Friday, August 30, 2013

Can Domestic Spying And The Big Brother Question Topple Oklahoma Republican James Lankford?


Tuesday, Blue America endorsed Tom Guild, the very grassroots progressive Democrat in Oklahoma City running an uphill battle against radical right extremist James Lankford. We decided to get involved with this race primarily because of Tom's strong pro-family positions on a broad array of economic justice issues and because of his courageousness in facing down the anti-democracy/anti-equality forces in his state. But there's another issue brewing in OK-05 as well, and it revolves around Lankford's vote in favor of the NSA and domestic spying.

Oklahoma voters have been trained to support Republican positions on the economic and fiscal issues, on race, on Choice, on the LGBT community, on the role of government. But when it comes to Big Brother... Oklahoma Republicans are split. To too many of them domestic spying just does not seem constitutional or American. And they've been giving Lankford a hard time for his votes in that arena. Now he's squirming and trying to change his position. But he can't change the vote he took a month ago on the Amash-Conyers Amendment. 94 Republicans-- including Oklahoma Republicans Markwayne Mullin and Jim Bridenstine-- had the courage to stand up against Boehner, Obama and the whole Establishment to vote yes. But not Lankford. We asked Tom Guild to tell us how he saw this controversy impacting his race. Tom:
Following a fierce debate on the limits of domestic spying, the U.S. House voted (217-205 July 24, 2013) to protect the national government’s collection of phone records and other data of U.S. citizens who are not suspected of terrorism or any crime. My opponent, Rep. James Lankford (R-OK), voted to defeat a proposal to restrict the government’s virtually unrestrained ongoing data collection.

Mr. Lankford and I disagree on this issue. He apparently is unconcerned about the National Security Agency violating the constitution prohibition against illegal searches and seizures. The proposal he voted against would have restricted data collection to cases where a suspected terrorist, not all Americans, is targeted. The NSA has gone well beyond the limits set by the Patriot Act, by pulling records that aren’t relevant to an investigation. This includes compiling phone records of every American, without even reasonable suspicion as a purported justification.

The proposal to rein in the NSA was an amendment to a $600 billion military spending bill. For someone who “hates” the federal government and allegedly “opposes” Big Brother government intrusions in Americans’ lives, Mr. Lankford is a fish out of water. We all want to keep our nation safe from terrorism and all threats. However, the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, and the fundamental right to privacy afforded to all Americans, should not be shredded in the process. In this instance, as in many other, the ends do not justify the means.
If you'd like to help replace James Lankford, a sieve for Boehner and Cantor and the corrupt DC Establishment with an independent minded Tom Guild, you can do that right here.

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