FOX News Logic Knows No Bounds, Even When It Comes to National Security

By: madler28 | Posted: 09th December 2010

The recent uproar from the right over the T.S.A.’s tight security measures should come as no surprise, staggering as it may seem. When conservative commentators started calling Afghanistan “Obama’s Vietnam” at the very beginning of his presidency, well before he even drew up his war strategy, it became clear to me that there’s nothing he can do to avoid hypocritical and vicious attacks from the right. I loved to say at the time that theoretically, even if Obama were to embrace conservative policies, capture Bin Laden, kill every member of Al Qaeda and usher in an era of everlasting peace, conservatives would still paint him as soft on terror, a friend of terrorists, indecisive, and obsessed with expanding the reach of big brother.

As it happens, history has borne me out. The right has ridiculed him for implementing many supposedly conservative policies such as tax cuts, a hawkish counterterrorism agenda, aiding small businesses, building on Bush’s No Child Left Behind, creating high risk insurance pools, cutting health care costs and organizing a bi-partisan budget deficit committee. Nothing matters. The only pretense of an exception is that the Republicans have largely voted in support of the Afghanistan war, but, true to form, they managed to do so in a way that opposes the President’s plan by criticizing him for developing an exit strategy and pledging to withdraw troops as early as possible.

In this vein, a New York Times Op-Ed called “Politicizing Airport Security” describes how this form of FOX News logic is playing out in the pseudo-debate over the T.S.A.’s efforts to secure our airports. Mike Huckabee has called the scanners and pat-downs “unconstitutional,” audaciously challenging the President to subject his family to the intrusive procedures, and Gov. Rick Perry of Texas thinks T.S.A. agents belong at the Mexican border instead of at airports.

In addition, a popular conservative talking point has it that we should implement racial profiling in place of the “degrading” practices currently in use. This idea has been embraced by Huckabee, Pete Hoekstra, who will become the chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence in January, Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin. The latter, one of the most disgraceful figures America has ever produced, eloquently expressed her support for profiling via Twitter, as the Times reports: “TSA: why politically incorrect 2 ‘profile’ anyone re: natl security issues? We profile individuals/suspects in other situations! Profile away.”

I characterize all these “objections” as FOX News logic because they are all shamefully lacking in consistency and/or truth. Although there is a real debate over whether the T.S.A.’s behavior is unconstitutional, was it any less unconstitutional before Obama became president? Though the searches may be more prevalent now, the constitutional argument remains as strong or weak as it ever was, and the issue was never a mainstream concern for conservatives like Huckabee before.

As for Rick Perry’s urging the T.S.A. to prioritize securing the Mexican border over airports, leaving aside the fundamental absurdity of such a suggestion, the government currently has 20,000 Border Patrol agents deployed (compared to 9,000 in 2001) as a result of Bush’s Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, which has added 2,000 new agents per year since it was initiated. In addition, Obama has not only upheld that total while cutting costs for the program but has also ordered 1,200 additional National Guard troops to help.

The racial profiling line is particularly laughable because aside from being abhorrent, the T.S.A. already engages in profiling, as The Times explains.

As always, the real issue is that conservatives will attack everything Obama does. There was once a time when politicians understood that national security should trump petty politics. But, as the Republicans’ blatantly partisan resistance to the START treaty with Russia further attests, that ideal, much like the existence of moderate Republicans, is a thing of the past.

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Tags: exit strategy, uproar, health care costs, fox news, obama