But, unlike some of my liberal friends, I don’t think the answer would be much different if the phrase “without a warrant” had been included. The key missing word was “illegally.”
The idea that we need to protect our privacy even in the face of the terrorist threat is almost certainly restricted to a minority, though a minority that includes almost everyone you know. So if the question is framed in terms of security v. privacy or liberty, it’s a losing issue for the Democrats, just as Mickey Kaus and Glenn Reynolds hope it will be.
But the idea that the President should obey the law enjoys very widespread support. That’s the frame Democrats, and friends of civil liberty, should try to put around this issue. Just keep repeating “a government of laws, not of men.”
One blogger — I’d be grateful for a pointer to a link — made another point I’d like to hear more of. The ability to spy on domestic conversations is obviously abusable. And we already know that Tom DeLay tricked the Department of Homeland Security into tracking the whereabouts of Texas Democratic legislators who had fled to Oklahoma to try to block a quorum for DeLay’s redistricting scheme. And we know that DeLay got away with it. So if the question on the table is “Will the Republicans abuse domestic-security powers for political purposes?” we know that the answer is “Yes.”