Finally, tea party takes up a good cause

President Obama’s most disappointing decisions have revolved around national security issues and his insistence on retaining W’s oppressive policies on terrorism. Obama has retained the Patriot Act; he has pursued the same secretive and illegitimate FISA policies; he has even sanctioned the assassination of an American citizen without due process — the al-Qaeda-supporting extremist imam Anwar al-Awlaki, believed to be in hiding in Yemen.
Tea party activists should be reliable in protesting those policies. With a political message that relies heavily on “Don’t Tread on Me!’ rhetoric — opposing a tyrannical government, insisting on individual liberties, protesting overweening government authority — tea partiers should be surefire opponents of the Patriot Act.
And, yesterday, a few members of Congress with Tea Party support stood up against its renewal. They allied with Democratic opponents of the Patriot Act to block it, at least temporarily. (How many times do you see civil rights icon John Lewis, D-Ga, and John-Birch-loving Paul Broun, R-Ga., in agreement?)
From The Washington Post:

House Republicans suffered an embarrassing setback Tuesday when they fell seven votes short of extending provisions of the Patriot Act, a vote that served as the first small uprising of the party’s tea-party bloc.

The bill to reauthorize key parts of the counter-terrorism surveillance law, which expire at the end of the month, required a super-majority to pass under special rules reserved for non-controversial measures.

But it fell short of the required two-thirds after 26 Republicans bucked their leadership, eight of them freshman lawmakers elected in November’s midterm elections. With most Democrats opposing the extension, the final tally was 277 members in favor of extension, and 148 opposed.

The Republicans who control the House made plans to bring the measure back for a quick vote later this month under normal rules, requiring only a simple majority for passage. They blamed House Democrats for the bill’s downfall, noting that they provided the lion’s share of votes against a bill that President Obama supports.

The vote was the latest signal, though, that on certain matters House leaders could face a sizable resistance to compromise from within their own ranks, both from the 87 GOP freshmen and from conservative veterans who have been emboldened by the newcomers.

Here’s the question: How long will those tea partying members of Congress hold out against the GOP establishment? Will tea party activists back home step in to insist that Republicans fight the Patriot Act? Will they bring the same enthusiasm to the task that they brought to fighting health care reform?

My prediction? Not a chance. No matter how much tea partiers talk about civil liberties and “freedom” — their favorite word — they retain a strong authoritarian streak they allows the government to do whatever it likes as long as it is cloaked in the language of “national security.”

244 comments Add your comment

Walt

February 9th, 2011
8:19 am

If George Bush had wanted to protect us against terrorism, the abuses he allowed – ordered – would have been the last way to do it. Scrupulous adherence to all prisoner rights, and open trials for people we caught would have undercut the terrorists.

Instead, Bush ordered the watterboarding of one suspect even when the CIA said it was counter productive. And Obama has done little better. To me this is Obama’s worst failing. Just as Bush should have been impeached for ordering the open-ended detention of an American citizen with no trial or even charges – Jose Padilla – Obama wreaks havoc on the Bill of Rights by having Bradley Manning held for months on end in solitary confinement, with no charges and no trial.

Walt

Call it like it is

February 9th, 2011
8:20 am

Tomorrow’s Blog

Yesterday Michelle Obama came to Georgia to promote her get fit campaign. She was able to do so despite the Right, Newt, Rush and the Tea party blocking her every advance. Even Sean Hannity setup land mines to stop her from entering the state, but she prevailed. For the past 100 years the Republicans have wanted Americans to be fat and have blocked Democrats at every turn to make America healthier. When democrats added the dreaded twinkee clause on the assault rifle ban, who block it? The Republicans. When moon pies were discussed with the Russians, who blocked it? The Republicans! All I can say is that this little Alabama girl is proud of Michelle and I know she will prevail in defeating the evil villains on the right . You go girl.

Keep up the good fight!

February 9th, 2011
8:21 am

Smaller government vs. intrusive big government….ahh the battlegrounds in the GOP/Tea Party.

mystified

February 9th, 2011
8:24 am

Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. Ben Franklin

Gm

February 9th, 2011
8:24 am

Look at the 2 slobs, Rush, Newt they look like your over weight red necks, our kids are dying at a alarming rate, and yet these bigots, Hannity, Rush, Newt are going out talking bad about the first lady.
I wonder if Laura Bush had of took this cause up would these bigots be so quick to judge.

Common Sense

February 9th, 2011
8:24 am

When it’s the right thing to do you will see it every time.

It was easy to know the Tea Party would be against extension of the Patriot because it is Unconstitutional.

resno2

February 9th, 2011
8:24 am

Almost, but you just couldn’t bring yourself to leave your ‘compliment’ of those tea partying members of congress alone, could you?. You had to take your typical (and very predictable) slap at them.

DebbieDoRight

February 9th, 2011
8:26 am

Will tea party activists back home step in to insist that Republicans fight the Patriot Act?

This one is easy! The answer is not just no, but H#LL NO!!

mystified

February 9th, 2011
8:26 am

Somehow I don’t think the tea partiers really care what you think they should fight for. My question is where your comments are on what the democrats do. I am a bit curious on if this bill was so bad why the democrats didn’t overturn it when they had the power. I don’t really remember you being very vocal about that.

Peadawg

February 9th, 2011
8:27 am

“Smaller government vs. intrusive big government….ahh the battlegrounds in the GOP/Tea Party.”

Depends on what the gov’t sticking their nose into…wire tapping and reading e-mails to possibly catch terrorists is fine(IMO the ones who don’t like it are the ones who have something to hide). Making us buy hc or pay a fine…not so much.

Keep up the good fight!

February 9th, 2011
8:28 am

Yes Pea, we know. You dont care about the 4th Amendment. Fear card.

mystified

February 9th, 2011
8:31 am

Peadawg….Really….” the ones who don’t like it are the ones who have something to hide?” Really.

Eric

February 9th, 2011
8:32 am

Fine article, Ms. Tucker. For once, agreement all around.

kayaker 71

February 9th, 2011
8:35 am

That al-Qaeda “American” in Yemen has been responsible for the deaths of way too many people who are involved in trying to defeat Islamic fascism. What would you do, CT, advocate bringing him home and doing a show trial in NYC? Due process should be saved for Americans. This animal gave up that distinction long ago.

JP

February 9th, 2011
8:36 am

Peadawg, you say “wire tapping and reading e-mails to possibly catch terrorists is fine.” Do you really think the government (Rep or Dem) is going to keep these intrusive powers limited to potential terrorists? We already know that these new powers have been used for political purposes, and we already know that the FBI has gone even further and broken the law thousands of times. But you don’t like the health care mandate (neither do I). Sounds like the partisan narrative has you all wrapped up. Sure, go ahead with the police state for an overhyped threat, but don’t make me buy health care!

Georgian

February 9th, 2011
8:37 am

Thats right. If we had just stuck a pacifier in their mouths and told them how great America was and shown them old John Wayne movies all would have been well. They would have went back and told all their old buddies how great we were and to stop hating us and what we “stand” for.

Sad thing is, what they truly hate us for we dont even stand for anymore.

Fang1944

February 9th, 2011
8:40 am

Peadawg
February 9th, 2011
8:27 am

“Smaller government vs. intrusive big government….ahh the battlegrounds in the GOP/Tea Party.”

Depends on what the gov’t sticking their nose into…wire tapping and reading e-mails to possibly catch terrorists is fine(IMO the ones who don’t like it are the ones who have something to hide). Making us buy hc or pay a fine…not so much.
————-
Ah, Pea, your overdeveloped amygdala is showing.

Drew

February 9th, 2011
8:40 am

Call it like it is…

You are blinded by the ilk of you party

Billy Maynard

February 9th, 2011
8:41 am

Cynthia Tucker is the reason I do not buy or read the AJC anymore!

T-Town

February 9th, 2011
8:44 am

The art of politics: be for it if our side supports it and against it if the other side supports it, compromise is for wussies.

Libertarian

February 9th, 2011
8:48 am

I imagine when you become president you find out about a lot of secret stuff. Something must have spooked Obama.

I knew the title was too good to be true…CT still manages to get a few digs in towards the Tea Party.

kayaker 71

February 9th, 2011
8:50 am

There are three provisions of the Patriot Act that were deemed objectionable. The provision regarding court ordered wire taps, done because the enemy was using multiple cell phones to communicate. The second was court ordered library surveillance of those suspected of terrorist acts. The third is the lone wolf provision which provides surveillance of foreign nationals (non-US citizens) suspected of being involved in terrorist acts.
The first two are the only ones in contention as they involve Americans. Keep in mind, these are COURT ORDERED surveillance proceedings, much like a search warrant or other court ordered acts. If a judge does not like what he sees, he can reject the request. The third provision is essential to keeping tabs on foreign nationals and has nothing to do with threatening American liberty. Tapping their phones is a smart thing to do and might avoid catastrophic events which they have planned for us. Hell, we monitored the USSR with whole AF bases devoted to tapping their every word during the cold war in an effort to give us the advantage and didn’t hear a single complaint from the left.
We need these provisions for our security. Your praise for Tea Party members is misplaced, CT. Don’t do us any favors.

jarvis

February 9th, 2011
8:53 am

@mystified, check you data on that. Not a Franklyn quote.

carlosgvv

February 9th, 2011
8:53 am

“the first small uprising of the party’s tea-party bloc”

The future of The Republicans probably will depend on how many and how dividing any future “uprisings” are.

jarvis

February 9th, 2011
8:53 am

Or Franklin, either :)

Peadawg

February 9th, 2011
8:54 am

“Cynthia Tucker is the reason I do not buy or read the AJC anymore!” – I love stoopid comments like these. Obviously she got ya to come to ttp://www.ajc.com, didn’t she?

Barry

February 9th, 2011
8:55 am

Fascinating; even when Tea Party adherents do what you want them to do, CT, you still find a way to criticize them – by projecting into the future and predicting how they’ll act later. Well, I predict you’ll continue to be intellectually lazy. I bet my prediction comes true before yours. (Oops – there it went. I win.)

valerie

February 9th, 2011
8:57 am

“Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle with you,”

Tech Man

February 9th, 2011
8:57 am

Cutting spending is not a good cause?

Georgian

February 9th, 2011
9:00 am

The USA Act of 2002 has far less negative parts that need to be removed from it than does the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

T-Town

February 9th, 2011
9:01 am

“Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle with you,”

Stealers Wheel must have been watching a political debate.

joe

February 9th, 2011
9:03 am

“oppressive policies on terrorism”? In a true American’s eye, there is no such thing. Anyone who engages in terrorism against America needs to be assassinated on the spot…and libs who want to give terrorist ‘due process’ are out of their minds…and spare me the “american” way; BS. We need to take them out before they attack us…and we must also do everything possible to outlaw sharia law here.

DebbieDoRight

February 9th, 2011
9:04 am

Classic oxymoron below:

Cynthia Tucker is the reason I do not buy or read the AJC anymore!

Yet, they managed to be on Cynthia’s blog which is on the AJC!! Priceless!

Jimmy62

February 9th, 2011
9:05 am

Cynthia doesn’t care if something is constitutional or not. If she agrees with something, it’s good, if she doesn’t, it’s bad. The Constitution was written over 200 years ago and has no relevance to the modern liberal, unless they can twist the words to agree with their desires.

[...] failsWECT-TV6Republican-led House fails to pass short-term extension of Patriot ActLos Angeles TimesFinally, tea party takes up a good causeAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)UPI.com -OzarksFirst.com -Talk Radio News Serviceall [...]

Joe

February 9th, 2011
9:06 am

I think I will just start calling Tuckers spew the Daily Tripe. Since that’s about all it is anyway. I wonder how much longer the AJC will take you seriously and actually give you money for writing this garbage. The utter hatred you have for Republicans and Conservatives is appalling. Back to the issue at hand. I guess this just proves the diversity we have in the Republican Party. According to you Republicans walk in lockstep against anything Obama. Now that I think about it though I haven’t heard how Obama feels on this issue. Could it be he’s riding the fence on this one? I personally favor every provision in the Patriot Act because it obviously works to keep us safe. If you need evidence just look at the past 8 years since its implementation. If certain Republicans disagree with certain aspects of it then I’m sure they will have an honest debate and come to some sort of agreement. It’s really nice now to have civilized debate on issues in the House of Representatives since the grownups have taken over….

  

February 9th, 2011
9:08 am

Peadawg = FAIL

Get It Right

February 9th, 2011
9:09 am

CT – Have you ever studied what the Tea Party is all about? From the tone of your comments and the uninformed statements you make, it is apparent that you have not. Perhaps you should read more and cut/paste less.

markie mark

February 9th, 2011
9:09 am

Good lord, CT….hurts like hell to acknowledge you may be wrong about the Tea Party, doesnt it? Couldn’t just give a kudo and let it go at that….you had to take a back-handed slap. Talk about damning with faint praise….

Mike

February 9th, 2011
9:13 am

Sometimes reporters have to go off the record or on background. Sometimes reporters/editors will hold a story for various reasons. Likewise, sometime presidents just “have to” do things. In both cases, sometimes the ends justify the means. The fact that Obama has continued many of the Bush policies tells me that Bush was on the right track all along and Obama realizes it.

  

February 9th, 2011
9:14 am

Yet, they managed to be on Cynthia’s blog which is on the AJC!! Priceless!

Who fvcking cares?

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Cowboy Bob

February 9th, 2011
9:16 am

Bush bad; Obama bad; Tea Party bad; Cynthia bad; America bad; Chocolate bad; Bacon bad; Superbowl bad; Puppies bad; Conservatives bad; Love bad; Libtards bad; Atlanta bad; Hate Good?!?

[...] failsWECT-TV6Republican-led House fails to pass short-term extension of Patriot ActLos Angeles TimesFinally, tea party takes up a good causeAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)OzarksFirst.com -UPI.com -Washington Postall 678 news [...]

crazy to think

February 9th, 2011
9:18 am

So you guys realize that the tea party members are the first REAL reps we’ve had in power in a long long time? Dems should have removed these measures if they want to live up to their hype. Repubs should have removed/never passed these measures for the same reasons.

It takes the “crazy racist gun tottin neo nazi baby eating” tea party to do what is right.

Do you understand why they’ve been so demonized now?

Wake up america, the truth is just around the corner. 3 parties upset the play.

heartlandboy

February 9th, 2011
9:18 am

@”The USA Act of 2002 has far less negative parts that need to be removed from it than does the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”

This is why the vast majority of the country has a hard time taking repubs seriously. The Patriot Act was a direct assault on our most important freedoms–but you want to live in a country where you’ve given up your freedoms *and* where people with pre-existing conditions cannot obtain insurance coverage. Truly the Party of No: no freedom and no health. Go back to Glenbeckistan.

Sarah Palin

February 9th, 2011
9:20 am

I shoot ilk from my helicopter.

Contractor

February 9th, 2011
9:24 am

I just love how you know what’s best, and how you tell people what they should do and think. You are in no way a Tea Party member, yet you tell them what you they should and shouldn’t do. What makes you think that you actually understand what the Tea Party stands for, since your point of views are so different, and you sit there and bash them with everything you’ve got? So why does your opinion even offer itself to the actual Tea Partiers that know what they want and stand up for? I know you are tired of hearing it, but you should run for president since you know so much more than the other guy, yet you right a junk column that belongs on the 10th page of the AJC.

kayaker 71

February 9th, 2011
9:27 am

“Finally, the Tea Party takes up a good cause”. The Tea Party movement has taken up a number of good causes since it’s founding, among which are less government spending, smaller government, responsibility for your actions (accountability) and honesty with the electorate. This group didn’t even exist three years ago, in most part, and has, since it’s inception, had a profound influence on the political events of this country. This is just one of them. Although I feel that some are dead wrong on the issue of the Patriot Act, their long term goals will still prevail, despite all of the demonic rhetoric from the left.

Paul

February 9th, 2011
9:30 am

Ms Tucker

Interestingly, the provisions of the Patriot Act that were voted against (provisions to address warrants for a person using multiple cell phones, for instance) are not the provisions you cited. The biggies – rendition and such – Congressional Democrats still go along with.

“he has even sanctioned the assassination of an American citizen without due process ”

I believe that’s inaccurate. Yes, Pres Obama signed a capture or kill order. And while I’ve found it extremely challenging to run down the process by which those orders are issued – and bumping it up against Constitutional provisions – is does appear both Pres Bush and Pres Obama are following a process that is, for the present, considered legal.

Notice how not even then-Speaker Pelosi spoke out against that?

Oh, and Walt, “The CIA” never said waterboarding was counterproductive. And Pres Obama did not seek to have such practices ended thru legislation. He issued and Executive Order. He could issue another EO today reinstituting it.