To drone or not to drone? President Barack Obama recently demonstrated his most valuable political talent – fooling liberals into supporting Bush policies under another name. Obama’s latest soliloquy on his personal struggles in justifying his actions as president hit just the right tone for every establishment apologist liberal. Yes, Obama was carrying on Bush Administration policies and in some cases introducing even worse violations of civil rights, but he is really struggling with it. He is really giving it a lot of thought. And really, isn’t that what matters?
Before the speech previous liberal watchdogs became Obama Administration lapdogs when it broke that Obama’s DOJ was spying on journalists. Think Progress decided government spying was OK once a Democrat did it while Media Matters tried to dishonestly re-frame the debate. And now after Obama does his Hamlet routine, the commissars are at it again.
The New York Times, seemingly channeling Judith Miller after getting an exclusive, claimed Obama was acting to “curtail drones” despite this is no way the case. Nowhere in his speech did he offer any new limitations on drone strikes let alone, as a Times editorial later said, propose an end to perpetual war – it didn’t happen. Obama simply thought out loud about the consequences of his belligerence. He thought about the consequences of drone strikes on Americans, torture at Gitmo, and the degradation perpetual war has on open societies. President Obama never said he would change his policies, he just acknowledged the validity of the criticism of his policies. Admitting flaws in your policy and changing your policy are two very different things.
But the real issue is the consequences of knee-jerk liberals offering support to the Bush/Obama policies. The rank partisan hypocrisy shown by groups and individuals that opposed Bush’s application of the same policies now supporting Obama is beyond shameful – it’s dangerous. When the next Republican president begins assassinating Americans without a trial or spying on journalists what exactly are these people supposed to say? “We oppose this now because you have an R next to your name.” Not exactly convincing. The liberals accepting and promoting Obama’s extreme executive power policies are destroying any credibility they will have in opposing a future conservative administration’s application of that authority.
What does this mean? It means mobilizing opposition to future executive branch power grabs or rolling back current ones becomes considerably more difficult. It means perpetual war and the degenerating effects it has on an increasingly less free society will continue. And it means that the next Bush will be inoculated from a good deal of criticism because potential dissenters have de-legitimized themselves by supporting violations of civil liberties and international law today.
Liberal hypocrisy isn’t free. We are going to be paying for it for years to come.
Photo by US Airforce under Public Domain.