NYT, WaPo, USA Today editorial boards blast Obama over seizure of AP phone records

posted at 10:41 am on May 15, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Politico reported earlier today that Washington DC has begun to turn against Barack Obama and his administration.  Thanks to Obama’s own arrogance, write Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei, he has little good will inside the Beltway anyway, and that leaves him with few passionate defenders in the latest scandal cascade:

The town is turning on President Obama — and this is very bad news for this White House.

Republicans have waited five years for the moment to put the screws to Obama — and they have one-third of all congressional committees on the case now. Establishment Democrats, never big fans of this president to begin with, are starting to speak out. And reporters are tripping over themselves to condemn lies, bullying and shadiness in the Obama administration.

Buy-in from all three D.C. stakeholders is an essential ingredient for a good old-fashioned Washington pile-on — so get ready for bad stories and public scolding to pile up. ….

Obama’s aloof mien and holier-than-thou rhetoric have left him with little reservoir of good will, even among Democrats. And the press, after years of being accused of being soft on Obama while being berated by West Wing aides on matters big and small, now has every incentive to be as ruthless as can be.

Many will treat that last claim with considerable skepticism.  The press has had plenty of opportunities to demand accountability from the White House, but have mostly acted as its apologists instead.  Benghazi is one case in point, long before there were any whistleblowers to report, too.  The terrorist attack took place because Obama’s intervention in Libya and decapitation of the Moammar Qaddafi regime set the terrorist networks in eastern Libya free.  Both the attack on our consulate and the larger problem of al-Qaeda’s attempt at its own coup in Mali — which took French military intervention to narrowly prevent — resulted directly from the decision by Obama to take out the Qaddafi regime without putting boots on the ground.

Not only has the media largely ignored that chain of consequences in the Benghazi story, they’re ignoring it in the context of Syria and proposed Western intervention there, too.  That’s not even a “scandal” issue, but a critical sequence that needs to be properly aired and analyzed before we end up doing the same thing in Syria that we did in Libya — and the only obstacle to connecting those dots seems to be the desire of the media to preserve Obama’s Libya intervention as some sort of foreign-policy triumph.

But perhaps things are changing, if only in a self-interested way. The New York Times editorial board, which earlier kinda-sorta cheered the IRS’ focus on conservative groups, gets its dudgeon to medium-high on the seizure of AP phone records:

The Obama administration, which has a chilling zeal for investigating leaks and prosecuting leakers, has failed to offer a credible justification for secretly combing through the phone records of reporters and editors at The Associated Press in what looks like a fishing expedition for sources and an effort to frighten off whistle-blowers. …

For more than 30 years, the news media and the government have used a well-honed system to balance the government’s need to pursue criminals or national security breaches with the media’s constitutional right to inform the public. This action against The A.P., as the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press outlined in a letter to Mr. Holder, “calls into question the very integrity” of the administration’s policy toward the press.

The records covered 20 phone lines, including main office phones in New York City, Washington, Hartford, and the Congressional press gallery. The guidelines for such subpoenas, first enacted in 1972, require that requests for media information be narrow. The reporters’ committee said this action is so broad that it allowed prosecutors to “plunder two months of news-gathering materials to seek information that might interest them.”

The Washington Post editorial board, which sharply criticized the White House over the IRS scandal, offers a we-told-you-so on the AP scandal:

WHEN THE Justice Department launched its investigation of alleged leaks of national security information by the Obama administration a year ago, we were skeptical. The history of such probes is mainly a tale of dead ends and unintended negative consequences. That this effort to criminalize a leak was launched amid an election-year uproar seemed especially inauspicious.

Our forebodings have been borne out with the revelation that federal prosecutors have undertaken a broad sweep of the Associated Press’s phone records. Whatever national-security enhancement this was intended to achieve seems likely to be outweighed by the damage to press freedom and governmental transparency.

USA Today’s editors call it “a torrent of abuse” and part of a pattern in this administration (via Gabriel Malor):

Another day, another excessive use of government power by the Obama administration.

First came disclosures Friday that the Internal Revenue Service had singled out conservative advocacy groups for extra scrutiny when the groups sought tax-exempt status. On Monday came news that the Justice Department, in a rare intrusion into the work of news reporters, had seized wide-ranging phone records from the Associated Press.

They seem to be the only ones connecting any dots here.  Plus, they point out that this abuse of power all but disqualifies the DoJ to investigate the other abuse of power erupting this week:

Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole argued Tuesday that prosecutors acted cautiously. But the sweeping seizure of data on 20 AP phones lines smacks more of a fishing expedition. Those records are now in government files and could be misused in the future. Prosecutors seized the data secretly rather than offer the AP a chance to negotiate what it would turn over, even though the records weren’t going anywhere. They treated the AP more like a hardened criminal than an upstanding news organization.

As for the IRS revelation, Attorney General Eric Holder has ordered a criminal investigation to determine whether anyone at the agency broke the law. That’s a start. But the Justice Department’s decision-making in the AP case doesn’t inspire confidence in the result.

It would build a little more confidence in the media if these outlets would connect a few more of these dots.


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Wah. Wah. Wah. No concern about Ben Gazi. Fast and Furious. IRS. But Faux concern about the AP.

oldroy on May 15, 2013 at 10:44 AM

“Gee, it would be easier to be President of China” – Obama

Electrongod on May 15, 2013 at 10:45 AM

It reminds of that old parable about “First they came for others….”

The press has turned their back on what Obama and his administration has done for years…now that it has “come for press freedom”, it’s suddenly chilling and a disaster.

Well, the press has received what it had openly campaigned for, and administration that doesn’t answer to the law…

The hypocritical whining is almost intolerable.

right2bright on May 15, 2013 at 10:46 AM

I think it’s fantastic that the Government was tracking the AP. I hope they did the same with WAPO, NYT, etc.

oldroy on May 15, 2013 at 10:46 AM

Oh, they finally saw the light!!!!….when it is about them!
A$$hats all.

Amjean on May 15, 2013 at 10:47 AM

They’ll be licking his boots again inside of a couple days.

oldroy on May 15, 2013 at 10:47 AM

Yeah, I don’t give a damn about AP. Why should I? My rights get trampled on by the admin and the msm and they don’t speak up for me. Screw ‘em!

Blake on May 15, 2013 at 10:48 AM

Obama’s aloof mien and holier-than-thou rhetoric have left him with little reservoir of good will, even among Democrats.

I’ve read that line about 20 times now and still can’t get enough of it.

As to the subject matter, while I am outraged by the actions of this administration, I must admit a bit of schadenfreude over the AP bit because we’ve been warning the press for so long and they’ve been in the tank for him which has only enabled his power grabs.

A Republic/democracy cannot survive without an educated people and a strong, free, and unbiased press.

Resist We Much on May 15, 2013 at 10:48 AM

Connect the dots? what are you talking about, Ed?

Oh, look, I made a pony!

Chris of Rights on May 15, 2013 at 10:48 AM

Wah. Wah. Wah. No concern about Ben Gazi. Fast and Furious. IRS. But Faux concern about the AP.

oldroy on May 15, 2013 at 10:44 AM

Agree with the Waaaaaah, but they really are concerned about the AP, it’s getting too close to home. Hurting the press directly is probably the only possible way Obama could turn them against him, and even then, it’ll take quite a lot more to do it completely.

Fenris on May 15, 2013 at 10:49 AM

So start digging and prove how serious you are.

There are all sorts of college records out there not to mention the Rezko thing, and Benghazi alone could win someone a Pulitzer.

Bishop on May 15, 2013 at 10:49 AM

The funny thing is that I’m not honestly convinced that this AP/DoJ thing really qualifies as a scandal. But, hey, if it gets the press to actually start looking at Obama with a critical eye, I’m happy.

Chris of Rights on May 15, 2013 at 10:49 AM

They can’t quit him.

Cindy Munford on May 15, 2013 at 10:50 AM

The press is only interested in the AP scandal because it can affect them. Bengazie is about some dead people they don’t much care about, and the IRS thingy is about their hated conservatives.. so nothing there there.

poxoma on May 15, 2013 at 10:51 AM

Chris of Rights on May 15, 2013 at 10:49 AM

I agree, I use to wish W would go after leaks harder. The press already hated him, so no harm, no foul. I’m just going to consider this a twofer, with both parties getting almost what they richly deserve. Irony, it good for us.

Cindy Munford on May 15, 2013 at 10:52 AM

So the Press is crying because it’s about them, of course.

Awwww, poor babies…

Your Lord & Master has betrayed you, has he? Did he forget to leave the $20 on the night table this time?

You created him. You protected him. You never vetted him. You lied, concealed & did everything you could to help elect him – twice.

F*ck you. You own him.

ICanSeeNovFromMyHouse on May 15, 2013 at 10:52 AM

They can’t quit him.

Cindy Munford on May 15, 2013 at 10:50 AM

Guess they’ll have to put him down for a while.

Fenris on May 15, 2013 at 10:53 AM

They can’t quit him.

Cindy Munford on May 15, 2013 at 10:50 AM

It’s in their DNA and soul. It’s who they are. They will only become more shrill in their protection and support of the cause.

oldroy on May 15, 2013 at 10:53 AM

I hope people around Obama today are fast on their feet, in case he starts throwing things. This level of media criticism of Obama is unprecedented in five years.

Of course I expect Obama and the LSM to kiss and make up in short order, but Obama is the type to hold a grudge. Then again, so are the media.

I’m going to enjoy this while it lasts, because I doubt it will for long.

Liam on May 15, 2013 at 10:53 AM

Funny thing about the “useful idiots” on the Left…they always think that THEY will be exempt from the tyranny that they help to impose on others. This delusion stems from their ignorance of history and human nature.

Creating utopias requires bending people’s will to that of the “vision”, via government coercion and punishment. A such, said government needs to be populated with people who do not shrink away from using government coercion and punishment to bring about their vision of “social justice”.

History has demonstrated over and over and over again, the type of people who seek those positions of influence do not really care about “the people”…they care about power…the power to rule over their fellow men and bend them to their wills. And once they think they’ve amassed enough power, all of the little power alliances that got them their positions of power…with this identity group and that constituency…well, all of sudden, the dynamic of their relationships are open for renegotiation.

The warning to Lefties (which I completely understand will fall on deaf ears) is a simple one – that is, be careful what you wish for. When you invite the govt in to regulate and macromanage your life for you, you will eventually condemn yourself – and everyone else…including someday, your own children – to a master/slave relationship. And like any slavemaster, the govt will expect you to mind your place and be grateful for what it’s kind enough to allow you to have…or else.

“For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

rvastar on May 15, 2013 at 10:54 AM

It’s so lucky for the REB that all this happened after his reelection.

slickwillie2001 on May 15, 2013 at 10:54 AM

Wah. Wah. Wah. No concern about Ben Gazi. Fast and Furious. IRS. But Faux concern about the AP.
oldroy on May 15, 2013 at 10:44 AM

Amazing isn’t it? Politico is already absolving the IRS of its sins.

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Journalism/2013/05/15/Politico-Absolves-IRS-Actions-Were-Non-Partisan

jawkneemusic on May 15, 2013 at 10:54 AM

They can’t quit him.

Cindy Munford on May 15, 2013 at 10:50 AM

THIS sums it all up.

Brilliant post Cindy.

(my two cents)

Think of this relationship:

Chris Brown (Obama)

Rihanna (the Press)

ToddPA on May 15, 2013 at 10:55 AM

The press has had plenty of opportunities to demand accountability from the White House, but have mostly acted as its apologists instead.

Yeah this gem from October pretty much sums up the relationship the press has with the White House (emphasis mine):

ROMNEY: I want to make sure we get that for the record because it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror.

OBAMA: Get the transcript.

CROWLEY: It — it — it — he did in fact, sir. So let me — let me call it an act of terror…

OBAMA: Can you say that a little louder, Candy?

CROWLEY: He — he did call it an act of terror. It did as well take — it did as well take two weeks or so for the whole idea there being a riot out there about this tape to come out. You are correct about that.

And, of course, this was nothing but a lie. The rat-eared passerby did not call Benghazi an act of terror on 9/12/12. This was the issue that netted four pinnochios yesterday. Crowley coordinated with the Obama campaign to help steamroll fact with fiction.

Happy Nomad on May 15, 2013 at 10:56 AM

Obama will throw a press party and hand out favors – all will be forgiven before 2014.

The Administration press will be back on it’s knees in time for the 2014 erections – I mean elections.

redguy on May 15, 2013 at 10:56 AM

Fenris on May 15, 2013 at 10:53 AM

Blues for the Blue!!

Cindy Munford on May 15, 2013 at 10:57 AM

I thought it notable that in regard to AP/DOJ, Media Matters invoked “la Affair Ms Flame” as part of it’s defense talking points.

Even more notable was that they managed to find a link to NPR for “Timeline: The CIA Leak Case” which is complete devoid of the name of the leaker, Richard Armitage.

J_Crater on May 15, 2013 at 10:57 AM

ToddPA on May 15, 2013 at 10:55 AM

Obama will just have to learn to hit where it doesn’t show.

Cindy Munford on May 15, 2013 at 10:58 AM

The MSM is a dog that has been kicked long and hard by the Obama administration. How many times did we see posts here on HA during last years’ presidential campaign where Obama ditched the political and MSM media to have a one on one with a total fluff pop magazine or hip hop dj? Yet, the MSM continued to lap up every chance at an exclusive interview with The One and write or air an exclusive interview full of pandering.

Many dogs, when abused sufficiently, do not or cannot recover from their abuse and return to normalcy. It’s to close to call with the MSM at this point, in my opinion, but I am not very hopefull.

parke on May 15, 2013 at 10:58 AM

They’re just mad that he’s oppressing them along with those they both disagree with.

They mad.

mintycrys on May 15, 2013 at 10:58 AM

You wanted him. You got him

cmsinaz on May 15, 2013 at 10:58 AM

The IRS scandal is the thing that will screw Obama. Sure, maybe as much as a third of the country applauds going after conservatives, but I think many swing voter did not sign on for that. They were going after the Grahams, for crying out loud.

The GOP’s task on the IRS scandal is to identify all who were getting jacked around. Spare no details. At the same time, the GOP needs to begin educating the public about how much information the IRS will have on us when it comes to Obamacare.

BuckeyeSam on May 15, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Surprisingly troll free around here this morning.

How refreshing.

cozmo on May 15, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Fear is a greater motive than even a shared ideology. The press is now afraid that Obama has been snooping on them and will bribe or sell them out if he has to. They realize he has no conscience, no semblance of a soul, and absolutely no loyalty, even to those who have helped him. The press is now scared and will act out of self interest to protect themselves. It’s human nature. It is now only a matter of time before they bring him down. Just wait.

GiantOrb on May 15, 2013 at 11:01 AM

Axelrod tosses Obama under the bus:

“Part of being president is there’s so much beneath you that you can’t know because the government is so vast,”

IOW, he can’t handle it.

Shocker, I tell you. Who knew Obama couldn’t handle the job?

BobMbx on May 15, 2013 at 11:01 AM

Obama’s aloof mien and holier-than-thou rhetoric have left him with little reservoir of good will, even among Democrats.

Wait a sec — I thought that he was cool and unflappable. I thought everyone wanted to be near the halo of his oozing hip vibe? Now you mean to tell me that his arrogant, hectoring, narcissism has finally been recognized for what it is?

I’d like to think so, but I also thought Monica would bring down the Clintons and we all see how well that worked out. The press will get over their little hissy fit soon enough.

natasha333 on May 15, 2013 at 11:03 AM

They can’t quit him.

Cindy Munford on May 15, 2013 at 10:50 AM

I nominate this one for thread winner!

Turtle317 on May 15, 2013 at 11:03 AM

Special prosecutor needed for all of this

cmsinaz on May 15, 2013 at 11:03 AM

And to add to my previous comment. True, primal, gut wrenching fear leads to fight or flight. They aren’t going to run away. They will hold on to their analogy but will now work to take Obama and his thugs down. They have to in order to protect themselves. And yes, I can’t wait to see it.

GiantOrb on May 15, 2013 at 11:04 AM

i wonder if ed still supports warrantless surveillance or had a change of heart around late 2008.

sesquipedalian on May 15, 2013 at 11:05 AM

So a former Hahvahd Law Review adjunct professor, Community Organizer, 2 year Senator who did nothing but perpetually campaign during his term, never ran as much as a friggin’ lemonade stand his whole pampered life, couldn’t run a country?

Who could’ve seen that coming?

ICanSeeNovFromMyHouse on May 15, 2013 at 11:05 AM

Axelrod tosses Obama under the bus:

“Part of being president is there’s so much beneath you that you can’t know because the government is so vast,”

IOW, he can’t handle it.

Shocker, I tell you. Who knew Obama couldn’t handle the job?

Yeah, well, just about anyone with at least one functioning brain cell that was paying attention, I tell ya.

You betcha.

Barry couldn’t, can’t and won’t.

He’s got people for that. Handling the job is their business.

He’s just there to be presidential when necessary.

hawkeye54 on May 15, 2013 at 11:05 AM

cozmo on May 15, 2013 at 11:00 AM

There is one on the IRS incompetence thread trying to scare up a rally for our lower deficit. It’s so hard to find something to cling to, especially since I’d bet that the deficit was previously unimportant.

Cindy Munford on May 15, 2013 at 11:05 AM

They can’t quit him.

Cindy Munford on May 15, 2013 at 10:50 AM

MSM: You had me at ‘I won’

BobMbx on May 15, 2013 at 11:06 AM

Don’t feed the six legged one. Please.

oldroy on May 15, 2013 at 11:07 AM

My Messiah harshed my mellow… – American Mainstream Media

workingclass artist on May 15, 2013 at 11:07 AM

Surprisingly troll free around here this morning.

How refreshing.

cozmo on May 15, 2013 at 11:00 AM

+1 Yesterday was something else, wasn’t it? I guess their masters don’t pay overtime.

You wanted him. You got him

cmsinaz on May 15, 2013 at 10:58 AM

Thread winner!

Liam on May 15, 2013 at 11:07 AM

Our media couldn’t connect the dots on the back of a copy of Highlights.

EricW on May 15, 2013 at 11:08 AM

this abuse of power all but disqualifies the DoJ to investigate the other abuse of power erupting this week

Eric Holder says he will investigate the IRS for Obama

petefrt on May 15, 2013 at 11:08 AM


Shocker, I tell you. Who knew Obama couldn’t handle the job?

I know, right? I want that quote on a t-shirt: “Axelrod: Government ‘So Vast,‘ Obama Can’t Know About Wrongdoing”–this is a formerly-Conservative National Review headline http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/348346/scarborough-goes-axelrod-spinning-ap-tapping-%E2%80%98save-somebody-else-buy-that%E2%80%99

Can you imagine? Obama has even lost the National Review!

So let us all work together to reduce the “vastness” of this out-of-control government and its out-of-control political classes.

casuist on May 15, 2013 at 11:08 AM

September 24th, 2012

President Barack Obama said on 60 Minutes on Sunday that he bears responsibility “for everything–to some degree.”

Axelturd must have been getting his single hair cut on this day and wasn’t aware of Bark’s statement.

Bishop on May 15, 2013 at 11:09 AM

Trolls are having a rough week.

CurtZHP on May 15, 2013 at 11:09 AM

It now seems that bhopress is getting the same krap from bho/team as the American citizens? How does it feel bhopress?
L

letget on May 15, 2013 at 11:09 AM

I just can’t muster a tear for the Kneepad Media.

They cleared the way for Chicago politics to go national. What’s the surprise here?

In Chi-Town when you win, you rule with an iron fist.

Bruno Strozek on May 15, 2013 at 11:09 AM

“Part of being president is there’s so much beneath you that you can’t know because the government is so vast,”

Best argument for limited government that I’ve heard a Democrat make in, like, forever.

Resist We Much on May 15, 2013 at 11:10 AM

There is one on the IRS incompetence thread

Cindy Munford on May 15, 2013 at 11:05 AM

Which IRS incompetence thread?

I don’t really need to know. I see a troll showed up here being even stupider than usual.

Even they must have enough brain cells to figure out the 0bama money will come to an end.

cozmo on May 15, 2013 at 11:10 AM


Special prosecutor needed for all of this

Yes, only I think we need 3 of them so far. Maybe more.

casuist on May 15, 2013 at 11:10 AM

It is possible the MSM will make him grovel and beg for forgiveness over the AP phone record thing. A scapegoat will be tossed to the MSM wolves for torture by prolonged committee hearing, character assassination, and virtual public dismemberment.

In return the MSM will do all they can to ignore, obscure, diminish, and dismiss the IRS targeting of conservatives — because they actually don’t really have a problem with that. After mild criticism they will accept whatever final talking points and explanation the WH puts out after 296 revisions and edits. And they will more or less continue to spout the party line on Benghazi — “old news”, interesting but insignificant news that doesn’t change anything, a partisan witch-hunt, etc.

“So do we have a deal, Dear Leader?” — MSM Bigwigs.

The big unknown is public opinion, and what kind of hit Comrade O’s popularity and job approval rating might take. Also, the more time spent on scandals the less time the socialists will have to try to ram more socialism down the country’s throat before the Socialist-In-Chief’s term is up.

farsighted on May 15, 2013 at 11:11 AM

My Messiah harshed my mellow… – American Mainstream Media

workingclass artist on May 15, 2013 at 11:07 AM

That’s about it. The Press is finding out that they have participated in a Journalistic Jonestown for a generation. It’s their whole identity to support, protect, and defend the left and the Democrat party. It isn’t about a choice of quitting Obama. It’s that they have no choice. A choice has never occurred to any of them, nor will it ever. There is no choice. This is who they are.

oldroy on May 15, 2013 at 11:12 AM

Have to hand it to Obama tho’, there’s no way anyone in their right mind would Impeach him. Not with Joe Biden sitting in the wings!

kirkill on May 15, 2013 at 11:12 AM

I don’t really need to know. I see a troll showed up here being even stupider than usual.

Even they must have enough brain cells to figure out the 0bama money will come to an end.

cozmo on May 15, 2013 at 11:10 AM

Do you think they realize they don’t have to come here and go to bat for this charlatan? It’s like they can’t help it. Any normal person would not bother. Either it’s a mental disorder, or they’re being obligated somehow.

CurtZHP on May 15, 2013 at 11:12 AM

Trolls are having a rough week.

CurtZHP on May 15, 2013 at 11:09 AM

PETA should be informed. Those poor chickens.

Bishop on May 15, 2013 at 11:12 AM

The NYT DARES speak against its lord and master?

I wonder if they’re using the language of Buffalo Bill.

It puts the lotion on its skin.”

UltimateBob on May 15, 2013 at 11:13 AM

You just have to love this. America’s watch dogs collectively abandoned their sacred task to become Obama’s elite tail-wagging guard dogs, but now they’re whimpering simply because he kicks them around like he’s Michael Vicks

Don L on May 15, 2013 at 11:14 AM

i wonder if ed still supports warrantless surveillance or had a change of heart around late 2008.

sesquipedalian on May 15, 2013 at 11:05 AM

If so, he wasn’t the only one. From Glenn Greenwald, whose leftist bona fides are golden:

During the Bush years, Guantanamo was the core symbol of right-wing radicalism and what was back then referred to as the “assault on American values and the shredding of our Constitution”: so much so then when Barack Obama ran for President, he featured these issues not as a secondary but as a central plank in his campaign. But now that there is a Democrat in office presiding over Guantanamo and these other polices — rather than a big, bad, scary Republican — all of that has changed, as a new Washington Post/ABC News poll today demonstrates:

“The sharpest edges of President Obama’s counterterrorism policy, including the use of drone aircraft to kill suspected terrorists abroad and keeping open the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have broad public support, including from the left wing of the Democratic Party.

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that Obama, who campaigned on a pledge to close the brig at Guantanamo Bay and to change national security policies he criticized as inconsistent with U.S. law and values, has little to fear politically for failing to live up to all of those promises.

The survey shows that 70 percent of respondents approve of Obama’s decision to keep open the prison at Guantanamo Bay. . . . The poll shows that 53 percent of self-identified liberal Democrats — and 67 percent of moderate or conservative Democrats — support keeping Guantanamo Bay open, even though it emerged as a symbol of the post-Sept. 11 national security policies of George W. Bush, which many liberals bitterly opposed.”

Repulsive liberal hypocrisy extends far beyond the issue of Guantanamo. A core plank in the Democratic critique of the Bush/Cheney civil liberties assault was the notion that the President could do whatever he wants, in secret and with no checks, to anyone he accuses without trial of being a Terrorist – even including eavesdropping on their communications or detaining them without due process. But President Obama has not only done the same thing, but has gone much farther than mere eavesdropping or detention: he has asserted the power even to kill citizens without due process. As Bush’s own CIA and NSA chief Michael Hayden said this week about the Awlaki assassination: “We needed a court order to eavesdrop on him but we didn’t need a court order to kill him. Isn’t that something?” That is indeed “something,” as is the fact that Bush’s mere due-process-free eavesdropping on and detention of American citizens caused such liberal outrage, while Obama’s due-process-free execution of them has not.

Beyond that, Obama has used drones to kill Muslim children and innocent adults by the hundreds. He has refused to disclose his legal arguments for why he can do this or to justify the attacks in any way. He has even had rescuers and funeral mourners deliberately targeted. As Hayden said: ”Right now, there isn’t a government on the planet that agrees with our legal rationale for these operations, except for Afghanistan and maybe Israel.” But that is all perfectly fine with most American liberals now that their Party’s Leader is doing it:

“Fully 77 percent of liberal Democrats endorse the use of drones, meaning that Obama is unlikely to suffer any political consequences as a result of his policy in this election year. Support for drone strikes against suspected terrorists stays high, dropping only somewhat when respondents are asked specifically about targeting American citizens living overseas, as was the case with Anwar al-Awlaki, the Yemeni American killed in September in a drone strike in northern Yemen.”

The Post‘s Greg Sargent obtained the breakdown on these questions and wrote today:

“The number of those who approve of the drone strikes drops nearly 20 percent when respondents are told that the targets are American citizens. But that 65 percent is still a very big number, given that these policies really should be controversial.

And get this: Depressingly, Democrats approve of the drone strikes on American citizens by 58-33, and even liberals approve of them, 55-35. Those numbers were provided to me by the Post polling team.

It’s hard to imagine that Dems and liberals would approve of such policies in quite these numbers if they had been authored by George W. Bush.”

Indeed: is there even a single liberal pundit, blogger or commentator who would have defended George Bush and Dick Cheney if they (rather than Obama) had been secretly targeting American citizens for execution without due process, or slaughtering children, rescuers and funeral attendees with drones, or continuing indefinite detention even a full decade after 9/11? Please. How any of these people can even look in the mirror, behold the oozing, limitless intellectual dishonesty, and not want to smash what they see is truly mystifying to me.

As this post demonstrates, long before Barack Obama achieved any significance on the political scene, I considered blind leader loyalty one of the worst toxins in our political culture: it’s the very antithesis of what a healthy political system requires (and what a healthy mind would produce). One of the reasons I’ve written so much about the complete reversal of progressives on these issues (from pretending to be horrified by them when done under Bush to tolerating them or even supporting them when done by Obama) is precisely because it’s so remarkable to see these authoritarian follower traits manifest so vibrantly in the very same political movement — sophisticated, independent-minded, reality-based progressives — that believes it is above that, and that only primitive conservatives are plagued by such follower-mindlessness.

The Democratic Party owes a sincere apology to George Bush, Dick Cheney and company for enthusiastically embracing many of the very Terrorism policies which caused them to hurl such vehement invective at the GOP for all those years. And progressives who support the views of the majority as expressed by this poll should never be listened to again the next time they want to pretend to oppose civilian slaughter and civil liberties assaults when perpetrated by the next Republican President (it should be noted that roughly 35% of liberals, a non-trivial amount, say they oppose these Obama policies).

One final point: I’ve often made the case that one of the most consequential aspects of the Obama legacy is that he has transformed what was once known as “right-wing shredding of the Constitution” into bipartisan consensus, and this is exactly what I mean. When one of the two major parties supports a certain policy and the other party pretends to oppose it — as happened with these radical War on Terror policies during the Bush years — then public opinion is divisive on the question, sharply split. But once the policy becomes the hallmark of both political parties, then public opinion becomes robust in support of it. That’s because people assume that if both political parties support a certain policy that it must be wise, and because policies that enjoy the status of bipartisan consensus are removed from the realm of mainstream challenge. That’s what Barack Obama has done to these Bush/Cheney policies: he has, as Jack Goldsmith predicted he would back in 2009, shielded and entrenched them as standard U.S. policy for at least a generation, and (by leading his supporters to embrace these policies as their own) has done so with far more success than any GOP President ever could have dreamed of achieving.

Resist We Much on May 15, 2013 at 11:14 AM

Have to hand it to Obama tho’, there’s no way anyone in their right mind would Impeach him. Not with Joe Biden sitting in the wings!

kirkill on May 15, 2013 at 11:12 AM

Not only that, the shrieks of racism from the left would be deafening.

The soft bigotry of low expectations trumps good judgement every time.

UltimateBob on May 15, 2013 at 11:15 AM

wow, the troll attempt to change the subject sure was a reach. They’ve hit bottom, let’s keep them there.

kirkill on May 15, 2013 at 11:15 AM

What smells better than a rich cup of coffee this morning—TROLL-A-CIDE!

hillsoftx on May 15, 2013 at 11:16 AM

I wonder if they’re using the language of Buffalo Bill.

“It puts the lotion on its skin.”

UltimateBob on May 15, 2013 at 11:13 AM

You know Barry is!

CurtZHP on May 15, 2013 at 11:16 AM

Special prosecutor needed for all of this

Yes, only I think we need 3 of them so far. Maybe more.

casuist on May 15, 2013 at 11:10 AM

Independent Special Prosecutor For each agency involved in exposed scandals so far.

IRS/Treasury
DOJ
EPA
HHS

Benghazi is in it’s own category.

Homeland Security and ICE are in their own category as well since it involves F & F, manipulation of deportation data and the release of criminals into the general public etc.

All of these are agencies under the excecutive…All of these agencies have been engaged in stonewalling and deception.

workingclass artist on May 15, 2013 at 11:18 AM

The next time you think about carrying his water bucket, you might want to check first inside for a water moccasin. You have been bitten, enjoy the fruits of your labor.

hillsoftx on May 15, 2013 at 11:19 AM

Have to hand it to Obama tho’, there’s no way anyone in their right mind would Impeach him. Not with Joe Biden sitting in the wings!

kirkill on May 15, 2013 at 11:12 AM

What’s the problem with Joe as president? This administration is defecting everything using various translations of “we weren’t evil, just incompetent!” I’ll take a frightened Joe Biden as the incompetent de jour any day.

Don L on May 15, 2013 at 11:20 AM

In defense of the DOJ, they weren’t looking for, as the ridiculous NY Times characterizes it, “whistleblowers”. They were looking for the person who did a pretty reckless release of classified information.

That doesn’t justify this fishing expedition. It sure looks like it wasn’t very narrow.

I’m all for holding this Administration – at long last! – accountable for its dereliction and corruption. But not everything they’ve done is wrong.

Nearly everything but not everything.

SteveMG on May 15, 2013 at 11:21 AM

Am I to understand that the reporters are worried about their confidential sources drying up? So they can speak truth to power, hold the government accountable, that sort of thing? I missed that bit on one of the talk shows, right? Leno?

Barnestormer on May 15, 2013 at 11:22 AM

These idiot Media. They have no idea this is just the tip of the iceberg.

If this is what they got caught doing, go exploring and see what else they’ve been up to.

portlandon on May 15, 2013 at 11:22 AM

Resist We Much on May 15, 2013 at 11:14 AM

Excellent sir.

kirkill on May 15, 2013 at 11:23 AM

As the saying goes; it couldn’t be happening to a “nicer” fella.

can_con on May 15, 2013 at 11:24 AM

I’m all for holding this Administration – at long last! – accountable for its dereliction and corruption. But not everything they’ve done is wrong.

Nearly everything but not everything.

SteveMG on May 15, 2013 at 11:21 AM

Not every aborted child dies, but let’s not credit the abortionist please.

Don L on May 15, 2013 at 11:24 AM

Excellent sir.

kirkill on May 15, 2013 at 11:23 AM

Uh-oh, you are in for it now.

cozmo on May 15, 2013 at 11:25 AM

Then they came for me,

and there was no one left to speak for me.

MNHawk on May 15, 2013 at 11:27 AM

In defense of the DOJ, they weren’t looking for, as the ridiculous NY Times characterizes it, “whistleblowers”. They were looking for the person who did a pretty reckless release of classified information.

That doesn’t justify this fishing expedition. It sure looks like it wasn’t very narrow.

I’m all for holding this Administration – at long last! – accountable for its dereliction and corruption. But not everything they’ve done is wrong.

Nearly everything but not everything.

SteveMG on May 15, 2013 at 11:21 AM

Scooter Libby disagrees.

portlandon on May 15, 2013 at 11:27 AM

In defense of the DOJ, they weren’t looking for, as the ridiculous NY Times characterizes it, “whistleblowers”. They were looking for the person who did a pretty reckless release of classified information.

That doesn’t justify this fishing expedition. It sure looks like it wasn’t very narrow.

I’m all for holding this Administration – at long last! – accountable for its dereliction and corruption. But not everything they’ve done is wrong.

Nearly everything but not everything.

SteveMG on May 15, 2013 at 11:21 AM

According to Laura Malone the lawyer for the AP interviewed by Ben Ferguson on WBAP the rules are that the Atty. Gen. signs off on the subpoenas.

Why did Holder recuse himself from signing off on the subpoenas and hand it to a deputy?

workingclass artist on May 15, 2013 at 11:27 AM

cozmo on May 15, 2013 at 11:10 AM

While contemplating the poor quality of our trolls here at HA, I wondered where all the top quality ones could be found. Then it dawned on me that they would be the press. Not a lot of middle ground is there. Paid well or barking at the Moon for free.

Cindy Munford on May 15, 2013 at 11:29 AM

kirkill on May 15, 2013 at 11:23 AM

RWM is a lady.

Cindy Munford on May 15, 2013 at 11:30 AM

The useful idiots are always the most outraged, sad, and uncomprehending when their turn comes.

It also seems that a big part of what upsets them is that they thought they were being good and loyal players. Taking accusations and insults from the “baggers” and taking their scoldings from the WH when they didn’t quite stick to the narrative, but still being rewarded with the presence of the ONE and admission into the exclusive parties with the “cool kids”. Now they find out they weren’t so trusted and adored after all. I don’t have any sympathy for them, but I am hoping that maybe they will start acting like adults now and not fanboyz.

“What enchants you?” Morons.

Boudica on May 15, 2013 at 11:30 AM

Curious, isn’t it, how these guys don’t really care much about any one of the other illegal/unconstitutional actions of this administration over the last 5 years.

Pick a metaphor; one’s own ox being gored, the “first they came for…” poem, etc.

“Welcome to the party, pal.”

Midas on May 15, 2013 at 11:30 AM

H/T…to Rovin:

House Speaker Boehner on IRS:

‘My question isn’t about who’s going to resign, my question is, who is going to jail’

– @jamiedupree

1 hour ago by editor
=========================

https://twitter.com/jamiedupree

canopfor on May 15, 2013 at 11:31 AM

While contemplating the poor quality of our trolls here…
Cindy Munford on May 15, 2013 at 11:29 AM

You have it right. The better (better being a relative term in this instance) ones are getting paid by the media while being barking moonbats.

The lesser ones that we have to deal with are getting paid directly by 0bama and his OFA:

0bamamoney
0bamphone
etc.

RWM is a lady.

Cindy Munford on May 15, 2013 at 11:30 AM

Female yes, lady…

cozmo on May 15, 2013 at 11:34 AM

Reuters Politics ‏@ReutersPolitics 18m

A second House hearing on IRS Tea Party controversy to be held next Wednesday with Dept. Treasury Sec’y Wolin and former IRS chief #breaking
Retweeted by Reuters Top News

canopfor on May 15, 2013 at 11:34 AM

While contemplating the poor quality of our trolls here at HA, I wondered where all the top quality ones could be found. Then it dawned on me that they would be the press. Not a lot of middle ground is there. Paid well or barking at the Moon for free.

Cindy Munford on May 15, 2013 at 11:29 AM

Lefty positions are indefensible logically, so what the professionals do is selectively ignore issues. When that fails they mock. It’s really not much different with commenters here, except they have a harder time ignoring and I don’t think they’re trolls. Their emotion gets the better of them, and at some point somebody breaks and must comment. They really believe what they say, and their passion gets the better of them.

Fenris on May 15, 2013 at 11:35 AM

The next time you think about carrying his water bucket, you might want to check first inside for a water moccasin. You have been bitten, enjoy the fruits of your labor.

[hillsoftx on May 15, 2013 at 11:19 AM]

An apt way to put it and I, too, need to make an effort to get worked up about the AP phone record scandal.

It’s only been since this revelation that the majority of the press has found it necessary to become indignant over the excesses of the Obama administration; that there is all of a sudden no gray area in which to equivocate about whether the Administration’s actions might be inappropriate; or that the action is beyond the bounds of legitimate politics or, alternatively, the scandal is political in nature and not a real scandal.

I’ll come to the media faction’s defense on this but with full knowledge that our faction will hardly get the a fraction of this courtesy when the Administration comes after us.

Dusty on May 15, 2013 at 11:38 AM

Excellent sir.

kirkill on May 15, 2013 at 11:23 AM

Uh-oh, you are in for it now.

cozmo on May 15, 2013 at 11:25 AM

Thanks, kirkill. And, now, for cozmo’s pleasure, I have to correct you:

I’M A GGGUUUUUUURRRRRRRRRRRRRRRLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!

eL3vEnTy11!!!LL1111!!!!LLLLLLlllll!!!!!!

[Thanks, Cindy.]

Resist We Much on May 15, 2013 at 11:42 AM

While contemplating the poor quality of our trolls here…
Cindy Munford on May 15, 2013 at 11:29 AM

As bad as they are here, they are Albert Einsteins compared to the trolls at Townhall.com.

Allidunce is a perfect example of the TH troll. My blog became a certain of ‘worldwide depository of Alliduncism’ where people could post her stupidity. If you ever want to sit in utter awe at monumental ignorance, read: The Definitive Anthology of Alliduncism and make sure to look at the comments, too.

It’s breathtaking.

Resist We Much on May 15, 2013 at 11:46 AM

My theory on the sudden interest by the press in the recent Obama scandals: Clinton’s supporters in the press want to preserve Hillary’s political viability for 2016.

The press see that the White House was about to throw Hillary under the bus over the Bengazi scandal. Then IRS and AP scandals hit. Since these newer scandals don’t have Clinton’s fingerprints on it, they shift the focus away from Hillary and back onto the White House.

Pay attention to how the press continues to cover Bengazigate compared to IRSgate and APgate.

Rich H on May 15, 2013 at 11:48 AM

Resist We Much on May 15, 2013 at 11:42 AM

Yes, it was pleasing.

cozmo on May 15, 2013 at 11:49 AM

Why did Holder recuse himself from signing off on the subpoenas and hand it to a deputy?

workingclass artist on May 15, 2013 at 11:27 AM

What I read somewhere is that he had already been questioned by investigators looking into the leak. As had Brennan.

He had to, oh so conveniently, recuse himself because of this. Or so the story goes.

farsighted on May 15, 2013 at 11:50 AM

May most of the media suffocate from what they fed on for so long, Obama’s crap, not Beluga caviar, fools of the world.

Obama and his capos have proven to be what I told you thousands of times, and will repeat until I die – He is a charlatanic dictatorial thug.

YOU deserve him, all of you who voted for him, voted for RP, or stayed home. May he destroy you and yours, in full, irrecoverably, ever.

Goebbels and Orwell are one now.

Obama succeeded, apace, and you fools let him. YOU deserve his utter destruction of all you hold sacred. You know who you are.

Schadenfreude on May 15, 2013 at 11:50 AM

While contemplating the poor quality of our trolls here…
Cindy Munford on May 15, 2013 at 11:29 AM

Yesterday was cool. HAL wants all the TEA partiers investigated by the IRS, and dead, with no hesitations/reservations.

I tols you before – let them be here – you have your enemies in front of you, thugs one and all, never liberal/progressive/democratic/free/independent. Never. Just tyrannical thugs.

Schadenfreude on May 15, 2013 at 11:52 AM

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