Obama explains his spy program to his billionaire Kool-Aid groupies: look how much better I am than Bush!
OBAMA: Now, having said all that, you’ll remember when I made that speech a couple of weeks ago about the need for us to shift out of a perpetual war mind-set, I specifically said that one of the things that we’re going to have to discuss and debate is how are we striking this balance between the need to keep the American people safe and our concerns about privacy because there are some tradeoffs involved.
I welcome this debate and I think it’s healthy for our democracy. I think it’s a sign of maturity because probably five years ago, six years ago we might not have been having this debate. And I think it’s interesting that there are some folks on the left but also some folks on the right who are now worried about it, who weren’t very worried about it when it was a Republican president.
It’s hard for those of us who aren’t lickspittle Obama fans to parse the meaning of all his great orations, but I think he’s saying: (a), it’s all Bush’s fault; and (b) “aren’t you glad I created the opportunity to debate the issue by continuing and expanding Bush’s program and thus gave a British newspaper an opportunity to discover it and open up the discussion? Am I great or what?”
The primary difference I see in the two wiretap programs is that Bush in fact did use his executive powers to go after terrorists while Obama (IRS, DOJ and now, NSA) uses them against his political enemies. The left hollered about the potential for abuse under Bush; now that Obama’s been exposed for actually doing it, they’ve gone silent.
(Obama’s concluding remarks: “And by the way, some of those people who think they have listening devices implanted in their brains? Well . . . ”)
UPDATE: This commentator sums it up nicely: Obama can’t be trusted with power
[T]he PRISM program, in the right hands and used with discretion, can be justified based on the threats to America. But in the wrong hands–in executive branch hands that have abused power and punished political enemies–it has the potential to be misused. Which brings me to the current chief executive.
My views on President Obama are such that very little would surprise me in terms of the ethical lines he would cross in order to gain and maintain political power.
That may seem like an overly harsh judgment, so let me take a moment to explain what I mean. I have become convinced, based on what I would argue is the increasing weight of the evidence, that Mr. Obama is a man whose sense of mission, his arrogance and self-righteousness, and his belief in the malevolence of his enemies might well lead him and his administration to act in ways that would seem to him to be justified at the time but, in fact, are wholly inappropriate.
I would include as evidence to support my assertion the president’s routine slander of his opponents, his serially misleading statements (including flat-out falsehoods about the lethal attacks on the Benghazi consulate), the IRS scandal and the public signals the president sent to that agency over the years, the unprecedented targeting of journalists by the Department of Justice and the attorney general’s nasty little habit of misleading Congress, Mr. Obama’s unusually dishonest campaign against Mitt Romney, and his overall contempt for the rule of law. He just doesn’t think that rules should apply to him, that he is above all that. Those who see themselves as world-historical figures tend to do that.