He’s trailing an openly misogynistic troll doll in the polls, but Jeb Bush has outdone his opponents in the “slavish praise for the government’s surveillance apparatus” department. Bush thinks we need more NSA surveillance, not less.
“There’s a place to find common ground between personal civil liberties and NSA doing its job,” Jeb! said at a national security conference in South Carolina today. “I think the balance has actually gone the wrong way.”
Bush reaffirmed his belief that the NSA’s old policies didn’t do shit to our civil liberties, and were necessary to thwart “evildoers”:
Bush doubled down Tuesday on his assertions that there is “no evidence” the data collection violated civil liberties. “I’ve found not one” case, he said.
Bush also criticized private technology firms for using encryption to make it harder for their customers to be surveilled. “It makes it harder for the American government to do its job while protecting civil liberties to make sure evildoers aren’t in our midst,” he said.
On the primary campaign trail, candidates stump hard for their bases. GOP candidates will certainly be saying all kinds of willfully lunkheaded shitbilge as they pander to the most rabid pockets of the right wing. Does it matter that a panel of judges ruled that the data collection Bush endorses is unlawful because it violated civil liberties? Nah. At least not as much as it matters that Bush can rope in voters annoyed with competitors like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, who have been critical of the NSA’s surveillance.
But here’s the frightening part: Bush might actually mean some of the hawkish twaddle he’s peddling. Back in April, he called supporting the NSA “the best part of the Obama administration.” In February, he called the NSA’s data collection “responsible” and “hugely important.”
The only thing scarier than an empty suit is a true believer.
Image: AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt