“modest encroachments on privacy”

“In the abstract you can complain about Big Brother and how this is a potential program run amok, but when you actually look at the details, I think we’ve struck the right balance…You can’t have 100 percent security and also then have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience. We’re going to have to make some choices as a society…There are trade-offs involved.”

– President Obama this weekend.

How big is this NSA / PRISM scandal? Put it this way, for the first time in the last ten years, the two political parties have absolutely no idea how to react to it. On every other issue they’ve got a kneejerk response up and ready to go without even considering the facts.

But this time, it’s impossible.

Normally, liberals would be howling at the idea of spying and infringement on privacy – but it’s their guy in the White House approving this stuff.

Normally, the Right would be staunch defenders of this kind thing in the name of national security, especially given the private contractors involved – except this would align them with Obama! And that, above all, is not permissible on any subject, under any circumstances.

And so the Democrats are keeping mostly quiet as the President works up a defense of this activity.

A handful of Republicans shout for the extradition of the whistleblower but their hearts don’t really seem to be in it. There’s a lot of money funneled to their party from Booz Allen and the rest of the “Beltway Bandit” firms, they ain’t gonna get too loud.

The libertarians are probably the only ones with a strong, fully-formulated opinion on this kind of government overreach.

But the donkey and the elephant are walking into walls right now. When was the last time we saw this lull in the permanent, prefabricated war between them? When, in recent memory, have we seen them so speechless?

That’s how big this scandal is.

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