Glenn Greenwald sums up the frightening political erosion of the civil libertarian posture:
A bipartisan group from Congress sponsors legislation to strip Americans of their citizenship based on Terrorism accusations. Barack Obama claims the right to assassinate Americans far from any battlefield and with no due process of any kind. The Obama administration begins covertly abandoning long-standing Miranda protections for American suspects by vastly expanding what had long been a very narrow “public safety” exception, and now Eric Holder explicitly advocates legislation to codify that erosion. John McCain and Joe Lieberman introduce legislation to bar all terrorism suspects, including Americans arrested on U.S. soil, from being tried in civilian courts, and former Bush officials Bill Burck and Dana Perino — while noting (correctly) that Holder’s Miranda proposal constitutes a concession to the right-wing claim that Miranda is too restrictive — today demand that U.S. citizens accused of terrorism and arrested on U.S. soil be treated as enemy combatants and thus denied even the most basic legal protections (including the right to be charged and have access to a lawyer).
Charli Carpenter comments:
He declines however to suggest what ought to be done to change this trend – in other words, is it too late for dissent to make a difference? I welcome readers’ ideas. I think many voters thought they’d already taken the appropriate step by electing a progressive, pro-civil liberties leader. With the writing on the wall, what now?
I don’t think the answer to her question is particularly difficult—people who want to halt the erosion of civil liberties need to do a better job of persuading people that the erosion of civil liberties would be a bad thing. If you have an incumbent administration being urged by the opposition to seize more power, and the public wants the administration to seize more power, then you get what we have today. People on the good team are sometimes in denial about opinion on this subject, but read the numbers—the public wants Guantanamo Bay open, wants suspects tried in military courts, and thinks we should give up more civil liberties in order to enhance security.