We expected Obama to be a dumpster fire on economic issues and commercial liberty. And he has been.
But here are two charts showing how the traditional libertarian choice in two-party electrions of "liberty in the bedroom or liberty in the boardroom" has broken down. First, Bush was a mess on economic issues. Now, Obama is a wreck on civil liberties issues. Here is use of domestic surveillance tools, many times without warrants:
And here are drone strike casualties:
This Administration has increased the frequency of drone strikes by a factor of 8 over George Bush. It has claimed that any civilian deaths from these strikes are combatant deaths because, well, civilians shouldn't have been hanging around near people we want to kill. The Administration has claimed the right to assassinate Americans without any sort of due process, continues rendition and indefinite detainment, and has ramped up Federal raids on medical marijuana dispensaries in places like California where they are legal under state law.
Update: While I was writing this, Ken at Popehat was saying something similar:
The United States government, under two opposed increasingly indistinguishable political parties, asserts the right to kill anyone on the face of the earth in the name of the War on Terror. It asserts the right todetain anyone on the face of the earth in the name of the War on Terror, and to do so based on undisclosed facts applied to undisclosed standards in undisclosed locations under undisclosed conditions for however long it wants, all without judicial review. It asserts the right to be free of lawsuits or other judicial proceedings that might reveal its secrets in the War on Terror. It asserts that the people it kills in drone strikes are either probably enemy combatants in the War on Terror or acceptable collateral damage. It asserts that increasing surveillance of Americans, increasing interception of Americans' communications, and increasingly intrusive security measuresare all required by the War on Terror.
But the War on Terror, unlike other wars, will last as long as the government says it will. And, as the MEK episode illustrates, the scope of the War on Terror — the very identity of the Terror we fight — is a subjective matter in the discretion of the government. The compelling need the government cites to do whatever it wants is itself defined by the government.
We're letting the government do that. We're putting up with it. We're even cheering it, because that's more comfortable than opposing it or thinking about how far it has gone.
Update 2: And let's not forget that whole transparency thing. The Obama Administration may be perhaps the worst Administration in decades in complying with FOIA requests for what should be public information.