(Host) One of the most conservative members of the U.S. House over the past 10 years is teaming up with Congressman Bernie Sanders to strongly oppose some of the anti terrorism policies of the Bush Administration.
Georgia Rep. Bob Barr was elected to Congress as part of the Republican revolution of 1994 and served 8 years in the House.
On Wednesday, Sanders and Barr held a town hall meeting in Montpelier to oppose the reauthorization of the Patriot Act and the President’s anti terrorism domestic surveillance programs.
Barr says he’s very concerned that President Bush is expanding the powers of his office at the expense of individual civil liberties.
He argues that this isn’t a partisan issue – he describes it as an American issue and he says it may be necessary to vote Republicans out of office to defend a citizen’s right to privacy.
(Barr) “The only way for people in Washington of either party to stand up and take note and do something about this very dangerous move in the direction of single branch government is for people at the grassroots to let them know that we care about these issues and we are going to hold them accountable. Now if that means changing the party control of the Congress I put the Constitutional principle ahead of party.”
(Host) Defenders of the Bush Administration say laws like the Patriot Act are needed because this country is at war against terrorism.
Barr isn’t buying that argument.
(Barr) “I don’t think they have any argument whatsoever. From one standpoint we are not at war in the sense that the Constitution contemplated being at war. There has been no declaration of war. And the way I look at it simply, one person saying so does not make it so.”
(Host) Barr says most conservatives in Congress aren’t standing up to oppose President Bush on these issues because they don’t want to be seen as taking an action that could weaken the President.