Mr. Obama’s tour through this era of Islamic terror has been lucky in one other way: George Bush immediately used his political capital—and paid a heavy price—to pass the Patriot Act. What happened next in Washington wasn’t entirely expected. …

But let’s, so to speak, cut to the chase. In contrast to the Bush era fight over how many judges had to approve surveillance of terrorism suspects, we had the transfixing spectacle last week of Bostonians okay with having their city transformed into a state of virtual martial law after the bombs went off.

The citizens of Boston and its suburbs allowed massively armed SWAT teams to enter their homes, order residents out and eventually find the bullet-riddled Dzhokhar Tsarnaev lying half-dead in a boat. When it was over, people lined the streets to cheer the police army. You’d need more than a roving wiretap to find a peep of objection from the old Bush critics.

Who’s to quibble? Some are now asking whether the protections after 9/11 have waned in the past 12 years. After these events, a responsible Congress should want to find out.