Obama Continues Bush-Era Extremism on Liberties, Secrecy

Dan Gillmor is a BoingBoing guest-blogger.

secret dg15.jpgThe Obama administration has undone a few of the Bush administration's worst policies, true. Yet when it comes to Obama's increasingly clear disdain for some core civil liberties and his administration's penchant for secrecy despite cheerful rhetoric to the contrary, Salon's Glenn Greenwald arrives at a dismal -- but sadly, logical -- conclusion:   

After many years of anger and complaint and outrage directed at the Bush administration for its civil liberties assaults and executive power abuses, the last thing most people want to do is conclude that the Obama administration is continuing the core of that extremism. That was why the flurry of executive orders in the first week produced such praise: those who are devoted to civil liberties were, from the start, eager to believe that things would be different, and most want to do everything but conclude that the only improvements that will be made by Obama will be cosmetic ones.

But it's becoming increasingly difficult for honest commentators to do anything else but conclude that. After all, these are the exact policies which, when embraced by Bush, produced such intense protest over the last eight years.  Nobody is complaining because the Obama administration is acting too slowly in renouncing these policies. The opposite is true:   they are rushing to actively embrace them.  And while there are still opportunities to meaningfully depart from the extremism of the last eight years, the evidence appears more and more compelling that, at least in these areas, there is little or no real intent on the part of the Obama administration to do so.

Democrats in Congress and much of the political left have been silent or nearly so despite the evidence. You expect cowardice from Congress, which spent the Bush presidency in a perpetual bent-over posture. The Netroots folks who did so much to elect Obama should be screaming bloody murder by now. Too few are even slightly audible. A shame.

Maybe the Republicans will re-discover civil liberties at some point. Nah.

(photo via Flickr by Marcin Wichary)

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