Analysis: Why Are People So Distrustful of Big Government?
NSA surveillance poses a particularly thorny challenge to conservative War on Terror hawks, who are being forced to confront the tension in two things that they believe: 1) The Obama administration shouldn't ever be trusted. 2) We're at war, and the Obama Administration must be trusted with extraordinary powers to stop the enemy, despite the theoretical potential for abuse.
It is tough to advance both arguments at once.
If the Obama administration can be trusted to put the names of American citizens on a secret targeted killing list and amass a secret database that holds years of our private digital communications, why object to a non-secret panel that reviews the efficacy of medical procedures?
If they're using the IRS to target their enemies, why not the NSA?
Charles Krauthammer comes as close to having it both ways as anyone. "The object is not to abolish these vital programs, it's to fix them" he wrote in aWashington Post column on NSA surveillance. "Not exactly easy to do amid the current state of national agitation -- provoked largely because such intrusive programs require a measure of trust in government, and this administration has forfeited that trust amid an unfolding series of scandals and a basic problem with truth-telling."
Tension cleverly evaded, if left unresolved.