I’ve gone to great lengths on this blog to present my supposed U.S. representative, Bruce “Clunkers” Braley, as a big government liberal who’s only interested in defecating on the Constitution and drowning my children and unborn grandchildren in red ink. While I still think that’s an apt description, there have been a couple of signs lately that Braley is, if not turning over a new leaf, at least running scared from the baying of the Tea Party hounds on his trail.
For instance there is Braley’s recent call to avoid raising the national debt ceiling. He said, “[W]e have to be able to draw the line somewhere because if we don’t start addressing this spending problem now, when will we?” Since he helped nearly double the national debt, hearing Braley preaching spending restraint is a little like hearing Homer Simpson preach temperance (not that the average elected Republican has much more credibility on the issue). In Washington words are cheap, but votes are more concrete.
Recently Braley actually voted my way on a bill for once. Braley voted to allow three onerous provisions of the misnamed Patriot Act to expire February 28. According to the ACLU (conservatives, stop rolling your eyes, they’re right on this one):
The overbroad provisions of the Patriot Act due to expire are the John Doe roving wiretap provision, which allows law enforcement to conduct surveillance without identifying the person or location to be wiretapped; Section 215, or the “library records” provision, which allows the government to gain access to “any tangible thing” during investigations; and the “lone wolf” provision, which permits surveillance of “non-US” persons who are not affiliated with a terrorist group. All three provisions lack proper and fundamental privacy safeguards.
Although my fingers are starting to itch and stiffen up as I attempt to type these words, I’ll endeavour to write them anyway: Good job, Clunkers!