Politics: February 2005 Archives

Dan Lovejoy has been all over this story: The Federal Department of Homeland Security has put veterans of some of the most invasive software and Internet companies in responsible positions overseeing the department's privacy issues. Nuala O'Connor Kelly, formerly Chief Privacy Officer for DoubleClick, is now Chief Privacy Officer for the Department of Homeland Security. And an executive from Claria (neé Gator) is on a Homeland Security privacy board. Many websurfers, myself included, installed Gator because it promised to help us more easily manage all the different usernames and passwords one acquires in the course of registering for this newspaper's website and that online banking service. It also would hijack your browser and pop up windows for its advertisers based on the site you were currently browsing. Dan reminds that Gator has been the subject of a number of lawsuits.

Dan has filed a Freedom of Information Act request to find out all he can. If the Cornyn-Leahy OPEN Government Act (S. 394) gets through Congress quickly enough, the FOIA request might not be too expensive:

A while back I noted that the Democrats' vacillating response to Islamofascism was driving otherwise liberal voters to become "9/11 Republicans". I wondered if these new Republicans would follow in the footsteps of the neo-conservatives of the 1960s:

In the 1960s, certain liberals were appalled at the weak-kneed, apologetic response of some of the their fellow liberals to oppressive, imperialistic Soviet Communism. Over time this core group of "neo-conservatives," which had broken with the mainstream of liberalism over foreign policy, began to question liberal orthodoxy on domestic policy. Their movement away from liberalism was accelerated by the left's hysterical response to their "apostasy" from the true liberal faith. Time will tell if today's "9/11 Republicans" become tomorrow's "neo-neo-cons".

Wizbang's Paul links to a recent indication that War on Terror Republicans are re-examining conservative views on other issues. In an op-ed on SFGate.com, Cinnamon Stillwell, who grew up in far-left Marin County, tells about the shift in her views, from being a Nader voter in 2000 to voting for George W. Bush in 2004.

Randy Barnett, writing at the Volokh Conspiracy, urges libertarians to refocus on getting libertarian candidates to succeed within the two-party system:

Libertarians should stop thinking of parties as teams and think of them instead as the playoffs. In NFL football terms, The Democrats are the AFC and the Republicans the NFC. To get into the Superbowl, you have to survive the season and the playoffs in your respective conference. In effect, Libertarians want to form their own league which no one but themselves is interested in watching. And they assure themselves of never making the playoffs much less the Superbowl.

The analogy is apt, especially because of ballot access laws that institutionalize the two parties in many states (Oklahoma, particularly), the way legislative bodies organize themselves into majority and minority caucuses, and a voting system that penalizes third-party votes -- vote for a third-party candidate in our first-past-the-post system and you probably help your least favorite candidate.

In another post, he points out that the existence of the Libertarian Party drains libertarian activists from the two major parties, giving them less influence.

The same message applies to conservatives who are tempted to leave the Republican Party for, say, a minor party like the Constitution Party.

Speaking of ballot access, I'm proud to see that Owasso Senator Randy Brogdon is the Senate sponsor of a ballot access reform bill for Oklahoma. Sen. Brogdon has frequently demonstrated the courage of his convictions, and I predict bigger and better things for him down the road. At least I hope so.

A breath of fresh air from Karol:

Isn't there something to be said for politicians taking a side of an issue, us voting for them based on where they stand, and then them representing our interests in elected office?

We are forever being told that some issue is too important to be left to the politicians, too important to allow it to become politicized. And some folks are just unnerved by vigorous debate.

There are indeed those fundamental, inalienable, absolute rights which should not be subject to the whims of politics. Those genuine rights aren't in competition -- my exercise of my freedom of speech doesn't require anything of you. All that is required is for the government not to infringe on those rights.

Beyond those basic freedoms, we enter the realm of trade-offs and competing interests, where what I seek may very well undermine your aims and vice versa. Politics is our way of arbitrating between those interests and setting the rules of the game. I much prefer deciding such matters through politics; the alternatives are tyranny and revolution. When the really important matters are removed from the realm of politics, ordinary people lose hope of change, opposition goes underground and becomes extreme, and government moves from openness to hidden, often corrupt, influence.

We shouldn't be ashamed of politics.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Politics category from February 2005.

Politics: December 2004 is the previous archive.

Politics: March 2005 is the next archive.

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