Chickens of a feather

Revelations over the past few days of the Obama administration’s national security surveillance measures have prompted a furious reaction on the left. The New York Times announced that with the revelations the administration had forfeited all credibility, then ratcheted back its condemnation to apply only to “this issue.”

The Times isn’t getting off the Obama Express with a midterm to come and nearly four years to go, but the disillusionment is interesting. The Times apparently hadn’t much noticed that the Obama administration has maintained the Bush administration’s national security programs, however much it has modified the background music.

Running for office against the Bush administration’s national security policies, Obama announced that it was “time to turn the page.” To turn the page, Obama promised to “revise the PATRIOT Act.” Implying that Bush had compromised our rights, Obama said there was no reason we could not fight terrorism while maintaining our civil liberties. Obama professed to believe that the president’s exercise of powers under the PATRIOT Act required “real oversight to avoid jeopardizing the rights and ideals of all Americans.”

I thought the Bush administration had done a good job reconciling national security with civil liberties, but according to the critique of the ACLU and its fellow lefties, the dark night of fascism had descended on America. The times called for a redeemer and Obama would redeem the time. They believed.

To the extent that there is an awakening of some kind occurring on the left in year five of the Age of Obama, one wonders where they have been. Are they experiencing a dark night of the soul? Their faith is shaken. Obama is wondering how far he has to go to restore the faith.

He won’t have to go far. Or so it seems to me. To the extent that Obama is temporarily off balance with his base, the immortal words of the vile Jeremiah Wright apply: “…chickens are coming home to roost.”


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