If you don’t know who he is — and given the immense outcry online, I can’t believe anyone doesn’t — the AP’s got you covered. Two clips here, one of the man himself and the other of Shep Smith in high dudgeon, but perhaps it’s time to think less about alternate procedures and more about … big-picture solutions.

The Republicans control the House of Representatives and are bracing for a long battle over the President’s health care proposal. In the spirit of bipartisanship and sanity, I propose that the first thing on the chopping block should be an ineffective organization that wastes money, violates our rights, and encourages us to make decisions that imperil our safety. I’m talking about the Transportation Security Administration.

Bipartisan support should be immediate. For fiscal conservatives, it’s hard to come up with a more wasteful agency than the TSA. For privacy advocates, eliminating an organization that requires you to choose between a nude body scan or genital groping in order to board a plane should be a no-brainer.

But won’t that compromise safety? I doubt it. The airlines have enormous sums of money riding on passenger safety, and the notion that a government bureaucracy has better incentives to provide safe travels than airlines with billions of dollars worth of capital and goodwill on the line strains credibility.

Give the airlines control over their own security and the marketplace can work its magic. There’ll be the “safe” airlines, which cost a bit more but employ El Al screening procedures (assuming that those can be scaled to an American market); the “average” airlines, which give you routine security at a lower price; the cut-rate “risky” airlines, which give you a metal detector and little else, thereby ensuring that every flight is an adventure; and of course the TSA-style “enhanced patdown” airlines (let’s call them the “beta male’s choice”). I’d love to see it happen, if only to get a sense of how many of the people who’ve been tweeting over the past few days that airport screening procedures haven’t stopped a single terrorist since 9/11, that the passengers are the only effective line of defense, etc etc, would choose to fly Risk Air. Big savings to be had, after all. What could go wrong?


Tags: Republicans