Here is what welcoming an open public debate looks like. From Reuters:
Of course, before you get all giggly and Stand With Joe over Representative Barton, he's also this guy:House rejects bid to curb spy agency data collection(Reuters) - A U.S. spy program that sweeps up vast amounts of electronic communications survived a legislative challenge in the House of Representatives on Wednesday, the first attempt to curb the data gathering since former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed details of its scope.The House of Representatives voted 217-205 to defeat an amendment to the defense appropriations bill that would have limited the National Security Agency's ability to collect electronic information, including phone call records.Opposition to government surveillance has created an unlikely alliance of libertarian Republicans and some Democrats in Congress, The House vote split the parties, with 94 Republicans in favor and 134 against, while 111 Democrats supported the amendment and 83 opposed it....Republican Representative Tom Cotton, who endorsed the NSA program, described the "metadata" being collected as essentially a five-column spreadsheet containing the number called, the number of the caller, the date, the time and the duration of call."This program has stopped dozens of terrorist attacks," Cotton said. "That means it has saved untold American lives. This amendment ... does not limit the program, it does not modify it, it does not constrain the program, it ends the program. It blows it up."Cotton, a former Army captain who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, said a comprehensive set of phone call records was needed in order for the program to work."If you want to search for a needle in a haystack, you have to have the haystack. This (amendment) takes a leaf-blower and blows away they entire haystack. You will not have this program if this amendment passes."'SIMPLY WRONG'But Amash, a conservative Republican, and other supporters of the amendment said the fundamental issue was whether the U.S. government had the right to collect and retain the personal communications data of American citizens."Government's gone too far in the name of security," said Representative Ted Poe, a Texas Republican. "Rein in government invasion, no more dragnet operations, get a specific warrant based on probable cause or stay out of our lives."Representative Joe Barton, another Texas Republican, said the issue was not whether the NSA was sincere or careful in collecting data for use in anti-terrorism operations."It is (about) whether they have the right to collect the data in the first place on every phone call on every American every day," he said, noting that the law only allowed collection of relevant data. "In the NSA's interpretation of that, relevant is all data, all the time. That's simply wrong."...
But good on him for stating his case, plain and clear.
So that's what welcoming an open public debate looks like.
Here is what welcoming an open public debate does not look like (From Charles Pierce):
This is the argument that the White House is making to try and get Democrats not to support Amash's Hail Mary."In light of the recent unauthorized disclosures, the President has said that he welcomes a debate about how best to simultaneously safeguard both our national security and the privacy of our citizens...However, we oppose the current effort in the House to hastily dismantle one of our Intelligence Community's counterterrorism tools. This blunt approach is not the product of an informed, open, or deliberative process."The hell you say.A bill is being proposed and debated in a public session of the national legislature and that's not an "informed, open, or deliberative process." As opposed to what, a secret program, validated on the basis of secret evidence, by a secret court? Hell, the Amash bill is the only informed, open and deliberative thing about this whole mess. If you're welcoming a debate, then welcome the debate. If you don't, then don't. But don't throw out laughable statements like this one. You sound like a bunch of East Germans.And, once again, his mad international PR skillz aside, if Edward Snowden had not done what he did, the debate is not happening.
Here is what welcoming an open public debate also does not look like:
All we ever wanted was to get this into the open so that it could be debated.Terrific! Could not agree more! Of course by definition in a "debate" you're going to have people who disagree with you on some things. Maybe a little and maybe more than a little. Maybe over the boundaries of the argument. Maybe over the importance of this issue relative to other important issues. Maybe over the scope of the plan you're proposing to meet the need you have identified. Maybe they believe the disadvantages of your plan outweigh its advantages. You understand that, right?Hitler!!!