Sunday :: Nov 9, 2003

Gore Slams Bush For Security Failings, Calls For Patriot Act Repeal

by Steve

Al Gore actually got good coverage in the notoriously Gore-bashing Washington Post when the story covering his major speech today on the erosion of our constitutional liberties under Bush made a Page Two placement in tomorrow’s edition. Knowing the Post's editorial page however, you can be sure that Bob Woodward or Len Downie will trash Gore in an editorial tomorrow or the next day for criticizing the GOP and Bush.

As for the speech, sponsored by and the American Constitution Society, it was an effective and well-written attack on the Bush Administration’s successful efforts to move us towards George Orwell’s “1984”. Gore stressed the point that the administration had the wrong approach towards domestic security, and flatly stated that the Bush gang was more interested in using our security vulnerabilities for political purposes than they were in increasing domestic security.

In his second major policy speech in three months, former vice president Al Gore took aim yesterday at what he said was the Bush administration's exploitation of the terrorist attacks of 2001 to justify an undemocratic suspension of domestic freedoms and to create a government built on "secrecy and deception."

"Rather than defending our freedoms, this administration has sought to abandon them. Rather than accepting our traditions of openness and accountability, this administration has opted to rule by secrecy and unquestioned authority. Its assaults on our core democratic principles have only left us less free and less secure," he said.

Gore, who described himself as "a recovering politician," urged Congress to repeal the Patriot Act, with its broad enhancements of government powers that allow federal agents to "sneak and peek" at citizens' private records; enter citizens' homes in secret; and hold citizens indefinitely without access to legal counsel or a hearing before a judge.

"I believe strongly that the few good features of this law should be passed again in a new, smaller law, but that the Patriot Act must be repealed," he said.
(H)e added, the threat of terrorism is so open-ended that it offers Republicans a grand opportunity "to use fear as a political tool to consolidate its power and to escape any accountability for its use."

In addition to calling for a repeal and rewrite of the Patriot Act, Gore called upon the Bush administration to "immediately stop its policy of indefinitely detaining American citizens without charges," a reference to the administration's use of "enemy combatant" status to justify holding U.S. citizens.

The Associated Press also gave Gore good coverage on the speech.

Former Vice President Al Gore accused President Bush on Sunday of failing to make the country safer after the Sept. 11 attacks and using the war against terrorism as a pretext to consolidate power.

"They have taken us much farther down the road toward an intrusive, 'big brother'-style government -- toward the dangers prophesied by George Orwell in his book '1984' -- than anyone ever thought would be possible in the United States of America," Gore charged in a speech.

Gore, who lost the disputed 2000 presidential election to Bush, said terrorism-fighting tools granted after Sept. 11 amount to a partisan power grab that have led to the erosion of the civil liberties of all Americans.

He brought many the crowd of 3,000 to their feet when he called for a repeal of the Patriot Act, which expanded government's surveillance and detention power, allowing authorities to monitor books people read and conduct secret searches.

Gore chided the administration for what he said was its "implicit assumption" that Americans must give up traditional freedoms in order to be safe from terrorists.

"In my opinion, it makes no more sense to launch an assault on our civil liberties as the best way to get at terrorists than it did to launch an invasion of Iraq as the best way to get at Osama bin Laden," Gore said.

In both cases, Gore said, the administration has "recklessly put our country in grave and unnecessary danger."

He also said the administration still has "no serious strategy" for domestic security -- charging that there aren't sufficient protections in place for ports, nuclear facilities, chemical plants and other key infrastructure.

Great points made by a man who, if not for the ineptitude of his advisors and his own lack of a killer instinct, should be president right now.

Steve :: 9:35 PM :: Comments (3) :: Digg It!