Obama's "Nixon Goes to China" Moment

Barack Obama is the worst possible thing that could have happened for civil liberties in this country.  Not necessarily because he promotes the worst possible policies -- As bad as he has been (drone strikes, domestic spying, aggressive prosecuting of whistle blowers, indefinite detentions, executive orders, arbitrarily ignoring legislation, cutting myriad special favors, and overturning the rule of law in the auto bankruptcies), I could imagine others being worse  (Lindsey Graham -- eek!).

But Obama is the worst because he is beloved almost unconditionally by the very factions who are the natural defenders on the Left of civil liberties and opponents of creeping (non-economic) state control.  With all this insane cr*p coming from Obama, the opposition one would expect to these policies has been slow and muted.  The anti-war movement, for example, effectively dissolved once George Bush was in office -- the ACLU and a few others continue to public reports on civilian drone deaths but the stories don't make the front page now that Obama is President.  Only recently, with the press itself under attack, has anyone woken up, but even with recent revelations about the NSA and harassing leakers, the last press conference was still dominated by softballs everyone in the room would have been embarrassed to have asked George Bush.

The Left seems to believe that this is all OK as long as their guy wields the power, but that cannot last forever.  And you can be damn sure that neither President Hillary or the next Republican in the White House is going to eschew or reverse the precedents established by Obama.  We have to end them right now, or we are stuck with them forever.  It may be too late already.


** The title refers to the idea that only Nixon, an anti-communist Republican, could have opened up relations with Communist China in the early 1970's and defused opposition to the move by the Right, the natural opponents of such a move at the time.  A President McGovern would have been skewered.  In the same way, Republican President Bush was rightly attacked whole-heartedly by the Left for intrusions on civil liberties and military activities.  On the other hand, having these same type of actions taken -- really much worse actions -- taken by a Liberal President has mostly diffused the opposition.


  1. norse:

    Right on! I love your writing, whenever I want my own opinion succinctly and clearly stated, I look to your website for an article that does it better than I ever could ;)

    Btw, what you write about is one of the reasons I respect writers like Glen Greenwald so much - clearly left wing (even by European standards), pro-Obama pre election, but held Obama accountable and loudly pointed out the issues with the post-Bush administrations policies right from the start. Way to not be tribal.

    On a related note, now I do wonder if I should suggest you take care not to have your family held in airports, though ;)

  2. skhpcola:

    "The anti-war movement, for example, effectively dissolved once George Bush was in office..."

    You might want to correct that.

  3. skhpcola:

    Ad hominems aside, anybody that respects Glen[n] Greenwald doesn't respect the truth. The only reason that he bitches about Obama is because Buhraw Ozero hasn't been able to force through the progressive bullshit that Greenwald has wet dreams about. It isn't due to an overweening sense of honesty or honor. Leftist filth such as Greenwald and Ozero don't know the meaning of either of those terms.

  4. mesaeconoguy:

    I still can’t put the Bush actions in the same severity category as what Obungle has done.

    True, he has amplified many of the worst parts of the Bush surveillance state, but he’s also gotten senior diplomatic staff killed, twisted regulatory actions and destroyed a couple hundred years of bankruptcy precedent to benefit his supporters, and has crippled the economy with his dangerous policies.

    And, speaking of Nixon, he has actually used the IRS, FBI, and other agencies against his political enemies, and the press.

    Throw in the blatant crony capitalism and constant anti-business-except-for-the-ones-who-contribute-to-my-campaign patronage, and you’ve got a modern day fascist.

    Obama is a fascist.

  5. CapnRusty:

    I think you are painting the Republicans with too broad a brush. If by some miracle, a true conservative were elected President, he or she would scale back the power of the Executive branch, and possibly, the Judiciary, and let the power flow back to the House of Representatives. Sounds naive, doesn't it? Well, note that I said a "true" conservative . . .

  6. Benjamin Cole:

    Excellent blogging. Not only did Nixon go to China, he went after "losing" Vietnam to the Commies and leaving behind 60,000 US dead. Remember Clinton leaving behind 2 in Somalia?

    And Obama has done zilcho about the $1 trillion Defense-Homeland Security-VA budget, most of it waste.