January 21, 2004

I'M AFRAID I HAVE TO AGREE WITH MATT WELCH that James Taranto's characterization of Democrats who booed the Patriot Act as the "al Qaeda Cheering Section" is over the top.

I've been a Patriot Act skeptic -- to put it mildly -- since pretty much day one. It's not all bad (and even John Kerry pointed that out last night on ABC) but the overall mindset, and the bureaucratic opportunism, that it represents is a bad thing. And "Homeland Security" remains pretty much of a joke today: lots of pork and gold-plating, lots of new bureaucracy, and not a lot of obvious benefit for security. What's more, Steven Brill's account of Ashcroft's role in the Patriot Act's drafting, which I blogged here back in April, is just devastating.

There's no question that the Democrats have demonized the Patriot Act and tried to turn it into a political weapon against Bush -- and it's hypocritical given the 1994 and 1996 "crime" and "terrorism" bills, which were basically more of the same. But that hardly turns them into an "Al Qaeda cheering section."

UPDATE: Steve Sturm says that Matt and I are wrong.