Beyond Troubling: The Obama Administration and Habeas Corpus

Like Rafe, I am concerned because “[o]ne of the biggest reasons I supported Barack Obama was the stand he was willing to take as a candidate against the worst excesses of the Bush administration in prosecuting the war on terror. As such, it is incredibly disappointing to me to see that as President, he is not living up to the principles he espoused before the election.”

I’m not quite ready to queue up Same Old Wine, but I’m feeling a bit tarnished.

Then there’s this from Glenn Greenwald at Salon:

An emerging progressive consensus on Obama’s executive power and secrecy abuses
It is becoming increasingly difficult for honest Obama supporters to dismiss away or even minimize these criticisms and, especially, to malign the motives of critics. After all, the Obama DOJ’s embrace of many (though by no means all) of the most radical and extremist Bush/Cheney positions — and the contradictions between Obama’s campaign claims and his actions as President — are now so glaring and severe that the harshest denunciations of Obama’s actions are coming from those who, during the Bush years, were held up by liberals and by Obama supporters as the most trustworthy and praiseworthy authorities on these matters.

Furrfu! Gotta pass that health care reform or it’s gonna feel like a wash.

Hillary Clinton vs Barack Obama on civil liberties

Rafé linked this and it’s most worthwhile. IMO.

If you’ve been looking for an area of policy where there Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama differ substantially, you should read today’s op-ed by Jeffrey Rosen on civil liberties [rc3.org].

The bottom line is essentially nearly anyone would be better than Bush43. Still, having said that, there are some differences between Clinton and Obama. Rosen concludes his op–ed with:

She [Hillary Clinton –ed.] made an eloquent speech in the Senate opposing the suspension of habeas corpus. And she has emphasized the importance of Congressional oversight of executive power, promising as president that she would consider surrendering some of the authority that President Bush unilaterally seized. Clearly, she would be immeasurably better on civil liberties than George W. Bush.

But Mrs. Clinton’s approach to the subject is that of a top-down progressive. Her speeches about privacy suggest that she has boundless faith in the power of experts, judges and ultimately herself to strike the correct balance between privacy and security.

Moreover, the core constituency that cares intensely about civil liberties is a distinct minority — some polls estimate it as around 20 percent of the electorate. A polarizing president, who played primarily to the Democratic base and refused to reach out to conservative libertarians, would have no hope of striking a sensible balance between privacy and security.

Mr. Obama, by contrast, is not a knee-jerk believer in the old-fashioned liberal view that courts should unilaterally impose civil liberties protections on unwilling majorities. His formative experiences have involved arguing for civil liberties in the legislatures rather than courts, and winning over skeptics on both sides of the political spectrum, as he won over the police and prosecutors in Chicago.

As a former grass-roots activist, Mr. Obama understands the need to make the case for civil liberties in the political arena. At a time when America’s civil-libertarian tradition has been embattled at home and abroad, his candidacy offers a unique opportunity.