David Harsanyi

I'm thrilled so many of you are causing a commotion over the creepy, occasionally amorous and always intrusive policies of the Transportation Security Administration. It's about time. All this nonsense about our patriotic duty to surrender the Fourth Amendment to (illusory) safety deserves all the scorn Americans can muster.

But setting aside the indignities of flying, this debate also helpfully illustrates the hypocrisy of partisans.

Not so long ago, the left positioned itself as the defender of innocents against the Bush administration's war on terror, which was "just one tiny step away from fascism." The Constitution was sacred, especially when we faced danger -- and even more especially when a Republican was president.

It was not long ago that Democrats were regularly quoting Thomas Jefferson, who never actually said that "those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." (Every nanny-state initiative in existence exempted, of course.)

Yet today, left-wing pundits, typified by syndicated liberal columnist Ruth Marcus, implore Americans to grow up, become better automatons, get moving and submit. The admired liberal columnist Michael Kinsley first offers us tales of TSA kindheartedness and then tells us the same.

Many left-wing publications that cautioned us against George W. Bush's ham-fisted intrusions now defend Barack Obama's ham-fisted intrusions.

We all remember when Democrats passed the Airline Passenger Bill of Rights Act (with bipartisan support) to ensure that travelers have a right to, among other things, sit in a plane with a "comfortable cabin temperature." Well, how about the right not to have a stranger prying into your granddad's testicular area? Or how about making sure that the actual Bill of Rights is afforded at least the same deference as the bill of rights for passengers?

At least read the old guy his Miranda warning before confiscating his denture cream and bottle of water. Even real terrorists are given that much.

Some folks claim that this whole episode is just concocted outrage in an effort to help institute profiling at airports. We can agree that profiling is ugly, illegal, un-American and unconstitutional, darn it. Especially when you're profiling every passenger in the entire country as a potential terrorist.

Now, certainly, not every Democrat is insincere on the topic, nor is everyone on the right innocent.


David Harsanyi

David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist and the author of "The People Have Spoken (and They Are Wrong): The Case Against Democracy." Follow him on Twitter @davidharsanyi.