Democratic Underground

Why Republicans Suddenly Love the Federal Government
November 5, 2001
by Ted Westervelt

Printer-friendly version of this article Tell a friend about this article Discuss this article

The national security system in airports proved to be an abysmal failure on September 11.

If the Republican US House gets it's way, it will be fundamentally changed. We're going to pay a five dollar surcharge on a round trip ticket to the federal government so that they can pay the same foreign companies to do it.

After a six year uninterrupted barrage of attacks on the federal government of the United States, and weeks of delay in taking ap a bill on improving national security at commercial airports, the Republican leadership in the US House of Representatives suddenly supported placing the word "federal" in a critical piece of legislation. After bipartisan security bill that would have placed this newly critical national security component firmly in the hands of federal law enforcement passed the US Senate 100 - 0, a last ditch effort was needed to garner votes for the Republican plan to continue to use private security agents in our nations commercial airports.

They needed to make it look like a federal government program.

In addition to loading their bill up with anti-litigation and other typical big business goodies, the vehemently anti-federal government Republican leadership swayed a few final and key members in this razor thin margin by giving them a piece of partisan campaign rhetoric. Foreign owned companies will still staff airports with national security personnel, and still set pay and other policies - but Republicans could call it a federal government program for purposes of their re-election campaigns.

And so the unanimous bipartisan Senate bill to fully federalize the program was defeated by 4 votes.

What first appears to be a little name change has opened a brave new world - foreign companies running parts of the national security apparatus in order to save money.

Ride with me, for a moment, on a voyage to the full implementation of their logic.

The "evil" federal government whose agents put their lives on the line every day protecting Members of Congress and the President cost taxpayers a lot of money too. Wouldn't it be easier just to let a private company do it? After all, it the President was assassinated, or Congress was infiltrated by terrorists, at least these private companies could fire the people responsible. Hey, if we contracted our armed forces out to foreign nationals, we would worry a lot less about sending them into Afghanistan........

It's nothing less than a Roman tragedy. Contracting out the legions in an effort to adhere to political dogma.