Bruce Bartlett Asks: "What Would Keynes Do?"
Origins of Neo-Hooverism

National Journal Crashed-and-Burned Watch (Stuart Taylor Edition)

Why oh why can't we have a better press corps? We all ask this question. There is something that some of you all can do today. And I beg you to please do so.

If you subscribe to the National Journal, pick up the phone and cancel your subscription, telling whoever you speak to that you will not resume until Stuart Taylor, Jr., is fired from the National Journal's staff.

Outsourced to Matthew Yglesias:

Matthew Yglesias: A pretty stunning Stuart Taylor column in the National Journal:

[C]ivil libertarians’ outrage... the prospect of anyone in the U.S. being inappropriately wiretapped, surveilled, or data-mined seems to stir the viscera of many Bush critics more than the prospect of thousands of people being murdered by terrorists.... Obama will have a choice: He can give the Left what it wants and weaken our defenses. Or he can follow the advice of his more prudent advisers, recognize that Congress, the courts, and officials including Attorney General Michael Mukasey have already moved to end the worst Bush administration abuses — and kick the hard Left gently in the teeth....

Kicking the term “Bush critics” around is a huge red herring in this context. Bush is going to be out of office on January 20th. If anyone conducts illegal (or “inappropriate” to use Taylor’s newspeak term) surveillance of anyone, it’s going to be Barack Obama.... For years now the sensible center has engaged in the weird conceit that dislike of illegal violations of Americans’ constitutional liberties is some kind of odd symptom of possessing unduly vocifierous dislike of George W. Bush. But the issue, of course, extends far beyond Bush. The issue is whether or not we’re going to have meaningful limits on the power of the federal executive to conduct surveillance. Taylor thinks we should be so petrified of the risk of terrorist attack that we say “no.” After all, being illegally wiretapped never killed anybody....

We already saw in the middle of the twentieth century where unlimited surveillance power leads — to massive politically motivated abuse. And of course it’s true that nothing J. Edgar Hoover or Richard Nixon ever did with their unlimited surveillance power ever “seriously harmed” anybody in the way that being killed by a terrorist harms you. But it still wasn’t a good idea to let them do that...

I have weighed in on this before, in an overwrought tizzy:

Stuart Taylor, Jr. Is a Psychotic Creep: Stuart Taylor, Jr., attacks the judges who ruled against the Bush administration in the al-Marri case. If there is time to assemble a SWAT team to make a raid, there is time to get a warrant. Judges have telephones, and they answer them. Most people who salivate at the thought of torture and construct "ticking bomb" hypotheticals to make it seem reasonable work a little bit harder than Taylor to keep their hypotheticals from being completely and transparently silly. Not Stuart Taylor, Jr.:

OPENING ARGUMENT: A Judicial Overreaction To Bush Abuses? (06/18/2007): [T]heir additional, broader holding... that Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri and other suspected Qaeda terrorists arrested in the United States cannot be detained at all, no matter how dangerous, unless the government brings criminal charges against them within a week of arrest or is unable to deport them.... Judge Motz (joined by Judge Roger Gregory).... Motz's suggestion that the criminal-justice system can safely deal with such people is unconvincing... [the] system is ill-equipped to handle any future waves of Qaeda attacks on American soil.... [H]ow will the Motz ruling look in hindsight if and when Americans are mass-murdered by the thousands again, or if -- as seems all too possible -- Islamist terrorists get their hands on a nuclear device or lethal germs?

Suppose, for example, that after a series of bombings in Chicago, Washington, and Los Angeles, an anonymous tipster tells the FBI that five Saudi biology students have assembled a large supply of lethal anthrax in two New York City apartments and are planning a massive attack.... With no time to get a warrant, FBI agents break into the apartment, arrest two Saudis, and find lots of anthrax and Qaeda literature. Under Judge Motz's logic, both men would have to be released or deported unless criminally charged within a week -- but they could not be criminally charged because the warrantless search would clearly have been illegal...

I have no idea why the National Journal and other outlets that wish to be thought reputable continue to burn their reputations by printing Stuart Taylor, best known for on February 4, 2002 denouncing our NATO allies:

Opening Argument (02/04/2002): [European allies] already in an overwrought tizzy about the supposed mistreatment of the 158 detainees at Guantanamo Bay...