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Texas senator Ted Cruz, a Republican, told viewers on Fox News Monday morning that Americans should avoid a "rush to judgment" on the leaking of classified information by Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency systems analyst. The Washington Examiner has the video:
“I think it depends on what the contours of the program are and I don’t think we should rush to judgment or jump to conclusions,” Cruz said.
McCain lumps them together as “wacko birds” but I’m not so sure that’s true of Cruz on national-security issues. His alliance with Paul interests me because it strikes me as a personification of the uneasy libertarian/tea-party alliance. The groups overlap heavily on spending issues, and both are deeply suspicious of Obama’s expansion of government. The master stroke of Paul’s drone filibuster was that he found a sweet spot for both, making the philosophical case for due process while humiliating O for having turned into such a hypocrite about it. Even so, no matter how much Paul sometimes likes to pretend that the tea party is synonymous with libertarianism (for his own strategic reasons), various polls show that it just isn’t so. Tea partiers are more socially conservative than doctrinaire libertarians, they’re more likely to support entitlements, and they’re more traditionally Republican on defense/security issues. That’s not to say that they’re not becoming more libertarian — polls lately show Republicans are more skeptical about NSA surveillance than Democrats are, although that’s probably for partisan reasons — but they’re not all Ron Paul fans either.
After all, “It has been frequently remarked that it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force” (Federalist 1). Today, the resolution of that important question depends to an extraordinary degree on the vigor and good sense of American conservatism. For liberalism has unfortunately “progressed” beyond “that honorable determination which animates every votary of freedom, to rest all our political experiments on the capacity of mankind for self-government” (Federalist 39). It is the conservative task to vindicate that honorable determination.
This means conservatives have to be the bearers of the wisdom of the American political tradition. And if that tradition teaches anything, it is that we can have limited and energetic government. We can keep America safe and free. We can support reducing the size and limiting the scope of the federal government at home and we can reject weakening its ability to protect us from enemies abroad. We can balance the desiderata of national security and the requirements of constitutional liberty. We can believe the times call for a healthy dose of domestic libertarian populism and a renewed commitment to foreign policy strength and leadership. We can love American liberty and American greatness. We can be the land of the free and the home of the brave.
To put it more colloquially—yes, we can walk and chew gum at the same time.