Jacob Sullum

Six months after capitulating on FISA, Obama endorsed the Bush administration's illegal use of money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to bail out GM and Chrysler. Although Congress created TARP to shore up "financial institutions," Obama deemed the diversion to car manufacturers "a necessary step to help avoid a collapse in our auto industry." As president, Obama has gone even further, using TARP as a pretext to take over GM and force a merger of Chysler with Fiat.

Obama also has continued George W. Bush's lawless ways by preserving "extraordinary rendition," the practice of sending terrorism suspects to foreign countries where they are likely to be tortured. Obama, who in 2008 vowed he would "say no to renditions," not only says yes to them now, but refuses to compensate innocent people imprisoned and tortured as a result of this policy.

Likewise, candidate Obama complained that Bush denied terrorism suspects due process, detaining them indefinitely without charge. President Obama promises to give more of them trials but reserves the right to keep them behind bars even if they are acquitted. In case that charade proves too burdensome, he also reserves the right to kill them by remote control instead of arresting them.

Some disillusioned supporters suggest that Obama changed his mind about executive power after he started wielding it. But his pre-election concessions to political expediency indicate he was faking it all along. A politician who believes he is above the law is not above lying to the public about his principles.

Jacob Sullum

Jacob Sullum is a senior editor at Reason magazine and a contributing columnist on Townhall.com.
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