Bob Barr

Normally these columns highlight the fact that something bad has occurred in American politics; in recent years, something usually relating to federal spending, privacy, government surveillance, loss of individual liberty, erosion of Second Amendment rights -- come to think of it, most everything this Administration does.

This week, however, something’s different. There’s a slight whiff of optimism in the air; not a lot mind you, but enough to justify sitting up and taking notice. After years of being buffeted by government’s relentless drive to increase its own size, scope, cost and power, there is some evidence the tide may be turning; or if not turning, at least beginning to negotiate such a maneuver.

Last week in this column, I wrote about a plan by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (commonly known as “ICE,” a branch of the Department of Homeland Security) to build a national database for tracking license plates, using data collected mostly by local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. Several other notable voices in the liberty movement also covered this dangerous program, helping to rally the voices of millions of Americans against its implementation. Within days of first being proposed, DHS announced it was scrapping the program.

“The solicitation, which was posted without the awareness of ICE leadership, has been cancelled,” said ICE spokeswoman Gillian Christensen with a straight face. Removing the veneer of bureaucratese that invariably disguises reality when government officials speak, what she really said was, “We’re sorry we got caught.”

Bob Barr

Bob Barr represented Georgia’s 7th district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 -2003 and as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia from 1986-1990.