RNC votes via “overwhelming majority” to renounce NSA domestic surveillance

posted at 2:01 pm on January 24, 2014 by Allahpundit

Not a single member rose in opposition, according to Time. If you’re surprised — and I am, a little — go back and look at the polling data on NSA spying that Pew released a few days ago. Among Republicans generally, 56 percent disapprove of the program versus just 37 percent who approve. Among tea-party Republicans specifically, disapproval reaches 68 percent — the highest level recorded by Pew among any demographic. Today’s resolution does, in fact, reflect the opinion of most of the party right now.

Even so, I thought HQ for the GOP establishment would hedge a bit in condemning a program that was, after all, launched by the last Republican president, whose brother may or may not be the next nominee and whose own RNC chairman slammed Democrats in 2006 for opposing the NSA’s counterterror initiatives. It was just last year, in fact, that the current establishment favorite dismissed libertarians’ objections to the program as “dangerous.” One of the fault lines in the 2016 primaries would, I thought, form between establishment hawks and libertarians over the future of the program — and yet, 18 months out, here’s the ultimate Republican establishment group sounding like Rand Paul two years out.

Is this debate over?

WHEREAS, every time an American citizen makes a phone call, the NSA gets a record of the location, the number called, the time of the call and the length of the conversation, all of which are an invasion into the personal lives of American citizens that violates the right of free speech and association afforded by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution;

WHEREAS, the mass collection and retention of personal data is in itself contrary to the right of privacy protected by the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, which guarantees the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures, that warrants shall issue only upon probable cause, and generally prevents the American government from issuing modern-day writs of assistance;…

RESOLVED, the Republican National Committee encourages Republican lawmakers to enact legislation to amend Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act, the state secrets privilege, and the FISA Amendments Act to make it clear that blanket surveillance of the Internet activity, phone records and correspondence — electronic, physical, and otherwise — of any person residing in the U.S. is prohibited by law and that violations can be reviewed in adversarial proceedings before a public court;

There’s more at the link, including a call for congressional Republicans to “immediately take action” to halt the programs, but I wanted to excerpt the above to show you how stark the language is. This isn’t a delicately phrased half-measure expressing “concern” and seeking “balance” between privacy interests and counterterrorism. They’re calling the program flatly unconstitutional, not just on Fourth Amendment grounds but on First Amendment grounds. And they’re not limiting the protections they want to U.S. citizens. Anyone residing here would be covered under the RNC’s new version of Section 215. My instinct always when the Committee does something showy to please its base is that they’re simply working an angle aimed at protecting establishment prerogatives, but I don’t know. Why use language like this if there’s an ulterior motive? If the party ends up with a pro-NSA nominee, the left will have a field day rubbing this in his face in 2016. The RNC’s all in.

Makes me wonder what happens if Christie, Rubio, and other would-be hawks in the field take this as their cue to start inching away from the NSA. Would that create space for a niche candidate to jump in and prosecute the case for surveillance? Peter King wants to be that guy but no one takes him seriously. Maybe Bolton won’t be able to resist this time. Exit question: Is … this what the RNC wants to distract tea partiers from by passing the anti-NSA resolution? A compressed primary schedule benefits candidates with lots of dough, which usually means establishment candidates. (But not always. Rand Paul won’t want for money from libertarians who donated to his dad.)


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Thank you Mr. Snowden.

Schadenfreude on January 24, 2014 at 2:03 PM

This’ll make Peter King’s angry eyebrows flare up.

RedRedRice on January 24, 2014 at 2:04 PM

So we can count on the RNC to renounce amnesty?

nobar on January 24, 2014 at 2:05 PM

Smartest move the Republicans have ever made. Now enforce the border.

John the Libertarian on January 24, 2014 at 2:06 PM

Peter King hardest hit.

Bitter Clinger on January 24, 2014 at 2:07 PM

So we can count on the RNC to renounce amnesty?

nobar on January 24, 2014 at 2:05 PM

“Whoooooaaa!!! Let’s not get crazy now!!”
/RNC

Bitter Clinger on January 24, 2014 at 2:08 PM

This’ll make Peter King’s angry eyebrows flare up.

RedRedRice on January 24, 2014 at 2:04 PM

My thoughts exactly and that is why I suspect this is a resolution for consumption purposes only. I cannot believe that not a single RNC member voted against this.

KickandSwimMom on January 24, 2014 at 2:09 PM

Good for them. Is there any serious person who has been even marginally sentient over the last six years who thinks that the current administration can be trusted with this kind of information?

SacredFire on January 24, 2014 at 2:10 PM

RNC votes via “overwhelming majority” to renounce NSA domestic surveillance

Rhetorical posturing. Talk is cheap. I do not believe them.

Doomberg on January 24, 2014 at 2:14 PM

ooOOOOoooooo…..they “renounced” it! This forces Obama’s hand how?

Mimzey on January 24, 2014 at 2:16 PM

How about Republicans in the House voting to end the wholesale NSA spying on Americans?

rbj on January 24, 2014 at 2:16 PM

Wow didn’t expect every Republican to be on board with this.

Johnnyreb on January 24, 2014 at 2:25 PM

Good for them. Is there any serious person who has been even marginally sentient over the last six years who thinks that the current administration can be trusted with this kind of information?

SacredFire on January 24, 2014 at 2:10 PM

Heck, I wouldn’t trust me with that kind of power. Sorry but I am just a human.

Johnnyreb on January 24, 2014 at 2:30 PM

Peter King has to be upset! He’s always up for demagoguing Republicans who are against the NSA domestic spying program. I can’t believe that he will sit quietly by while this happens. Either way, I am so excited to see this happen! I am one conservative who thinks the NSA has violated our 4th and 5th Amendments rights…

therambler on January 24, 2014 at 2:32 PM

So they’ve written a strongly worded letter. Kind of like the UN does.

Fenris on January 24, 2014 at 2:40 PM

Good for them. Is there any serious person who has been even marginally sentient over the last six years who thinks that the current administration can be trusted with this kind of information?

SacredFire on January 24, 2014 at 2:10 PM

The country is full of unserious potheads, and if they forget to vote somebody will do it for them.

Fenris on January 24, 2014 at 2:42 PM

The GOP stands on the brink of a precipice with the amnesty push. IF they proceed, and push for amnesty, allowing even one measure of the four they plan to bring up for a vote, the bill immediately resurrecting the Gang of Eight bill in the Senate and sending the entire legislation into conference committee, they deserve to fall off of that precipice into the abyss of permanent oblivion.

thatsafactjack on January 24, 2014 at 2:50 PM

What does Chris Christie have to say?

Amjean on January 24, 2014 at 2:50 PM

True Bush started this but we didn’t know the extent of it until recently. When Bush started it we were told they were only tracking communications of death cultists(Islamists) in butthole parts of the world. Today we know that they’re spying on ALL of us. Hell even the author of the patriot act has come out and said that it was never written to allow domestic spying on American citizens. Given this program a) obviously violates the 4th Amendment, b) it’s failed to stop any terrorist attacks(boston bombings) and c) the Feds are abusing their power with the EPA, IRS, BATF, etc…there is ZERO reason to believe it won’t happen with the NSA against the so called enemies of BHO.

It’s time to scrap the NSA spying. Not to mention abolish the IRS, EPA and BATF.

jawkneemusic on January 24, 2014 at 2:56 PM

Should they run, my vote is going to Rand Paul or Ted Cruz. Screw these Boehner-Neostatist republicans. They have no problem with the abuses of the federal leviathan. They just want to be in charge.

jawkneemusic on January 24, 2014 at 2:58 PM

Screw these Boehner-Neostatist republicans. They have no problem with the abuses of the federal leviathan. They just want to be in charge.

jawkneemusic on January 24, 2014 at 2:58 PM

Look at McConnell, for instance – I’m not sure that he even “wants to be in charge”. He doesn’t act like it. He appears to be quite the happy little turtle being in the minority, but with great job perks. And Boehner strikes me as a guy who’d be thrilled to be forced to hand the big hammer back to Nanzi. So much lower expectations when you’re in the minority.

Goin’ along to git along. ayup, ayup, ayup…

bofh on January 24, 2014 at 3:14 PM

Keep in mind that while Republicans spend the Summer tearing each other apart and self-publishing Democrat campaign commercials, the Democrat nominee is going to run unopposed and conserving all ca$h throughout the entire primary season.

HopeHeFails on January 24, 2014 at 3:16 PM

Thank YOU! Finally something I can get behind

ginaswo on January 24, 2014 at 3:16 PM

I am one conservative who thinks the NSA has violated our 4th and 5th Amendments rights…

therambler on January 24, 2014 at 2:32 PM

These semi-worthless Republican Legislators cannot help but keep nibbling around the edges enough to make conservatives happy. The major reform would be to get the 10th Amendment reinstated as originally intended. Then the 4th and 5th will just fall into place.

Should they run, my vote is going to Rand Paul or Ted Cruz.
jawkneemusic on January 24, 2014 at 2:58 PM

Rand Paul and Ted Cruz are fine choices. But the best chance of 10th Amendment restoration as intended, which is really the key, is Rick Perry.

NOMOBO on January 24, 2014 at 3:17 PM

Bush did start it. Obama ran against it. Obama then kicked spying on citizens to ELEVEN.

Of course, Obama knew nothing about the NSA spying until he read it in the paper.

Snowden is a patriot and hero in my book. The Obama Regime is a domestic enemy.

jukin3 on January 24, 2014 at 3:20 PM

there is ZERO reason to believe it won’t hasn’t happened with the NSA against the so called enemies of BHO (AKA Americans).

jukin3 on January 24, 2014 at 3:24 PM

obama and the NSA are GWB on steroids…nothing hypocritical about obama, none at all…

Schadenfreude on January 24, 2014 at 3:34 PM

Most of what the Regulatory State does today is “…contrary to the right of privacy (and many other rights delineated in the Bill of Rights)… of the United States Constitution.”

It’s too bad that the RNC was unable to see that in the years after 9/11.

Another Drew on January 24, 2014 at 3:35 PM

anyone can say words.
now let me know when they do something.

dmacleo on January 24, 2014 at 3:37 PM

Oooooh, renouncing!

That’ll have the fascists trembling in their jack-boots.

Rational Thought on January 24, 2014 at 3:43 PM

What good is renouncing it? This is the RNC not the boy scouts so if they want to do something legislatively then they can certainly do so. Put up or shut up RNC. This is just another strategy to placate the base while doing what ever the hell they want.

DFCtomm on January 24, 2014 at 6:34 PM

RNC votes via “overwhelming majority” to renounce NSA domestic surveillance

Knowing Boehner and McConnell they’ll use this as an excuse to shut down all surveillance of our borders.

RJL on January 24, 2014 at 6:46 PM

“RNC takes meaningless symbolic vote to reaffirm gravity”…BFD.

jnelchef on January 25, 2014 at 1:10 PM

Will, road, highway and pedestrian surveillance continue if electronic spying is curtailed? Driving down any significant public road in my town means your picture is taken a many intersections, and driving on highways means photos, EZPass signal tracking and cellphone signal tracking. Many new cars report their location to someone, maybe the manufacturer and maybe the NSA. It’s all pervasive.

MTF on January 26, 2014 at 6:13 AM

A compressed primary schedule benefits candidates with lots of dough, which usually means establishment candidates. (But not always. Rand Paul won’t want for money from libertarians who donated to his dad.)

And how Thou pleaseth God, dispose the day….

JohnGalt23 on January 26, 2014 at 10:15 AM

Meanwhile, Snowden releases more foreign intelligence gathering information today. The espionage “pornstar.”

rlwo2008 on January 26, 2014 at 12:26 PM

There must be more to this story since the language cited is not anything that so-called GOP leaders have used before. Who wrote it?

Rand Paul is the only visible Republican opponent to this unwarranted search, so it is a “surprise” to see the RNC endorse a position that is stronger than that held by some in the Tea Party.

BTW it’s not a revelation that Tea Party supporters are highly motivated on this issue because the government has proven that it will use any and all (by any means necessary) agencies to target them politically.

For the complicit establishment talk-heads: it’s not a matter of patriotic support of government intelligence because the facts on the ground are that this unrestricted data gathering has not prevented attacks and is being used against internal political enemies of the administration. This is tyranny.

virgo on January 26, 2014 at 12:34 PM