Roger L. Simon

The Show-off

I find Sen. Russ Feingold a rather peculiar fellow. I don’t see him as being particularly left-wing, at least in any way I understand that term. And, yes, it’s easiest to understand his views as those of one who wishes to run for the presidency, but what is he saying when he wants to have the President censured over the NSA controversy? Excuse me if I’m confused by this nonsense, but what did anyone think the NSA was doing anyway with all those satellites except listening into Al Qaeda conversations? That, one would assume, was their number one job for all those billions of dollars. And I bet almost any Congressperson – possibly including Feingold – would have agreed a year ago that the NSA should be doing this and also would have assumed they were monitoring Al Qaeda conversations into and out of the US. And that anything they discovered should be acted on as quickly as possible. How else could they possibly defend the country from attack in the modern era?

Leaving the politics aside – which seems impossible for Feingold – the issue here is not the presidency and its perks, but the NSA and hightech spying itself. If you can’t react to information at the speed of a blog post, well, there’s no point in going in that direction in the first place. You might as well save those billions – and, arguably, there is a better use for them. But, again, Feingold does not make that argument. He makes a pretense of being a great defender of our privacy rights without examining the premises at all. What does that make him? A progressive? A reactionary? No, a show-off.