I keep trying to listen to one of these automated push polls all the way through to the end, but I always get mad and hang up. It happened again Saturday. The poll asked if I intended to vote for Tester. Then it asked if I intended to vote for Burns. Then it asked if I would prefer lower or higher taxes.
OK so far. But the next question got to me. It was, approximately: "Do you believe that terrorists should have the same constitutional rights as American citizens?" (If anybody else who was called got the question down more exactly, please let me know.)
I said, "What do you mean?"
Of course, the automaton on the other end couldn't handle that. It said that the call would be terminated unless I answered "yes" or "no."
I shouted into the phone.
"Good!" I said. "Then stop asking such moronic questions."
So I never got to hear the rest of the poll. But what the heck? Suspected terrorists who are Americans obviously have the same constitutional rights as other Americans. You can't deprive someone of constitutional rights simply by hanging on a label. Only Americans who have been caught actually carrying out or plotting acts of terror, or who have actively taken up arms against the country, lose any constitutional rights.
Terrorists who aren't Americans don't have the same constitutional rights as American citizens, but then neither does, say, Tony Blair. So what's the point of the question?
Sounds to me like a subtle way of asking if I'm OK with torturing terror suspects and eliminating habeas corpus and locking people away forever with no charges, no trial and no lawyer. And no, I'm not OK with that. On that point, the push-poll recording was as dense as the president.