YOU'RE A PASSIONATE and committed liberal. Four years ago, enthralled by Barack Obama's biography and inspired by his oratory, you voted for him with pride. You embraced his promise of hope and change. You were deeply moved by the racial progress he symbolized.
But above all you voted for him because he expressed such enlightened views.
You didn't just want a Democrat back in the White House, you wanted one who would bring progressive clarity to US national policy.
For eight years, you'd fumed at George W. Bush's offenses against the Constitution; now at last, you believed, you were supporting a president for whom civil liberties would be an unshakable priority. A president who wouldn't be beholden to Wall Street and its rivers of cash. Who would prosecute the war on terror without abandoning core American values or trampling basic human rights. Whose administration would function in the sunlight, a jewel of transparency, accountability, and due process.
That was the president you expected. It wasn't the president you got.
"I will make clear that the days of compromising our values are over," Obama had said in 2007 as he campaigned for the Democratic presidential nomination. In an address to the Woodrow Wilson Center, he had excoriated Bush's approach to counterterrorism – the excesses of the Patriot Act, the warrantless wiretapping, the indefinite detention of terror suspects – for reflecting a "false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we demand." In an Obama administration, he vowed, things would be different.
Yet the president you voted for hasn't abandoned Bush's antiterror legacy, not by a long shot. Since Obama took office, warrantless wiretapping of Americans' domestic communications has skyrocketed. According to a new report by the ACLU, "more people were subjected to [electronic] surveillance in the past two years than in the entire previous decade." Instead of repealing the Patriot Act, Obama signed a law extending it through 2015.
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