Monday, December 11, 2006

Double Standard

David Frum over at NRO has some great questions regarding the Princess Diana phone tapping story.

So the Clinton administration was tapping Princess Diana's phones. Repeat after me: the Clinton administration. And of course there was no warrant. The princess was not a suspected terrorist or enemy combatant. It's hard to imagine that Dodi Fayed was either, but who knows? Maybe he was the Scarlet Pimpernel of Islamo-fascism - an empty-headed fop by day, a desperate adventurer by night ... Still it seems improbable.

So question: when will we hear from all those valiant defenders of the civil liberties and personal privacy trampled underfoot by the fascist Bush Administration? Slate magazine, you who boldly dared to compare Republicans to Nazis - where are you? George Soros? Glenn Greenwald? Rob Reiner? Sidney Blumenthal? Al Franken? And will the mass media take their familiar ominous view of this outrageous intrustion? Will the editorial pages denounce the unilateralism and arrogance and high-handedness of the departed administration? I'm sure we're all breathless with uncertainty.

Of course these persons and others like them might reasonably answer that there might be many excellent reasons for the United States government to wish to monitor the activities of the ex-wife of the heir to the British throne. And they would have a point too. I'm sure somebody in the War Department kept tabs on Wallis Simpson, and if they didn't, they should have. Still you do have to wonder why such common sense seems to ebb and flow according to whether the president doing the wiretapping has a (D) or (R) after his name ....

Heck, this is the first place I've even seen Clinton's name mentioned. All of the headlines I've seen say, "U.S. taps Diana's phone!" or something like that. To tell you the truth, I couldn't possibly care less whether we tapped Diana's phone or not. That story is akin to the breathless adoration of Brad and Angelina for adopting foreign kids. What model parents! But...I digress. Frum certainly makes a good point regarding the difference in reaction from the Left. Not surprising, of course, just interesting.