Phone taps…drone strikes…what next?

by Matthew Dugan

Widener University Political Science Major

What’s next on the executives list of ways to limit our rights in the name of national security? Under Bush we got the Patriot Act which allowed the government to tap the phones of suspected terrorists. Obama renewed this act by using an Autopen. Now under President Obama we have drone strikes on American citizens. He has completely ignored due process in the defense of national security, much to the worry of Democrats and Republicans. Senator Rand Paul, son of 3 time presidential nominee Ron Paul, has spoken out against Obama’s use of drones. He has been quoted saying that the use of drones on US citizens is opening “Pandora’s box” and is a slippery slope to something potentially much worse.

Republican leaders in Congress are taking a stand against the increasing use of these drones on US soil, not just for national security either. The EPA has proposed using unmanned drones to survey farms in order to ensure that they are adhering to clean water procedures. This over reach of government power is worrying congressional Republicans. And they should be worried. These proposals should be worrying any American who is concerned with their privacy. Years ago Democrats were very concerned with the Patriot Act. This is something far more intrusive and should receive more opposition from both sides. I’m not a conspiracy theorist by any stretch of the imagination, and I dont believe for a second that Obama’s or the EPA’s intention is to spy on the American people or to erode our rights as citizens. However, this is a very slippery slope that could potentially lead to a severe decline of privacy in American society.

Closer to Compromise

by Amanda Raimer

Widener University American Government Student

Now that Obama has successfully won re-election his focus has become passing a budget and with no worries about trying to win another term he has set a hard line. He has said that we will reject any budget that does not raise the tax rates on income above $250,000. While it may seem that Obama is suffering from a subtle bout of “triumphalism” and is supercharged from winning the election, at the same time he admitted that there must be compromise and that the top tax rates may end up being lower than during the Clinton administration. The Republican Party has also stated that there needs to be a compromise from both sides. The problem is that both sides have a different idea about what a compromise would entail and how to reach it.

I think that even the process of admitting that there needs to be a compromise and both parties realizing that that they are going to have to give up parts of the budget that they feel strongly about shows that they have become more open to a reasonable compromise. Also, Obama’s deadline has also set a fire beneath Congress to get something settled before the start of the New Year. Obama has also admitted that while he is interested in trying to pass other policies on subjects such as immigration and climate change, he realizes that this will take time and the budget must be the focus at this point. While I’m not saying passing the budget has suddenly become a piece of cake, the more open attitudes of both parties along with the ultimatum set by Obama makes me think that a budget is much more likely to be passed this time around.

3 Keys to the 2012 Republican Convention

Three things to watch form at the GOP Convention this week:

1) Rebranding Romney

2) The Tone of the Convention

3) The Future Stars of the GOP – a number of governors are among the list of up and coming leaders of the party that will address the Convention: Chris Christie (NJ), Susana Martinez (NM), Bob McDonnell (VA), Scott Walker (WI), Nikki Haley (SC) and Bobby Jindal (LA).

Special thanks to Allyson Roberts of the Widener PR Department