Defending Obama by changing the subject

Someone “responded” to my last letter to the editor questioning Barack Obama’s record on civil liberties by, well, not addressing a single point I raised in my letter.

What was interesting is that the response dismissed my entire argument as “a snarky little letter” and focused on my closing line: “How’s that hope & change workin’ out for ya?” (On a side note, it’s interesting that is always tied to Sarah Palin, when the phrase I use comes from Rush Limbaugh. Palin’s phrase is slightly different.) So let me break it down:

  • Questioning why President George W. Bush is not actively supporting Mitt Romney is irrelevant to Obama’s record on civil liberties.
  • Complaining about the economic downturn that was in place when Obama took office is irrelevant to Obama’s record on civil liberties.
  • Complaining about the Republican House (ignoring the fact that Obama had huge majorities in both houses when he took office and could do anything he wanted) is irrelevant to Obama’s record on civil liberties.

The fact of the matter is that, after years of rhetoric about Bush’s record on civil liberties from Democrats and promises by Obama himself to be more respectful of civil liberties, Obama made it worse. Not only has Obama re-authorized the Patriot Act, but he has also increased the use of drone strikes, including one to assassinate an American citizen who had not even been charged with a crime.

In the comments for my letter, it was suggested that republicans would have blocked a significant overhaul of the Patriot Act. Again ignoring the fact that Obama had huge majorities in both houses for the first two years of his time in office, Obama did not need to do anything to get rid of the Patriot Act. He simply had to do nothing at all. Yet the Democratic Congress passed and the Obama signed an extension of it.

But it does not end there. Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on New Year’s Eve 2011. The American Civil Liberties Union points out that this law codifies “indefinite military detention without charge or trial into law for the first time in American history.” What happened to the promise of more respect for civil liberties?

The question I asked three weeks ago remains unanswered. How’s that hope & change workin’ out for ya?