Hubba-Hubba! Who Do You Trust?!

Based on the most recent poll on the NSA counter-terrorism program showing thin Democratic support and broad Republican opposition, it’s obvious that, yes, Republicans generally trust Republican governments to carry out surveillance efforts and Democrats generally trust Democratic governments.

The difference here, however, is that Republicans supported the surveillance operations when they were conducted without warrants or any oversight whatsoever. On the other hand, Democrats support surveillance in a time when judicial oversight exists on several levels.

Yes, Greenwald and Snowden were successful in one of their goals: scrambling the left-right paradigm on this issue. But it’s unclear at this point whether NSA-opponents on both sides will team up to do anything positive. Honestly, I really, really doubt it.

  • muselet

    I think the difference between Rs and Ds with regard to surveillance—any function of government, come to that—is that Ds trust processes.

    Ds generally try to set up protocols and procedures so things are done in an orderly fashion with proper supervision. Sometimes these processes work inefficiently and sometimes a particularly capable fool manages to cause a fool-proof system to fail, at which point Ds try to fix what went wrong.

    Rs don’t trust processes. When processes fail in some fashion, the R response is to eliminate the processes and trust Good People to do things The Right Way.

    I’d try to tie this in with the general Righty preference for the Great Man theory of history (history is a series of discrete moments at which a Great Man changes the world, and the common people are mere spectators), but I don’t want to sound that pompous this early in the day.