Politico: Obama: I’m Not Cheney
Though they are very distant cousins, Barack Obama and Dick Cheney are different individuals. Unfortunately, their preferred privacy and national security policies are similar.
This is why Obama felt compelled to make a public statement that he is not, in fact, the former vice president. If you are forced to say something to that effect for PR reasons, it’s a good indication that you really are being Dick Cheney, at least regarding certain illiberal policies.
This is sad to see. When Obama was elected, I was optimistic that he would roll back some of Bush and Cheney’s post-9/11 excesses regarding civil liberties and privacy violations, security theater, and wars abroad. The last five years have proven me very wrong. Obama’s experience makes me skeptical that the next president, even if he or she campaigns as a civil libertarian, will grow into the office in a more healthy way, regardless of party.
The tragedy of 9/11, contrary to my thoughts at the time, has turned out to be a transformative event in the relationship between government and citizen. That transformation has been almost entirely negative. Despite this post’s unrelenting pessimism, I remain confident that this course will right itself someday. Transparency, and not just of the Edward Snowden variety, is an important first step in that long process.