Obama Scandals Fuel Libertarian Surge in GOP

They're handing a platform to Rand Paul and Justin Amash


Democrats and their allies have comforted themselves with the notion that the Republican Party cannot reassume their role as a nationally viable party unless they get behind the passage of some form of comprehensive immigration reform. With the passage of any immigration bill, let alone a comprehensive one, appearing less and less likely, Democrats may be tempted to celebrate. They should restrain themselves. The revelation that the National Security Agency has overseen a data collection regime of unimaginable scale has given the GOP's rising libertarian wing ammunition to hammer home an issue which they already own; a recalibration of the methods used to prosecute the war on terror. In concert with other abuses by federal agencies, the future looks bright for the Republican Party's civil libertarians. If they frame it right, without attributing malice to unrestrained actions of the NSA, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Department of Justice, the GOP will not need to appeal to demography to win big in the 2014 and even the 2016 election cycles. A coalition of concerned independents, disaffected Democrats, and loyal Republicans of all races will hand Republicans a significant victories.

The public has not yet had a chance to weigh in with their thoughts on the breaking revelations surrounding the NSA's snooping regime. Unlike in 2006, when a broad majority said that they were comfortable with the NSA's collection of Americans' telephonic communications data, the public is likely to be far more weary of the program in 2013. The remove from the events of September 11, 2001, combined with bipartisan outrage from members of Congress – as opposed to outrage limited primarily to partisan Democrats in the Bush-era – will yield a politically toxic environment for the old guard defenders of these program like Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Lindsay Graham (R-SC).