Last night, President Obama “signed” a four-year extension of the most controversial features of the Patriot Act. They used to be controversial, anyway; apparently no longer. President Obama merely said:
It’s an important tool for us to continue dealing with an ongoing terrorist threat.
That is quite a change from Obama’s original attitude toward the Patriot Act. When he was running for the Senate in 2003, Obama answered the question “Would you vote to repeal the Patriot Act?” by saying:
Yes, I would vote to repeal the U.S. Patriot Act, although I would consider replacing that shoddy and dangerous law with a new, carefully crafted proposal that addressed in a much more limited fashion the legitimate needs of law enforcement in combating terrorism….
From a “shoddy and dangerous law” that should be repealed to “an important tool for us to continue dealing with an ongoing terrorist threat”–just one more step in the apprenticeship of Barack Obama.