Surveillance

Jeb Bush Says NSA Surveillance is "the best part of the Obama administration"

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Gage Skidmore / Foter

It's reasonably rare for potential Republican presidential candidates to compliment the Obama administration, so any time they do, it ends up being fairly revealing.

For example, when former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush—who is currently in the process of "actively exploring" a presidential run—was asked yesterday for his thoughts on "the best part of the Obama administration," he singled out the president's continuation and enhancement of the National Security Agency's bulk phone records surveillance program:

Jeb Bush: I would say the best part of the Obama administration would be his continuance of the protections of the homeland using the big metadata programs, the NSA being enhanced. Advancing this — even though he never defends it, even though he never openly admits it, there has been a continuation of a very important service, which is the first obligation, I think of our national government is to keep us safe. And the technologies that now can be applied to make that so, while protecting civil liberties are there. And he's not abandoned them, even though there was some indication that he might.

(Via Breitbart's Ian Hatchett/Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept)

Bush's aggressive defense of the program, continued from his brother George W. Bush's administration, stands in marked opposition to the promise made by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) during his presidential campaign announcement speech that he'd put an end to the NSA's intrusive surveillance program on day one in the White House. Indeed, the strong statements from both Paul and Bush set up a nice contrast for the GOP as it heads into the 2016 primary season, and a kind of a test, an opportunity for the party to openly debate a major issue that divides the base.

That debate, meanwhile, promises to tell us a lot about the state of the GOP in 2015, and how much it has really changed since the last time a Republican sat in the White House.

Over the last few years, prominent members of the party and key parts of its voter base have made some halting but interesting moves to put distance between themselves the Bush administration and take a more strongly critical line on executive overreach, especially as wielded by President Obama.

The NSA's bulk surveillance program is something the Obama administration has not only continued from its Republican predecessor, but, as Jeb Bush says, arguably "enhanced," despite continued concerns about both its constitutionality, its privacy safeguards, and its practical value. Clear Republican opposition to NSA surveillance would be a pretty strong signal that the party is actually committed to some of these shifts in direction.

The question for the Republican party, then, will be whether it gives up and sides with two Bushes and Obama in favor of an intrusive, secretive, ineffective, and constitutionally dubious mass surveillance program—or whether it takes its break from the Bush years and its critique of executive overreach seriously.

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  1. Permit me: BOOOOOOOOOSH!!

    1. NO FAIR! THE BUSH’S MAKE TEAM RED LOOK BAD!

      1. The fact that you do not see the humor in all of this says a lot about you ButtliKKKer.

        1. Skinnier Christie. Still a fat-ass.

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  2. Jeb is now dead to me.

    1. He wasn’t before?

      1. I was willing to listen to him. I’ve now heard enough.

        1. I too was willing to listen in the case where he won the nomination. I know all I need now.

          1. My reaction completely.

            Calling him a “a three-decker sauerkraut-and-toadstool sandwich, with arsenic sauce” would be kind.

      2. Before he was in my “I don’t like you” group.

        He has now joined the very small list of people dead to me. This list is reserved for true evil.

  3. At best, the next POTUS is not going to ratchet the surveillance state up another notch.

    I have little hope for any unwinding.

    1. A massive currency crisis, which significantly curtails the funding the state has will start the unwind.

      When faced with hard choices over what groups will continue to receive funding in an environment of constrained resources, the FSA will always win out. They have the votes.

      1. I for one welcome the insolvency of the United States and it’s dismemberment as an entity.

        1. And dismemberment of its functionaries and lickspittle toadies. And copsuckers.

      2. No crisis has ever resulted in a smaller, less intrusive state. If a state can’t take advantage of a crisis to blame something else and aggrandize even more power for itself, then it is run by incompetents or angels.

        1. And will be replaced by those who can take advantage of it, so it’s inevitable.

  4. Thanks, Jeb. Please go back to political retirement.

  5. Ol’ Jeb sure is showing off his conservative bona-fides for the wingnut base.

    1. Only for 8% of the wingnut base.

    2. Ol’ turd is here shouting BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH!

    3. Nope. This is Jeb and Hillary fighting for the same corporatist nickels.

      Or millions.

      Because we all know Hillary wants to get money out of politics (and into her sheltered instruments.)

    4. Hey dipshit, you do realize that Jeb has no support from the base. 100% of his support comes from the establishment.

      1. What on Earth does this even mean? 99% of voters will vote for either (likely) Bush or Hillary in this upcoming election. Is the ‘base’ somewhere in that 1%? Or are they just a bunch of howling sheep who will fall in line at the soothing sound of ‘hold your nose when you vote for the lesser of two evils’?

        1. Where does this idea that they’ll inevitably vote for Bush or Clinton come from? Because their relatives got elected President? Didn’t seem to do Hillary any favors in 2008 when got voted out for a guy nobody had heard of four years before. It won’t help her when she fails going after the nomination this year because nobody can stand her. And what’s Jeb’s attraction to anyone? He hasn’t been governor for years and nobody gives a shit about any of his ideas…because he hasn’t got any. Why do you think anyone cares what his name is when he brings nothing to the table for anybody?

          There’s this myth that people vote for people based solely on name recognition. Name recognition matters, but only if it’s tied to something (anything) positive. Neither Bush nor Clinton have that…Hillary is seen as a dishonest, miserable cunt, and Bush might as well be Mitt Romney, since his relevance died shortly after he left office because nobody remembers anything he said or did. They might as well be running Roger Clinton and Sophia Bush for office.

          1. The media certainly does try to make it seem that it will be between Bush and Clinton

          2. Didn’t Romney pump gas in California once?

        2. “An electorate dumb enough to put Obama in the White House TWICE is probably stupid enough to put Hillary there, too.”
          — Me.

    5. Which wingnut base? His or Obama’s (aka you)?

      Pro tip: when Jeb Bush is praising Obama for continuing and enhancing a massively unconstituitional civil liberties destroying program that no one here supports because – newflash: WE’RE NOT CONSERVATIVES HERE – perhaps you should rethink your slavish devotion to the Chocolate Nixon. Retard.

    6. I can’t think of a single republican or conservative that I know who wants Jeb for Prez.

      Most conservatives I know what Paul, except the social conservatives who tend to lean towards Cruz.

      1. Why does the GOP keep nominating Bush’s?

        1988, 1992, 200, 2004, and soon 2016.

        WHY?

        Does the “base” lay down each time?

        No.

        1. haha. good thing the Dems have no monarchist/dynast tendencies either.

      2. I can’t think of a single republican who won’t, in the end, vote for Jeb if he is the nominee. It doesn’t matter what they say they want because they have proven they will go along with anything and everything the GOP does. So the powers that be will let them throw a little temper tantrum so they calm down and then round them up for voting.

        1. Then you don’t know many Republicans. I can’t think of a single one I know who even cares that Jeb Bush might run. He’s going to be competing for the big government conservative vote with guys like Huckabee and Rubio…and he’s not even being engaged by the people already in. Neither Paul nor Cruz nor Walker is crapping their pants that they might have run against the Jeb Bush juggernaut, because it’s not even a juggernaut powered by anything anyone cares about.

          1. Like it or not, Bush is the only candidate that has more appeal the more moderate the voter. Everyone else is competing for the ‘extreme radical reactionary wing blahblahblah’ (which is exactly how the media will position it). Which means that Bush will quickly become ‘the electable guy’ and win most of the big early primaries – which are gonna be NY, Carolinas, Texas, Florida, Virginia.

            Once the steamroller starts, Republicans are seriously compliant.

  6. Hey, Obama kept Guantanamo open for business as well, and he had campaigned on closing it. That is certainly more impressive than expanding surveillance, which has had full bipartisan support for decades.

    1. The Senate voted down closing Gitmo 90-3.

      1. HA HA HA

        That’s your limit on executive power, eh?

  7. Name something the administration has done better. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s inexcusable, but then I went looking for something that Bush could say was handled better. The NSA has been both evil and competent, which makes them a glaring success in an administration that couldn’t tell its ass from a hole in the ground with a 50 page PowerPoint presentation.

    1. The NSA got completely exposed by a contractor who walked out with a shitload of files. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled that Snowden did that, but it’s also crushingly incompetent of the NSA.

      They’re as dysfunctional and incompetent as any other bureaucracy. They just get to legally keep their fuckups a secret. Because fuck you, that’s why.

      1. Yeah, they’re ostensible job is to stop terrorists. If they’d actually had any successes, they’d be trumpeting them from the mountain. They are as incompetent as the rest of gov’t.

      2. And when push came to shove, they could never produce a single terrorist attack their work foiled. They constantly claim to be doing all of this good work, yet they can never give a single concrete example of it.

        The whole thing is just another example of the kind of cargo cult magical thinking that our civilization is devolving into. You see Episiarch, they are collecting intelligence. They are building databases. They are engaging in surveillance. And that is how you stop terrorism. They don’t show any results not just because they have no results to show, which they don’t, but more so because they don’t even think results matter. What matters is throwing resources at the right magic words.

        1. It’s the right-wing version of left-wing thinking about government. “If you’re in favor of education, then you must be in favor of the Department of Education. It’s got education in the name, right?”

        2. But John, those concrete examples are super-secret! If we proved to the people with actual evidence, we’d be giving up state secrets! Don’t you get how this works????

          Sincerely,
          James Clapper

      3. Think of how bad it would have been if we hadn’t done this!!

        Signed

        NSA

      4. Any organization is only as good at keeping secrets as its biggest blabbermouth. The NSA is incompetent for other reasons, but Snowden walking away with tons of files is something that EVERY agency and/or private company has the potential to encounter.

        Fuck, I’m GLAD they’re that “incompetent”.

      5. I was completely shocked that the NSA was that vulnerable. What a relief it is knowing that, with their total collection practices, they likely have all sorts of information on me for identity thieves to plunder. Fucking government.

  8. I’m totally shocked that a Bush’s policy would be exactly the same as an Obama policy, shocked I tell you!

    1. Dave Chappelle’s “Black Bush” isn’t exactly like I thought he’d be…

      1. That bit is comedy genius.

        1. So you understood about 8% of it.

      2. Black bush and the black white supremacist were my 2 favorites.

        1. Those and the bit he did with Wayne Brady.

          “I’m Wayne Brady bitch!”

        2. All the Lil Jon sketches kill me

  9. What should we expect from the son of a goddamned traitor spook and the grandson of a nazi collaborator?

    -jcr

  10. Keep digging, Jeb. You’ll reach the molten core of the Earth yet!

  11. Hey, look over there! Glenn Greenwald!
    Refutation complete.

  12. YES! Let the stupid flow through you, Jeb. Go join Chris Christie in the loser’s circle.

    1. They’ll have to widen the circle.

      1. Is that a fat joke?

        1. Your governor so fat…they had to design two unique zip codes just for him!

          1. Your governor so fat…they were going to have the Boston Marathon runners run around his fat self, but they all got too tired to finish.

            1. Your governor so fat…he closed that bridge just by sitting in the road.

              1. Your governor so fat…He’s been gerrymandered.

  13. I don’t understand how these fuckers can be so tonedeaf.

    1. 1. He never had your vote
      2. He needs money to buy the votes he can get.

  14. And people thought Dubya was the stupid one.

  15. I believe Jeb is being funded by Democrats for Hillary

    1. So indirectly by Saudi gov’t for Hillary, Iranian gov’t for Hillary, etc?

    2. Hillary for Prison 2016

    3. I’m even more sure that both he and Hillary are being funded by the same people – who really don’t care one whit who wins since they own both of them. And your delusion that your vote actually matters is what keeps you quiet.

  16. It’s reasonably rare for potential Republican presidential candidates to compliment the Obama administration, so any time they do, it ends up being fairly revealing revolting.

    There.

  17. I am stunned. I knew I wouldn’t like this Bush any better than the last, but holy shit.

  18. This guy’s still the Republican frontrunner?

    Yup, looks like the republicans learned a -lot- from Obama. Mostly how to smile and laugh while saying “Fuck you, that’s why.”

    1. Maybe the frontrunner for raising cash. I bet any poll of Republican primary voters would show something different.

    2. Can you legitimately be considered the “frontrunner” if you’re pulling 17%?

      Especially when there’s only one other guy in the field who the GOP establishment kind of likes (Chris Christie), and he’s pulling 5%?

      Basically it’s establishment guys 22%, outside insurgents 78%. And unlike when Romney ran, some of the insurgents this time around are competent.

  19. Cripes, other than the establishment, who does he think he’s appealing to? It seems like every one of his positions is calculated to tick off libertarians and the Tea Party. (Though his “there’s no such thing as too much immigration” position matches the official libertarian position.) It’s as if Jim Webb were the Democratic front-runner, running against abortion and Obamacare and affirmative action.

    1. I’ve often wondered what would happen if I went through life saying and doing the opposite of what I believe. Would I be a Presidential front-runner, millionaire, have beautiful women throwing themselves at my feet?

  20. Bullet, meet foot.

  21. I wish we could just fast-forward to Jeb dropping out in disgrace already.

    1. Drink lots of whiskey. You’ll be there in no time.

  22. Hi Jeb – Long-time constituent, first-time writer.

    FUCK YOU.

    Thanks,
    Libertarian in Florida Grateful to Be Able to Scratch You Off My Potential Ballot Early

    1. While he occasionally pissed me off as governor, I thought he was pretty decent. But that guy and this guy seem to be totally unrelated. I think Gov. Bush fell asleep near a pod.

      1. Agreed. He’s got a modicum of sanity when it comes to immigration.

        But I wonder how he’d feel about a bunch of NSA jagoffs digging through his personal family emails/phonecalls/etc and laughing it up at the private dramas like drug busts, rehab, etc.?

        Could never happen, right Jeb?

        1. What if that’s exactly what happened?

          *hums X-Files theme*

      2. Yeah, my impression was that he was a decent governor, but now he’s in some sort of establishment GOP/statist-conservative bubble.

  23. In some ways I kind of feel sorry for G. H. W. Bush. I mean, having one idiot son who shits all over the family legacy is one thing, but two?

    1. He sucked at least as bad. Always thought it a huge mistake that Reagan didn’t pick another conservative like Du Pont for a running mate instead of a shitty big government RINO.

      1. True, it’s not like his legacy was that great before Jr. fucked it up.

      2. This. He was born rich and privileged, rode in on Reagan’s long coattails, and he and his worthless family have been fucking up their party and their country ever since. Some family legacy.

        1. Its all a bit hazy being this happened the day before yesterday but didnt Bush1 come close to beating Regan in the primary and isn’t that why he was offered a spot on the ticket? Support from the establishment types.

  24. The only thing that surprises me is that he said it so blatantly.

    The lefties have to be so happy to see a moron like this torpedo anything that resembles freedom and logic.

  25. The best part of Jeb ran down the crack of Barb’s ass.

    1. Before this I didn’t think so, he was just on my ‘Meh, whatever’ list.

      I agree.

      Also, I have a better chance of being elected than this twat.

      It is gonna be Cruz or Paul. I hope for Paul, but can easily live with Cruz. Either way there will be enough proggie tears to sustain me for another 1000 years.

      1. I say Walker or Paul. Cruz peaked two years ago…now he’s just a smarmier parody of McCain with fewer accomplishments to his name. If I had to guess, Walker will win. I’d prefer it was Paul, but oh well.

  26. What else could be expected from the inebriated brother of a mentally defective traitor?
    The entire bush clan is mentally damaged puppets of the multinational parasitic corporations.

    Can’t fix stupid, the bush’s couldn’t be fixed with a brain transplant.

  27. Maybe I’ll take a phone poll on this: “What should the gov’t do to increase security vs. terror?” Leave it open-ended, just take suggestions. If I had free phone service to other countries where I knew the language, I might ask it there too.

    I have a feeling most people would say something like, “Go after the terrorists & leave everyone else alone.” The interesting thing would then be to ask, “How?” I’m guessing most people would wind up doing the same things that are already being done, i.e. setting up people w provoker agents & wiretapping everybody or at least people w Arabic names.

  28. What makes governments dangerous? Power.

    What does government surveillance do? Increases government power.

    I would rather worry about an occasional terrorist attack than the constant ubiquitous surveillance by our government.

  29. Ugh. Gross. And his writing is horrid as well.

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  31. That ought to be enough to keep the Bush family out of politics for the next two centuries.

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  33. The GOP change? George Herbert Bush on his Inauguration said: “There are a few clear areas in which we as a society must rise up United and express our intolerance. The most obvious now is drugs.”
    Three days later he said: “I think the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe versus Wade was wrong and should be overturned.” ALL of the Republican hopefuls want to make abortion illegal. The party’s current platform calls for banning the morning-after pill and declares “The war on drugs and the war on terror have become a single enterprise.”

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