Last week, Glenn was surprised to learn that Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) had voted to reject an amendment that would defund the NSA program that collects information on American’s phone records. In addition to voting against the defunding measure, Rep. Bachmann actually argued on behalf of the NSA surveillance techniques. On radio this morning, Rep. Bachmann joined Glenn to defend her position. But in the aftermath of the interview, Glenn still found himself searching for clarity.
“So we just had Michele Bachmann on. I respect Michele, and I think she's a very intelligent woman. I think she's a patriot. I think she's a God centered woman… Her life is based on her God,” Glenn said. “And I have profound respect for her as a congressman and also as a person. She's a friend. However, I believe she is wildly miss guided on this NSA thing, and I don't know where the disconnect is.”
During the interview with Rep. Bachmann it became abundantly clear that she and Glenn agree on a lot of things. For starters, they both believe that the government has access to everything – all phone calls, all keystrokes. And they have the ability to collect and store all data, including health records, family relationships, and personal employment information.
Furthermore, Glenn and Rep. Bachmann agree that the incidents at the IRS and the AP are not “phony” scandals. They agree that the government has lost credibility and trustworthiness, and there is a lack of transparency and oversight to catch the lies and stop them quickly enough.
“That's what we agree on,” Glenn said. “Now, Michele, somehow or another, disconnects at that point.”
Glenn looks at the government’s ability to collect and store all of that personal information as an overreach of power that could easily spiral out-of-control, while Rep. Bachmann sees it as a means to an end in the name of national security. Glenn understands the importance of national security, but he believes the government is too power hungry to trust with such authority.
“I say, yes, well security, but just because you're currently a good guy, doesn't make you always a good guy – especially if you have already presented yourself as pretty much a criminal entity where you lie, cheat and steal, just to hold onto power,” Glenn said of the government.
In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, Glenn supported the PATRIOT Act, as many others did, because he wanted to ensure our national security. But his opinion began to change after the 2004 election.
“Now, you're going to say, ‘Well where were you under George Bush?’ Let me explain. I'll tell you right where I was,” Glenn said. “About 2006, 2004, 2006, I had a wake up call. It was right after the 2004 election. I thought something is not right here. I started doing my own homework. I started realizing, ‘Wait a minute, George Bush is not the guy who he says he is.’ I didn't understand what progressivism was at the time… And I didn't understand that because I was dumb enough to think we all believed in the Constitution.”
Instead of using the Constitution as an absolute authority, Glenn saw a pattern of the government picking and choosing to use the Constitution when it was convenient. “See, so I was somebody that had not enough information. And the reason why I've changed is because I have been given additional information,” he said.
“If you were somebody who said, Death Star, Nazi, Darth Vader, the silencing the press, you lemming, can you point to the information that has shown me that this situation since when you were ringing the bell and I was saying that you were a conspiracy nut,” Glenn asked. “Can you show me the information that made you pivot back to where I was, show me the information that says, ‘No, no, no, Glenn.’”
“So, tell me what changed your mind,” he continued. “And because I know the standard that you will hold me to, I certainly hope that your mind started to be changed during the Bush administration and just suddenly, magically changed as soon as your guy got in. And that's my biggest problem with Michele. We can agree on all of these things. We don't have to have the evidence that it is worse. We don't have to have the evidence that they are actually storing… stuff. I can point to those, but we don't even have to go that far.”
“Why exactly would we think this government agency was going to keep us safe,” Glenn asked. “Borrowing a George Bush line, ‘I had to destroy the free market system in order to save the free market system,’ how is it any different to say, ‘I had to destroy freedom, to be able to preserve freedom.’ It doesn't make any sense. It makes no sense whatsoever. No matter how big the threat is, you cannot destroy freedom to preserve freedom. You cannot destroy the free market system to save the free market system. Help me out… Let's not become everything we despise.”