'Shocking' NSA Vote Signals Change Is in the Air

Glenn Greenwald: Forget left vs. right, this is authoritarianism vs. liberty
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 25, 2013 1:05 PM CDT
'Shocking' NSA Vote Signals Change Is in the Air
Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., talks about his failed amendment to curb the powers of the NSA.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Republicans won't support any of President Obama's policies no matter what, right? Wrong, writes Glenn Greenwald in the Guardian, and last night's "extraordinary" NSA vote in the House is the best evidence yet that it's time to dispel this partisan myth. The House defeated an amendment by Michigan Republican Justin Amash that would have stopped the NSA from collecting the phone records of millions of Americans. But it failed by only 12 votes, which is "nothing short of shocking," writes Greenwald. The White House needed help in getting it killed from the Democratic establishment, of course, but also from the GOP establishment. (Even Michele Bachmann railed against the amendment on the House floor, citing the danger of "Islamic jihadists.") Meanwhile, most Democrats voted against the White House in a losing cause. Libertarian Republicans joined them.

"A major sea change" is under way in the Capitol, writes Greenwald. The "decaying" party establishments collaborate far more often than people realize—but the members themselves are starting to buck their leaders when it counts. "Perhaps the most significant and enduring change will be the erosion of the trite, tired prism of partisan simplicity through which American politics has been understood over the last decade," he writes. Forget Democrat versus Republican. Instead, think "authoritarianism v. individualism, fealty to The National Security State v. a belief in the need to constrain and check it, insider Washington loyalty v. outsider independence." And the sooner this happens, the better, writes Greenwald. Click for his full column. (More NSA stories.)

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