If you're not outraged by the NSA program that monitors phone-calling patterns, you're probably . . . too dumb to understand its implications. That, in a nutshell, and I do mean nutshell, was Ellen Ratner's argument on this morning's 'Long & the Short of It' segment on Fox & Friends Weekend. Oh, well, that - and opening our borders with Mexico.
Host Julian Phillips [who expressed his personal opposition to the NSA program] put it to Ratner that "most Americans don't care about this. They say the NSA should do that to keep our security intact."
"Until some neighbor who might work at a spy agency gets their phone records and starts spewing it around town that somebody is talking to somebody or divorce records get subpoenaed or something like that. You know, most people don't understand the impact of how bad this really is."
This isn't the first time that Ellen has 'misunderestimated' the intelligence of her fellow Americans. As I reported here, commenting back in January on the NSA program in which phone calls between suspected Al-Qaeda members or associates and people in the US were being monitored, Ratner sniffed:
"You know as well as I know: if the American people really understood what was going on with their privacy, and the Democrats could explain it very simple terms, the tide would turn against the Bush administration."
But back to today's show. When Phillips mentioned to 'Long' Jim Pinkerton that a $5 billion class-action lawsuit has been filed [that didn't take long!] against Verizon for its participation in the program, he replied:
"Well of course greedy trial lawyers will always be there to profit even at the expense of national security. The phone companies don't have anything on me and the government that Verizon doesn't already have."
He continued: "We should distinguish, Julian, between abuse and the potential for abuse. There is the potential for abuse I admit, but until the abuse exists, I think we have to default in terms of, look, we haven't been hit since 9/11. At that means a lot. It means a lot to most Americans."
In a truly odd non sequitur, Phillips replied "Well that might be the case, but there is also the situation of eminent domain and apparently that is being abused at least according to some people here in a situation out on Long Island so we're going to keep our eyes on this." Huh?
Phillips then segued to immigration, noting that President Bush will address the nation on the issue on Monday evening. He suggested to Pinkerton that the president has to seek "some sort of compromise" on the issue.
Pinkerton: "Actually, he's got to prove that he got the message that the American people and anybody even remotely thinking about voting Republican in November doesn't want an amnesty program. They want tough enforcement . . . I am sort of optimistic from reading the papers this morning that the president means business about getting tough on the border. That would also mean, as Michelle Malkin points out in a column this morning in the Washington Times, getting tough about cleaning up the Department of Homeland Security. The two are connected. You have to have a tough border enforcement system to make people feel secure."
Ratner reiterated her security strategy - which amounts to surrender: "I think you cannot enforce these borders. I think that they are -- we live in a geographically very difficult way to enforce the border with Mexico and we have too many people who want these people to work here. Because the labor is cheap. I think you can have all the Power Point presentations you want in the world it is time to open the borders between Mexico on the United States. I have said that before and I get lots of hate mail. It's okay."
Pinkerton: "Here is a Republican secret plan for a huge triumph in November. That is, simply remind people that Ellen speaks for the Democrats."
Let's see - no monitoring of potential terrorist phone-calling, and open borders with Mexico. Nancy & Harrry: can you hear me now? Go for it!