Crucial or Negligible?

Writing in Salon about the Ashcroft road show promoting the virtues of the PATRIOT Act, Michelle Goldberg makes a good point:

In the face of such opposition, Ashcroft has taken to the road to try to convince America of two somewhat contradictory propositions. On the one hand, he argues that without the PATRIOT Act, the government cannot protect Americans from terrorist atrocities. On the other, he insists that the PATRIOT Act contains only “modest, incremental changes in the law.” Apparently, the PATRIOT Act is both crucial and negligible.

Ashcroft’s tour is part of the same effort to improve the Act’s image as the website, which I blogged about here.