September 29, 2011 11:24AM

Obama and Civil Liberties

Jonathan Turley has a terrific column about President Obama and his deplorable record on civil liberties. Here’s an excerpt:

Obama failed to close Guantanamo Bay as promised. He continued warrantless surveillance and military tribunals that denied defendants basic rights. He asserted the right to kill U.S. citizens he views as terrorists. His administration has fought to block dozens of public‐​interest lawsuits challenging privacy violations and presidential abuses.

But perhaps the biggest blow to civil liberties is what he has done to the movement itself. It has quieted to a whisper, muted by the power of Obama’s personality and his symbolic importance as the first black president as well as the liberal who replaced Bush. Indeed, only a few days after he took office, the Nobel committee awarded him the Nobel Peace Prize without his having a single accomplishment to his credit beyond being elected. Many Democrats were, and remain, enraptured.

This was not all that surprising to me. As soon as Obama started making actual decisions (instead of just speeches), one could see he where he was going. Joe Biden for Vice President? Rahm Emanuel for chief of staff? Civil liberties was never going to be a priority. Jonathan Turley is right that beyond Obama’s own misguided policies, the worst thing is that he has devastated not only the movement for civil liberties but also the anti‐​war movement. Oh well, at least Obama has put our financial house in order!