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Monday, June 15, 2009

Obama Eases Real ID; Paranoid Right-Wing Worldview Continues to Crumble

The radical right-wingers have been trying to convince us that President Obama is some closet socialist or fascist with a master plan to take away all of our liberties.

Cynical paranoid meme-spewing, meet reality: The Obama Administration is scaling back the Real ID law, a Bush-era law that caught heck from privacy advocates and numerous state governors:

...the Bush administration struggled to implement the 2005 law, delaying the program repeatedly as states called it an unfunded mandate and privacy advocates warned it would create a de facto national ID.

As governor of Arizona, [Homeland Security Secretary Janet] Napolitano called Real ID "feel-good" legislation not worth the cost, and she signed a state law last year opting out of the plan. As secretary, she said a substitute would "accomplish some of the same goals."

Eleven states have refused to participate in Real ID despite a Dec. 31 federal deadline [Spencer S. Hsu, "Administration Plans to Scale Back Real ID Law," Washington Post, 2009.06.15].

The replacement plan, Pass ID, gets rid of at least some of the unfunded mandates in Real ID and includes stronger privacy protections, although folks at the ACLU and the Cato Institute still say it's too much of an infringement on individual rights. I'd agree with them; the government might do better to back away completely from the fear rhetoric and leave states alone on drivers licenses. But Pass ID serves as yet another example that the wild-eyed anti-Obama conspiracy theorists have nothing to fear but fear itself.

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