Americans are divided when it comes to charging Edward Snowden with a crime for leaking portions of the National Security Agency’s sweeping surveillance of phone records and Internet activity, but they clearly want to know more, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Nearly two-thirds said they want open, public congressional hearings on the previously secret programs.Pew:
The new national survey, conducted June 12-16 by the Pew Research Center and USA TODAY among 1,512 adults, finds that 44% think that the release of classified information about the NSA program harms the public interest, while 49% say it serves the public interest.Definitely some age related splitting: younger voters think it was more valuable and want less prosecution. Rick Perlstein:However, 54% of the public – including identical majorities of Republicans and Democrats (59% each) – say the government should pursue a criminal case against the person responsible for leaking the classified information about the program.
So far [Glenn] Greenwald has been lucky, and because he has been lucky, everyone who cares about fixing our puke-worthy system of "oversight" of the American state's out-of-control spy regime has been lucky too. Yes, clowns like Peter King and irrelevant throwbacks like Dick Cheney cry treason and call for death squads or tumbrels or whatever. But the bottom line is that for whatever reason (reasons I think will only become clear in the light of later history) the American establishment seems ready to think about this story—ready to give a hard look at what our surveillance state has become. The evidence is there in thoughtful and detailed reporting and analysis on how PRISM might actually work, for instance in this Associated Press piece (which is far more usefully critical than the typical piece on the Bush administration’s lies about Iraq's claimed weapons of mass destruction in 2003, which the American establishment was not ready to think about), and this analysis by technologist Ashkan Soltani—both of which sort through the available evidence far better than Glenn Greenwald does, but also would not exist without what Greenwald and Edward Snowden courageously did, however flawed Greenwald and Snowden might be as messengers. Life can be complicated that way.Complicated, and nuanced. That it is. And Glenn fights with other people. So it goes. It's not about him, it's about the story, but the fights are generally about the story.
More politics and policy below the fold.
Hey, if you want a fight, go watch Nate Silver fight with Politico, via TPM:
Silver was responding to an interview with Politico co-founders John Harris and Jim VandeHei in The New Republic. Both offered some praise of Silver's work, but Harris said the New York Times' resident polling guru "gets up on his high horse quite a lot on different topics." VandeHei said that some of Silver's "stuff goes on and on" and argued that he uses "numbers to prove stuff that I don’t think can be proved by numbers alone."They can't read polls, either. If you read Politico during 2012, you might have thought Romney was in contention. Mike Gerson has some words of wisdom to share on the Republican Party:
Silver said he thought "it was a good interview" but that Harris and VandeHei often mischaracterize his central criticism of Politico.
"It's striking how preoccupied Harris and VandeHei are with the perception that Politico is too 'insidery,'" Silver wrote. "My personal critique of their work cuts a little deeper than that, however. It's not that they are too 'insidery' per se, but that the perceptions of Beltway insiders, which Politico echoes and embraces, are not always very insightful or accurate. In other words, the conventional wisdom is often wrong, especially in Washington."
He added later in the email: "Furthermore, Harris and VandeHei seem to lack very much curiosity for the world outside of the bubble."
But parties generally don’t get to reformulate their appeal from scratch. While Republicans can’t win with their base alone, they also can’t win without it. Religious conservatives, for example, are the single largest constituency within the GOP, and compose about a quarter of the entire electorate. Such voters are not baggage thrown overboard to lighten the ship; they are planks in the hull.Read that, then read this from MSNBC:
While the [abortion] vote offered a chance for members from socially conservative districts to flex their political muscles, some moderate Republicans grumbled about the leadership’s decision to hold a vote on a controversial measure with no chance of going beyond the House.Every election matters. See 2010. But this is an example of Gerson's playing to the base.
“I think a lot of people are shaking their heads and not understanding why we’re doing this,” said one GOP official, who added that votes on hot-button social issues don’t help the party maintain much-needed Republican seats in moderate districts.
Republican Rep. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania bluntly told The New York Times that the vote is “a stupid idea.”
Bigger picture from Gallup:
Americans still rate the Republican Party less favorably than the Democratic Party, 39% vs. 46%. But both parties' ratings are down from November 2012. The Democrats' rating dropped more, from 51% just after President Barack Obama won re-election. Americans' ratings of the Democratic Party are now more on par with readings earlier in 2012, while their ratings of the GOP are the lowest since May 2010.Greg Sargent:
There’s some interesting sleight of hand here. Note that Boehner seems more focused on enforcement and border security than on citizenship. The Speaker is claiming that if a majority of House Republicans thinks the emerging proposal isn’t tough enough on border security, then the House won’t vote on it. But the real Rubicon House Republicans must cross is the path to citizenship. What happens if a majority of House Republicans can’t support the path to citizenship, no matter how tough the border security elements are made? In that scenario, if Boehner holds to his vow, the House wouldn’t vote on anything that includes citizenship, right? And that scenario very well may come to pass.and Greg Sargent:
Someone needs to ask the Speaker: If a majority of House Republicans can’t accept a path to citizenship, will you really not allow a House vote on any emerging proposal that contains one?
Democrats on the House Oversight Committee have just released a full transcript of testimony from a key witness in the investigation of IRS targeting of conservatives — and it appears to confirm that the initial targeting did originate with a low-level employee in the Cincinnati office.The IRS, like Benghazi, is a nothingburger used for partisan reasons by the GOP. That conclusion is based on a Congressional investigation, not reflexive. Good to look. We looked. Dismissed.
It also shows a key witness and IRS screening manager – a self described conservative Republican — denying any communication with the White House or senior IRS officials about the targeting.
PS Responsible journalists will mention that every time they bring up this disproven "scandal".