We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
For Libertarians and traditional conservatives, any expansion of power by any of the three branches of government is seen as a threat to freedom.
And both would agree that the main threat to freedom is not specifically an imperial presidency, but an imperial Federal Government - a condition which Leftists and Democrats have pursued since FDR. Why a threat? Because it is too far from the people, too far from local daily life, and too arrogant.
When it comes to the national defense, however, things are different. Libertarians and conservatives tend to view national defense as one of the genuine constitutional functions of the Feds, while the Liberals seek to de-fang America for reasons of their own. It's the one area in which they wish to see the Federal Govt weakened.
I happen to believe that anything Bush has done to monitor cell calls was a good idea, and that he would have been tarred and feathered and chased out of the country if he had neglected such a basic defensive tactic. And has nothing to do with tyranny. And any liberal brouhaha about it is pure opportunistic partisanship, hysterical scare tactics, and a pile of BS - which they know but won't admit. Because were they in power, they would have done the same thing. Al Gore wants to be Secretary of State. Or any paying job - he's been living off his inheritance and tobacco farm and trust fund - right? No manly pride in that. Too similar to Ted the Swimmer.
Paul Craig Roberts has written a thoughtful but, in the end, hysterical piece on this subject here. Off this point, but along the same lines, our Yankee neighbor Tom Bowler clarifies some political differences here.