Chaffetz should apologize, not swagger

  • Article by: JILL BURCUM
  • Updated: January 29, 2010 - 5:56 PM

"GOP freshman stands up to Obama over broken promises,’’ read one breathless headline about an exchange between the president and Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, on Friday.

The confrontation at a Republican party retreat had to be a dream come true for  the new congressman. There he was, just into his first-term in Congress, mixing it up with the Big Guy during an event broadcast live on at least one outlet. During the exchange, Chaffetz complained that the president had labeled his party as "obstructionists" and also carped that the president hadn’t taken the congressman up on his offer to sit down and go through the health care legislation line by line.

You could almost hear the bloggers of a certain political persuasion furiously tapping on their keyboards to canonize Chaffetz, no doubt writing his name next to such freedom fighters as Minnesota’s Sixth District congresswoman Michele Bachmann.

But here’s what the news coverage didn’t mention. Chaffetz is the guy leading the legislative charge against full-body scanners, the technology that could have potentially detected the explosive material that almost brought down a Northwest Airlines flight on Christmas Day. Even after the attempted terrorist attack, Chaffetz was still defending his bill, which would ban the scanners as a primary and mandatory security screening. His concern? He believes it’s an invasion of privacy and believes the technology would allow transportation officials to see his wife and children naked. He has referred to the images as "TSA porn."

Obama didn’t demand an explanation from Chaffetz about this during their exchange, but he should have. The Christmas Day near-miss showed the nation is still vulnerable to terrorists. Full-body scanners are effective and a much-needed line of defense. Chaffetz’s bill, if enacted, would put everyone who flies at risk. It’s not only obstructionism, it’s dangerous. Chaffetz should be apologizing for the threat to national security his bill poses — not swaggering before the cameras challenging the president.

 

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