Rep. Poe's "Nation Of Laws"

October 15, 2009 9:19 am ET — Matt Finkelstein

In a speech on the House floor yesterday, Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) stated:

A nation cannot survive in freedom without just following the law.  The very future of any civilization rests upon the rule of law.  Now, we are a self-governing people.  That means we are a nation of laws.  We don't get to choose what laws we follow and what ones we don't.  That would mean complete chaos. 

Any idea what he was talking about?

Poe was railing against "amnesty" for undocumented immigrants, but based on his words alone "torture" would also have been a good guess.  Indeed, if it seems like you've heard Poe's argument before, that's probably because you have -- from progressives criticizing Bush-era interrogation policies.

So, what does Poe think about the previous administration's illegal interrogation program? Well, let's just say he's not quite as deferential toward the rule of law when it doesn't suit his political agenda:

Americans are alive because this individual was doused in water. Terrorists are not victims. The only victims are thousands of people who have died at the hands of these outlaws. The CIA interrogators have saved American lives by baptizing these criminals in water. And that's just the way it is.

In Poe's world, state-sponsored torture is just like Baptism, but amnesty would destroy American freedom. 

Watch it: