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Principled conservatives

An oxymoron if ever there was one
 
 
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Everything you need to know about Republicans' blind obeisance to the party line is contained in this little item from the latest Pew poll:

In August 2002, there was little party division over the issue of government monitoring of personal telephone calls and emails. Both Republicans and Democrats opposed the idea by similar margins. In fact, if anything, Republicans were less likely to see this kind of surveillance of American citizens as justifiable.

However, in the wake of the news that President Bush has authorized the National Security Agency (NSA) to monitor Americans suspected of having terrorist ties the issue has become more divisive. Today, Republicans are twice as likely as Democrats (37% vs. 18%) to say they favor allowing the government to monitor their telephone and email communications.

"Of course I'm against the government listening into the phone calls of perhaps millions of Americans without a warr - what's that? Bush did it? Er…Well, he's trying to save us from the scourge of Islamofascism, and the way I see it if you've got nothing to hide, why should you…"

After last year's election I talked to Moral Majority co-founder and right-wing icon Richard Viguerie, who told me: "conservatives are royalists in some regards. The king is the king and his is the final word." I guess he was right.

Joshua Holland is a staff writer at Alternet and a regular contributor to The Gadflyer .