In an interview at NPR, Jonathan Turley explains that while President Bush was bad news for civil liberties, President Obama has been even worse:
It is a strong language, but I think civil libertarians are coming to grips with what is really a building disaster for our movement, and it’s been a rather difficult process. You know, I have a large civil liberties blog, and there’s a lot of soul-searching among civil libertarians about what exactly happened. But we are engaging in a sense of collective denial when we deal with President Obama.
[. . .]
And I think that’s part of the purpose of this column, is to address the fact that President Obama is a perfect nightmare when it comes to civil liberties. He not only adopted most of President Bush’s policies in the civil liberties areas when it comes to terrorism, but he actually expanded on them. He outdid George Bush.
And they range. His position on torture and refusing to have people investigated or prosecuted for torture, on privacy lawsuits. He pushed aggressively for the dismissal of dozens of lawsuits brought by private interest organizations. He’s for immunity for people who engaged in warrantless surveillance. He has fought standing for people even to be able to get courts to review his programs, much like George Bush. He kept military tribunals and the authority to make the discretionary choice of sending some people to a real court, some people to a military tribunal. He has asserted the right to kill U.S. citizens based solely on his own discretion, that he believes them to be a threat to the country.
His administration has, once again, as with the Bush administration, cited secret law, that — and including a case of assassinating citizens — a law that we’re not allowed to see, but we have to trust them.
[. . .]
They just have a very difficult time opposing a man who’s an icon and has made history — the first black president, but also the guy that replaced George Bush. And the result is something akin to the Stockholm syndrome, where you’ve got this identification with your captor. I mean, the Democratic Party is split, civil libertarians are split, and the Democratic Party itself is now viewed by most of libertarians as very hostile toward civil liberties.
Senators and members of the House, it turns out, were aware of many of these abuses and never informed people.