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Frank Rich: "Vast Middle Seems To Be Indifferent" To The NSA Surveillance Program

FRANK RICH: Yeah, I mean, look, there are people who care very much including me and you and also people on the right like Libertarians like Rand Paul, who is outraged by this. But the vast middle seems to be indifferent. In part, I think because we're so used to surrendering our privacy, whether it be to social networking or commerce sites or, you know, anything we do. I read in this new book "Big Data" that when a 140-character Twitter message, a tweet, there are 33 different pieces of information that you're surrendering in addition to the actual content of --

MADDOW: So the tweet's only 144 characters -- 140 characters, but there's 33 pieces of metadata associated with it?

RICH: Yes, and so we're used to it. We're inured to it, particularly people under 50 are. Polls how people under 50 people don't tend to follow the Snowden story. It doesn't mean it's not a real issue, it is, but I think you see it reflected in the political environment in Washington. Who is -- take James Clapper who lied and really should be out, in my view. Also he's such an incompetent liar you think, why is this guy running national intelligence? At least a spy should be least a spy should be able to lie effectively.

But anyway, who's calling -- who in Washington is calling for him to be out? Not the Democratic leadership or the Republican leadership. And indeed, I think whether it's Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid or Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, they're all sort of on the same page: Snowden's sort of the villain, he should be apprehended. And the big issues are being lost. Indeed, they're being lost under the shadow of Snowden, who's a fascinating character.


RICH: The only people who seem concerned are, as you mentioned, Udall and Wyden, on the Democratic side, Paul on the Republican side. You'd think the Republican party which is so angry about intrusive government and Obamacare and the supposed IRS scandal, even if it's sort of a non-scandal, you'd think that they would care. But no, there's just absolute dead silence. And I think that reflects the public to some extent. I don't think the public is terribly engaged by this issue. Obviously, some people are. Civil libertarians are. There's a base in the Democratic party that is, and there's a libertarian part of the Republican party. But I think that's it.

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