There was a brief moment when civil libertarians were stunned to see President Barack Obama actually take a stand in favor of civil liberties after years to rolling back on basic rights of citizens and moving beyond the Bush Administration in building up the security state. Obama said that he would veto the defense bill that contained a horrific provision for the indefinite detention of American citizens. While many predicted it, Obama has now again betrayed the civil liberties community and lifted the threat of the veto. Americans will now be subject to indefinite detention with trial in federal courts in a measure supported by both Democrats and Republicans.
This leave Ron Paul as the only candidate in the presidential campaign fighting the bill and generally advocating civil liberties as a rallying point for his campaign. Paul offered another strong argument against the Patriot Act and other expansions of police powers in his last debate. He also noted that the Patriot Act provisions were long advocated before 9-11, which was used as an opportunity to expand police powers. As discussed in a prior column, Obama has destroyed the civil liberties movement in the United States and has convinced many liberals to fight for an Administration that blocked torture prosecutions, expanded warrantless surveillance, continued military tribunals, killed Americans on the sole authority of the President, and other core violations of civil liberties.
It’s no surprise, given that he was the one who asked the clause be put there in the first place, but it’s still frustrating to see Team Blue ignore things that they’d be completely up in arms against if they had been done by Team Red.