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In descending order of fullfilling-his-promises (all promises from his "Obama's Plan to Defeat Terrorists Worldwide" 2008 campaign document, pp. 5-6):

* He promised to end torture and rendition, and did so, AFAIK. +1

* He made a good faith effort to close Guantanamo, and failed. Let's call this a wash. 0

* He promised to revist the Patriot Act and implement "real and robust" oversight of the new powers it granted. This one's complicated, but PolitiFact seems to call it a wash. 0

* He promised to "eliminate" warantless wiretaps specifically, but hasn't done anything to accomplish this. In fact, he's signed reauthorizations of the Patriot Act twice without any change in the wiretapping sections. -1

* He promised to "restore habeas corpus". In reality, he's claimed the right to not only imprison foreigners without that right, but also American citizens. -1

* Not only that, but he claims the right to kill American citizens without trial. This isn't breaking a specific campaign promise, since even Bush didn't claim this (AFAIK), but I'm including it anyway. -1

In sum, aside from torture, he's ranged from a disappointment to a disaster on civil liberties. And I love the guy otherwise.

Zach, he did not end rendition, though he did end some of the most appalling practices formerly involved.

We also have very little way of verifying, beyond leaked information, that the administration has behaved consistently with its policies and if it has, how well (not just with regard to rendition but torture as well).

So I would place it more as a +0.5 or generously, +0.75.


http://www.propublica.org/blog/item/as-rendition-controversy... http://www.propublica.org/article/the-best-reporting-on-dete...

Hey, I realize this doesn't add much, but I'd like to thank everyone in this thread. I"m new here, but this is why I come to HN, people are disagreeing by citing sources and not yelling or being particularly acrimonious.

Your -1 on PATRIOT leaves out significant executive branch restrictions that have been added to the wiretapping authority, which makes sense, because Obama didn't have the political capital to force a legislative change. My source: ACLU.

Your -1 on "killing Americans without trial" is an allusion to the NDAA. The NDAA is a smoke-and-mirrors issue; the problem isn't Obama's NDAA, but rather the 2002 Bush AUMF, which is still in effect. NDAA's enemy combatant language limits the powers already granted to Obama by the AUMF.

Obama also appointed Sotamayor and Kagan to the Supreme Court, but that doesn't fit nicely into a message board narrative about civil liberties.

It is a drastic overstatement to call Obama a "disaster" on civil liberties.

I'm pretty sure that his/her negative rating for "killing Americans without trial" is due to our recent practice of killing Americans without trial: http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2012/0718/Families-sue-...

executive branch restrictions that have been added to the wiretapping authority

Restrictions, huh? Do you think those might be related to the NSA storing and processing[1] everything that happens on the Internet?

I sure am glad there are restrictions in place though!

[1] Yeah. Who knows. Let's just not go there.

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