by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
civil liberties, democrats, power

2012 Democrats: Remember That Civil Liberties Thing From 2008? Um, Nevermind

from the what's-that-about-power-corrupting? dept

For years, we've pointed out that neither major political party in the US seems to be very good on the issues that concern us most around here -- which is truly disappointing. With the Democratic National Convention going on this week, some are pointing out what a difference four years make. Back when President Obama was the outsider running for office, he made reversing Bush-era attacks on civil liberties a target for change in his platform. And then he won. Not only did he leave in place most of the programs against civil liberties, but he often expanded them. So here we are, after four years in power, and with the new platform out, some are noting that the strong defenses of civil liberties found four years ago are conspicuously absent this time around. Adam Sewer goes through this year's platform and the one from four years ago and points out all of the differences. Here's just one example, but click through to read them all:
Warrantless Surveillance/PATRIOT Act

2008: "We support constitutional protections and judicial oversight on any surveillance program involving Americans. We will review the current Administration's warrantless wiretapping program. We reject illegal wiretapping of American citizens, wherever they live. We reject the use of national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime. We reject the tracking of citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war...We will revisit the Patriot Act and overturn unconstitutional executive decisions issued during the past eight years."

2012: The platform is silent on this issue.
This is not surprising, but it's depressing just the same. Once they're in power, people tend to want to keep power, and one way to do that is to suppress the civil liberties of the public. Wouldn't it be nice if we actually elected a principled politician? Do they even exist any more?

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  1. icon
    Suzanne Lainson (profile), 5 Sep 2012 @ 9:15am

    Re: Re: As the country moves farther to the right

    Government has gotten bigger and more powerful. What was once considered immoral behavior is now acceptable. Regulation by government has increased almost exponentially. Government control over social programs has expanded continuously over the last century. All of these are principles endorsed by the left.

    The government keeps expanding under Republican administrations, too. And some Republicans want to set up a vast border patrol to keep everyone out. That takes money and expands the government. And then you've got Republicans advocating additional laws to prevent abortions, gay marriage, etc. Republicans want government just as much as they accuse the Democrats of wanting it. The Republicans just want to dole out the money to different groups.

    The thing is, economically no politician dares to drastically slash government or the economy tanks. Imagine what happens if the government no longer employs people, no longer pays for contracts, and no longer provides funding to citizens. The country might benefit from that sort of tough love, but if you suddenly stop handing out government money, every company in the country loses the cashflow that comes from government money, directly or indirectly. I dare the Republicans to actually stop government in its tracks and no longer pay anyone. What I am worried about is that we'll get another Bush -- a President who cuts taxes AND raises government spending. If you are going to fight a war, damn it, make citizens actually pay for it. And if they don't want to pay, maybe we won't get into so many.

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