It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that many of the most zealous advocates of voter ID laws object to anything that remotely smells like a national ID card. Voter ID laws are designed to harass and discourage old people, young people and minorities inclined to vote Democratic in states with Republican-dominated legislatures. National ID cards like the one approved under the Real ID Act of 2005 mandate another layer of federal regulation for state driver’s licenses and personal identification cards. By 2014, each state must issue driver’s licenses and ID cards that meet minimum federal requirements to be compliant with the law. The new cards will contain tamper-proof information and, eventually, biometric technology. All citizens, not just Democrats, would be hassled by the implementation of this law. The burden and expense of providing required documents just to apply for Real ID would be universal. If you want to catch a commercial flight, gain access to a nuclear facility or enter a federal building, Real ID cards will eventually be the only acceptable form of identification.
As you can imagine, a bipartisan coalition of political interests filed lawsuits to block Real ID. State legislatures passed laws blocking cooperation. Civil liberties organizations objected to it as an unwarranted invasion of privacy by the federal government that consolidates private information. Libertarians and conservatives argued that the loss of liberty, the billions it will cost to implement it and the red tape required to comply with the law violated the principal of limited government; they joined groups like the ACLU and the NRA in challenging the legislation as an unconscionable overreach by the Congress.
Predictably, Christian conservatives sounded the alarm that the Antichrist himself was at the door with a high-tech “666” branding iron in the form of Real ID. But it wasn’t the Antichrist pushing for a national identity card — it was President George W. Bush. The 43rd president was determined to keep Americans safe by preventing terrorists from easily entering the country and obtaining driver’s licenses.