Minds have pretty much made themselves up regarding the ongoing NSA scandal – either you think that the president has the right to disregard the law in “wartime” (according to Gonzales we’re not actually at war) or you don’t. Actually it surprises me how many rightwingers, Republicans and “conservatives,” not necessarily the same thing, have expressed serious concern about the isse. It’s not just loose cannons like Arlen Specter – Michael Savage can’t stop ranting about the dangers of, say, Hillary Clinton using the same powers to round up talk-radio critics in the interest of ‘national security.’ He’s right. The appropriate comparison for George Bush isn’t Hitler but an earlier Chancellor and very much non-Nazi named Friedrich Ebert. German history buffs will know what I’m talking about, for everybody else I’ll get into the significance in a later post. Read here for more on Republicans who’ve expressed serious reservations about the program. There’s more, but you get my point.
Glenn Greenwald and Jane Hamsher have a new/old approach to this issue that’s worth commenting on. Using the newfagled tools of blogging and teh oldfangled approaches of talk radio call-in and LTEs they’ve decided to use Congressional oversight of the wiretapping issue as a test case for a general approach to blog-based activism. I think that the old-fashioned approaches are a great idea because, admit it, most people don’t read blogs. Harrassing the media directly is fun and gets results, but at the same time it creates an combative atmosphere that leaves reporters with the sense that both left and right bloggers are a bunch of raving loons.
Blogs come in as a way to fine-tune the message and get it out effectively. The general idea, again not necessarily new, is to focus attention on the ‘pressure points’ of this scandal. Based on their representation in the Senate, seven states came up:
(1) Pennsylvania (Specter & Santorum)
(2) Kansas (Roberts & Brownback)
(3) Maine (Snowe & Collins)
(4) Nebraska (Hagel)
(5) South Carolina (Graham)
(6) Ohio (DeWine)
The first step is Kansas. Everything that we know about Roberts suggests that he’s a lost cause, but the local press has already begun the Roberts roast without any help from us. No doubt sensible press outlets like the Wichita Eagle could use some positive encouragement.
As a card-carrying believer in the balance of government powers I’m more than happy with this project as it stands right now. Bloggers can email Jane if you’re interested in contributing; Being a Pittsburgher I plan to link through to any PA bloggers who get involved so email me or leave a comment if you’re from the keystone state and want in.