If you still think Sherwood Boehlert is a moderate Republican, then I'd like you to explain why Representative Boehlert was not with the 13 Republicans in the House of Representatives who crossed party lines this week to vote against the renewal of the Patriot Act.
The revelations of the last year have brought us a clear understanding of the standing of the Patriot Act. It turns out that it wasn't the lack of the Patriot Act that enabled the attacks of September 11 to take place, but a combination of neglectful acts. The information was available, and had made its way to the White House, but the Bush Administration didn't take it seriously enough.
We also have found out that that Bush White House is not capable of using its power in legal and constitutional ways. It isn't just the military's program to spy on anti-war protesters. It isn't just the FBI's use of Patriot Act powers against environmental activists. It isn't just the National Security Agency program to spy against Americans by listening into their telephone calls and gathering up their emails without even the attempt to get a legally required search warrant. It isn't just the attempt to grab information out of the Google search database. It isn't just the revival of the Total Information Awareness program to pool information about the legal, private activities of law-abiding Americans into a gigantic database. It isn't about the many additional documented abuses of domestic surveillance power by the FBI.
It's about the combination of all these things. The Bush White House has proven over and over again that it does not deserve the trust inherent in expanded powers to spy against Americans on American soil.
Yet, Sherwood Boehlert is happily ignoring all these problems, and has voted to reward the Bush White House with continued permission to have special powers to spy on Americans. That's what the Patriot Act renewal amounts to - a reward for Bush's disregard for the law, disrespect for the Constitution, and disdain for the privacy of average American citizens.
13 Republicans agreed with what Senator Russ Feingold said about the Patriot Act renewal - that the so-called reforms to the Patriot Act were nothing but a fig leaf to cover up for continued abuses. Sherwood Boehlert didn't stand with them. Congressman Boehlert voted with Tom DeLay.
In a recent letter to Congress, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales hinted that there are even more secret programs to spy against Americans than the Bush Administration has yet admitted to. In such circumstances, it is unconscionable to vote to suppport special expanded spying powers for George W. Bush.
That's why it would be a grave mistake to re-elect Sherwood Boehlert to Congress this year.