Glenn Greenwald, on "this suffocating, two-party monster"


Interesting Conor Friedersdorf interview with Salon's civil liberties/executive power blogger. Excerpt:

Presuming that the Republican nominee in 2012 is also bad on civil liberties, what should a voter who cares deeply about these issues do?

A. That's hard to say, because ultimately, elections are about comparative choices, making it difficult to assess what one should do against an unnamed opponent.  If the GOP opponent is substantially worse, that would be a different calculus than if s/he is merely marginally worse or roughly as bad.

But what is clear is that, for a variety of reasons, the two-party system does not work in terms of providing clear choices.  No matter who wins, the same permanent factions that control Washington continue to reign.  That's true no matter which issues one considers most important.  At some point, it's going to be necessary to sacrifice some short-term political interests for longer-term considerations about how this suffocating, two-party monster can be subverted. […]

Q. You'd think that Tea Partiers, with their distrust of President Obama and their ostensibly libertarian ethos, would be allies in the fight to rein in executive power. On the other hand, these are people who look to War on Terrorism hawks like Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin and Mark Levin for intellectual leadership. To complicate things even more, some of these people are huge Ron Paul fans. In your work, do you presume that you can win some of these people over to your civil libertarian position, or do you assume that an alliance of this kind is untenable?

A. It's absolutely tenable.  Some of the earliest and most vocal opponents of the Bush/Cheney assault on the Constitution were found on the Right.  Back when virtually all leading Democrats were petrified of opposing George Bush on anything having to do with Terrorism—or, worse, were actively supporting what he was doing—people like Bob Barr, Bruce Fein, the Cato Institute, even George Will were emphatically objecting. […]

As you suggest, when it comes to Terrorism issues, Ron Paul is as steadfast in defense of civil liberties as any major political figure in the country.  A significant minority of my readership has always been libertarians and other non-progressives who viewed Bush radicalism with serious alarm. […] There is much greater agreement across the ideological spectrum than our conventional political punditry wants to recognize.

But clearly, the people on the Right genuinely devoted to civil liberties and restraining executive power are (as is true for Democrats) only a minority.  The problem is partisan tribalism.

Whole thing here. Greenwald talks to Reason.tv about drug decriminalization below: