from the HOT-THREE-WAY-SURVEILLANCE-ACTION! dept
I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the state, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party, generally…Not for nothing did Washington warn against the formation of political parties. In this country, bipartisan support can occasionally still be found for the innovative or the innocuous, but for very little else. Not that the parties are really that different. A lot of partisan opposition is predicated on nothing more than the "wrong" party pushing the legislation. There are sharp divides in terms of social programs and issues, but when it comes to funding the military, intelligence agencies and law enforcement, there's very little difference between the Democrats and the Republicans.
The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty…
It serves always to distract the Public Councils, and enfeeble the Public Administration. It agitates the Community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.
George Washington's Farewell Address, 1789
But the illusion of disparity still exists, even in these issues, and even when many on both sides are receiving similar funding from interested parties. So, it's a bit odd to hear a leading figure of one political party publicly praise the leader of another. Jeb Bush did just that, recently. He managed to toss President Obama a thumbs-up for one set of policy decisions.
Medved: If you were to look back at the last seven years, almost, what has been the best part of the Obama administration?Of course, he would say that. After all, Obama's approach to this area has been roughly the same as his brother's, George W. Bush. The 9/11 attacks opened the door for another endless war and all the government land grabs that went with it. Obama's tenure has only expanded on Bush's groundwork. There have been reforms mooted, but they're reforms Obama would never have considered if it hadn't been for Snowden's leaks. The reforms are mostly cosmetic and concentrate far too much on a program that even some intelligence officials have admitted is close to useless: the bulk phone metadata collections.
Jeb Bush: I would say the best part of the Obama administration would be his continuance of the protections of the homeland using the big metadata programs, the NSA being enhanced. Advancing this — even though he never defends it, even though he never openly admits it, there has been a continuation of a very important service, which is the first obligation, I think of our national government is to keep us safe. And the technologies that now can be applied to make that so, while protecting civil liberties are there. And he’s not abandoned them, even though there was some indication that he might.
As Glenn Greenwald points out at The Intercept, even the farthest right of the Republican party have had generally nice things to say about his foreign policy decisions, seeing as they're the sort of things you'd normally expect the more-hawkish Red Staters to deploy: extrajudicial drone killings, indefinite detention and other areas where civil liberties have taken a back seat to national security.
If there's any place our government remains (mostly) united, it's the War on Terror. Government figures love government power and nothing makes the State "healthier" than a good, long war. Jeb Bush's by-proxy approval of his brother's programs isn't going to hurt his presidential chances with much of the party faithful. He might steer those concerned by the unchecked growth of the surveillance state towards his competition, however, what with Rand Paul promising to kill off the NSA's domestic surveillance programs shortly after delivering his inaugural address -- a promise I like in principal but am much less enamored with in terms of practicality.
In short, Jeb Bush's compliments are nothing more than a government figure telling the world that he likes government power. And the more it gets, the happier he'll be.