Thursday, June 27, 2013

Nice But Not Wise

Mona Charen writing in the Washington Examiner offers us a few examples of how Mr. Obama has done exactly the sorts of things for which he was highly critical of Mr. Bush. There's a word that describes someone like this, but at the moment I can't think of it.

Anyway, Charen opens her piece by saying that she'd like to write a complimentary column on the president praising him for his efforts in the war on terror, etc., but there are three obstacles standing in the way:
One is the memory of the casual smears candidate Obama directed at President Bush. The second is the rank abuse of power his administration has demonstrated, which undermines one's trust that the trove of information the government is sifting will be used only to disrupt possible terror attacks. The third is the administration's pattern of lying -- which undermines any reassurances the president proffers that "nobody is listening to your telephone calls."
The remainder of her column fills in the details. For instance:
Candidate Obama did more than dissent from President Bush's decision to invade Iraq. He asserted that the decision itself was dishonest -- based "not on principle but on politics." He said the war was a "cynical attempt by arm-chair warriors to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats." What that agenda might have been (is removing terror-sponsoring aggressors an "ideology"?), candidate Obama didn't say.

Regarding the larger war on terror, Obama denounced Bush for advancing a "false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we provide." His administration, he pledged, would provide law enforcement the tools to deal with terrorists "without undermining our Constitution and our freedom." He denounced "illegal wiretapping of American citizens," "tracking citizens who do nothing more that protest a misguided war" and "ignoring the law when it is inconvenient."

"That is not who we are," he scolded.
There are, sadly, even more presidential prevarications in Charen's column. She concludes with this:
The president assures us that "no one is listening to our phone calls," and that may be true. But this administration also assured us that no sweeping data collection on American citizens was going on, that the IRS was not unfairly singling out conservatives, that the Justice Department had not attempted to prosecute journalists, and that the Benghazi attack was the response to a video.

It would be nice to trust the president, but it wouldn't be wise.
This, I surmise, is why Americans are so troubled by the NSA eavesdropping. It's not so much the infringement on our privacy, although there is that, but even more it's that the president has squandered away the trust of the people. An administration which uses the power of the IRS and the Department of Justice to punish political enemies is not the sort of administration that can be trusted not to use the NSA for the same purpose.