When it comes to the election, much of the focus has been on the economy, an area where I don’t believe Obama really erred to the extent portrayed by his critics. The American economy was on fire in 2008 and the global economy is still in rough shape. In light of a historically obstructionist opposition, while the Wall Street Reform was paper-thin and the stimulus likely too small, he can point to the ACA, auto industry, and fairly steady job creation. The debt has ballooned, but GOP efforts to pin that on the President are totally disingenuous. Essentially, Obama can be given credit for avoiding a 2nd Great Depression.
Mother Jones took a look at the 2012 DNC platform. While much lip service was paid to reaffirming civil liberties after the previous administration so blatantly disregarded our democratic principles, 4 years have passed and limited progress has been made.
Below is the real + legitimate failure of the Obama Administration.
And there’s a simple reason. People don’t care. Bin Laden might be dead, but in this respect, he certainly won.
Indefinite Detention2008: “To build a freer and safer world, we will lead in ways that reflect the decency and aspirations of the American people. We will not ship away prisoners in the dead of night to be tortured in far-off countries, or detain without trial or charge prisoners who can and should be brought to justice for their crimes, or maintain a network of secret prisons to jail people beyond the reach of the law. We will respect the time-honored principle of habeas corpus, the seven century-old right of individuals to challenge the terms of their own detention that was recently reaffirmed by our Supreme Court.”
2012: Nothing. The Obama administration has maintained the practice of indefinitely detaining certain suspected terrorists. It has also made use of “proxy detention,” by which foreign countries detain US citizens under questionable conditions, although the administration did do away with the Bush-era “black sites.”
Warrantless Surveillance/PATRIOT Act2008: “We support constitutional protections and judicial oversight on any surveillance program involving Americans. We will review the current Administration’s warrantless wiretapping program. We reject illegal wiretapping of American citizens, wherever they live. We reject the use of national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime. We reject the tracking of citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war…We will revisit the Patriot Act and overturn unconstitutional executive decisions issued during the past eight years.”
2012: The platform is silent on this issue. This isn’t surprising since, at the urging of the Obama administration, congressional Democrats passed up the opportunity to reform the PATRIOT Act when they had a majority in both houses of Congress.
Gitmo 2008: “We will close the detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, the location of so many of the worst constitutional abuses in recent years. With these necessary changes, the attention of the world will be directed where it belongs: on what terrorists have done to us, not on how we treat suspects.”
2012: “[W]e are substantially reducing the population at Guantánamo Bay without adding to it. And we remain committed to working with all branches of government to close the prison altogether because it is inconsistent with our national security interests and our values.” In 2009, most Democrats voted against funding to close Gitmo, and there were substantial internal battles within the administration over doing so.
Racial Profiling in Fighting Terrorism 2008: “[W]e will ensure that law-abiding Americans of any origin, including Arab-Americans and Muslim-Americans, do not become the scapegoats of national security fears.”
2012: Nothing. The Obama administration has in fact retained the FBI’s Bush-era guidelines allowing race or religion to play some role in investigations.
Torture 2008: “We reject torture.”
2012: “Advancing our interests may involve new actions and policies to confront threats like terrorism, but the President and the Democratic Party believe these practices must always be in line with our Constitution, preserve our people’s privacy and civil liberties, and withstand the checks and balances that have served us so well. That is why the President banned torture without exception in his first week in office.” Despite Obama’s executive order banning torture, Americans who allege they have been detained abroad by foreign governments at the US’ request say they have been abused while in custody. It does not appear as though anyone will face charges over the Bush administration’s torture program, including those who went beyond its legal guidelines.