A predictable next phase in the media’s coverage of The Obama Scandals™ is to ask: “Where was the uproar during the Bush years?
First, let’s acknowledge that are consistent voices on both sides of the aisle — people who voiced concerns about the erosion of civil liberties regardless of who was in office — and people who supported increased surveillance regardless of who was in power.
Both sides also have their share of hypocrites, too — liberals who criticized Bush, but have turned a blind eye to Obama’s abuses — and conservatives who criticize Obama for continuing Bush’s policies.
Having said that, there are valid reasons why someone might understandably be angrier with Obama.
Here are a few that come to mind:
1. In the immediate aftermath of 9-11, when it was unclear if or when the next shoe would drop, it was at least understandable that some sincere governmental officials might become overzealous in erring on the side of trading freedom for security. It is likewise easy to understand why the public might have embraced this. A dozen years later, that no longer serves as an explanation or an excuse.
2. Hypocrisy. Obama criticized Bush, and promised us he would govern differently. “This Administration acts like violating civil liberties is the way to enhance our security,” Obama said of Bush in 2007. “This Administration also puts forward a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we demand.”
3. We obviously know more about the extent of the surveillance than we did during the Bush years. That’s the whole reason the NSA leaks have dominated the news for a week. As new information comes available, opinions can change. This is not the same as flip-flopping.