In pursuit of heretics and dissenters, Chris Christie declared on a morning news broadcast that Rand Paul “should be in front of hearings and in front of Congress if there is another attack, not the director of the FBI or the CIA.”
Using state power to pursue political opponents makes a lot of sense, in communist Russia. It is no surprise that Christie disagrees with Paul on particular powers authorized by the Patriot Act. Though Paul has consistently said that he simply wants the NSA to use warrants, just as other government entities are constitutionally required to do.
Christie also attacked Paul for politicizing national defense, in what can only be described as a political attack. Of course Christie’s alternative to politics is far more horrific, subpoenaing members of Congress based on their stances and votes. If there is a way to end representative government quickly, it likely starts with persecuting the heretics unwilling to yield to the dogma of national defense defined by the most pure supporters of the Patriot Act.
While Christie lambast Paul for politicizing national defense he is politicizing national defense. No doubt he can do as much, he has adopted the “correct” position on the matter.
Two concerns about Christie arise from these comments. First, he appears to be completely unaware of the fact he is engaged in politics and that all policy issues are legitimate topics for political discussion, including the golden calf of national defense. Second, his response to political dissent should scare even the most ardent supporters of the Patriot Act, as it uses government power and persuasion to curtail the legitimately elected representatives of the people.
The effect of these actions would certainly chill speech and hinder the constitutionally protected legislative process if it were to become a reality. Support the Patriot Act or not, we should reject this revival of McCarthyism.
James C. Devereaux is an attorney and freedom fanatic. Questions, complaints and hysterics can be sent to email@example.com or follow him on twitter @jcdevereaux1 .by