From a liberal dystopian perspective, the new President is beginning to look a lot like the old one, when it comes to secrecy and weakening constitutional precepts of due process. Candidate Obama pledged a restoration of civil liberty and a return to the rule of law. But despite rhetoric on the campaign trail, civil libertarians point out in key areas; the new President is scoring even lower marks than George Bush when it comes to defending civil liberty and due process.
While the administration continues to claim it is committed to â€œreviewingâ€ on a case by case basis the prior administrations denial of due process. Those with law degrees who know how to read the fine print, point out Barack Obamaâ€™s justice department, actually agrees George Bush acted appropriately in suspending habeas corpus for the duration of a war on terror that will never end. But it gets worse, This President claims the prior administration failed to exercise the full power of executive authority and would like the courts to acknowledge, for the record. Barack Obama as President Posses the power to arrest and detain anyone, anywhere at any time without charge or reason in perpetuity. Oh by the way, did we mention the current President is a Harvard educated lawyer who spent twelve years as a professor of constitutional law?
President Obama claims the plenary power to suspend parts of the constitution related to your rights, based on an obscure and universally repudiated bit of legal hocus pocus called the theory of the unitary executive. I say hocus pocus because the power does not exist and every President since Honest Abe has been called on it when they trot it out as justification for breaking the law. But provided he avoids the temptation to detain his political critics, President Obama like FDR and Lincoln, will be long out of office before the courts rule against him.
Which is why Presidentâ€™s who develop the habit of ignoring the constitution when it serves a political purpose, tend to stop taking calls or advice from supporters who become critical. When George Bush was President, MSNBC became the network to watch if you were interested in discovering the multiplicity of ways in which a sitting President can on a daily basis, abuse the constitution and get away with it. In the opinion of many respected legal scholars, He and the senior members of his administration were little better than unindicted war criminals.
But since the election of Barack Obama the folks over at MSNBC have decided civil liberty and due process, while worth the occasional muted mention are really issues that â€œdistractâ€ the President from the task of fixing the mess George Bush created. So the man whose focus in the long democratic primary race was to no little degree based on the premise he alone stood firm against the rush to war, is rushing to deploy troops. The fellow who swore again and again during the general election a vote for him was a down payment on a government dedicated to openness and transparency, is becoming the master of obfuscation and beltway pettifogging.
Stark reality acknowledges that few Americans actually give a ratâ€™s ass about the civil rights of others or the dead children of other parents sent to fight wars based on lies in faraway places. But politics and elections are all about perception, It is becoming evident the impression Barack Obama sought to cultivate amongst a small block of voters whoâ€™s core issue was civil liberty and the rule of law was simply political rhetoric, But the inherent risk in professing rhetoric as future policy is the depth of blowback you face during the next election cycle.
While itâ€™s true the GOP is currently wandering aimlessly in the political wilderness unable to colace around a single message or party elder, Come the 2012 midterms if President Obama continues to pursue the repudiated politics and policies of George Bush the republicans will retake the congress and his eventual legacy in legislative terms will remind people more of Bill Clinton than Abraham Lincoln.
Thatâ€™s my view, yours may be different