for my 72-virgin orgy by blowing my johnson to kingdom come? (source)
Racism? From Krauthammer? Why I never! Every ounce of disingenuous bullshit in Krauthammer’s “champion of human rights” spiel is revealed when he basically says that he’d be A-OK with the junk-touching if they were just touching brown Muslim junk. He and the rest of the wingnuts are convinced that they’re the ones fighting nobly against government intrusion.
But as Amanda Marcotte points out, they’re really just championing white male privilege:
By the way, the choice between scanners and searches isn’t anything new. I was pulled for a random search in El Paso in August, and I chose the full body scan, because I’ve been patted down with the old procedures before, and if you’re a woman you still feel pretty molested by that. The shift that’s created all the anger is that the procedures have gotten invasive to the point where men might feel molested. Don’t fuck with the privileged, man. The procedures already had a heightened humiliation factor for women, which I’ve experienced myself, but it took making white men feel like women and people of color often do for this to be pushed into the next zone of full blown anger.
So conservatives feel like they have a right to bitch about, and even blame liberals for, security practices that are a logical extension of the policies that began – with those same conservatives’ hearty approval – under Bush. It’s only when their junk is under scrutiny (gross) that they suddenly remember that Benjamin Franklin quote about trading a little liberty for a little security. Before now, they were all for trading liberty for security, as long as minorities made the lion’s share of the sacrifice.
In essence, something that has always been the case is that conservatives will scream BIG GOVERNMENT about two things:
1. Policies that benefit minorities in any way.
2. Policies that chip away in the slightest at white Christian male privilege.