Tuesday, April 5, 2011

2012 Watch

Not much of it.
I consider myself to be a pretty strong civil libertarian. That begs the question, who on Earth should I support in 2012?

Conor Friedersdorf (rightly I think), skewers Obama's record thus far:

Shortly after Barack Obama won in 2008, civil libertarians had reason to be cautiously optimistic. As a Senator he'd advocated decriminalizing marijuana. Campaigning for president, he promised to end excesses in the War on Terrorism. Unlike some Democrats, he didn't seem particularly interested in restricting the right to bear arms. If his positions on campaign finance reform and economic freedom left something to be desired, he'd at least won a mandate to reverse the Bush Administration's most egregious civil liberties violations, proving such a thing was possible in post-9/11 America.

That mandate has been squandered. Since his January 2009 inauguration, President Obama has embraced positions that he denounced as a candidate, presided over a War on Drugs every bit as absurd as it's always been, asserted the unchecked, unreviewable power to name American citizens enemy combatants and assassinate them, and launched a war without seeking Congressional authorization. His attorney general's efforts to live up to his boss' campaign rhetoric have been thwarted at every turn. And presiding over the disgraceful treatment of Bradley Manning, he has lost the right even to tout his record on detainee policy. On civil liberties, President Obama cannot be trusted.

The challenge of course is that his opponents on the right are frankly worse. My main beef with Obama is that he has rather consistently expanded upon the concept of the imperial executive installed during the Bush regime frankly, in ways that I find frightening. I don't believe any of the Republican candidates have responded to this expansion of authority as anything other than a slobbering wet-dream they'd like very much to get their hands on.  

Honestly, the only person that I've heard of running for national office who seems sufficiently strong on civil rights issues is this guy. Calling him a long shot, would be at best charitable.

In the end, I trust none of them. I just find the whole situation to be so terribly depressing.

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