Conor Friedersdorf writes: Four years ago, the last time the Democrats adopted a platform, their presidential candidate championed civil liberties, insisted that closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay would make us safer from terrorists, and righteously denounced the expansive Bush-Cheney understanding of executive power. Said the official 2008 platform contemporaneously adopted by Democratic delegates (links added):
We will restore our constitutional traditions, and recover our nation’s founding commitment to liberty under law. We support constitutional protections and judicial oversight on any surveillance program involving Americans. We will review the current Administration’s warrantless wiretapping program. We reject illegal wiretapping of American citizens, wherever they live. We reject the use of national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime … We reject sweeping claims of “inherent” presidential power. We will revisit the Patriot Act and overturn unconstitutional executive decisions issued during the past eight years. We will not use signing statements to nullify or undermine duly enacted law. And we will ensure that law-abiding Americans of any origin, including Arab-Americans and Muslim-Americans, do not become the scapegoats of national security fears.
Another section is also pertinent:
We will provide our intelligence and law enforcement agencies with the tools to hunt down and take out terrorists without undermining our Constitution, our freedom, and our privacy … we will lead in ways that reflect the decency and aspirations of the American people. We will not ship away prisoners in the dead of night to be tortured in far-off countries, or detain without trial or charge prisoners who can and should be brought to justice for their crimes, or maintain a network of secret prisons to jail people beyond the reach of the law. We will respect the time-honored principle of habeas corpus, the seven century-old right of individuals to challenge the terms of their own detention that was recently reaffirmed by our Supreme Court.
We will close the detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, the location of so many of the worst constitutional abuses in recent years. With these necessary changes, the attention of the world will be directed where it belongs: on what terrorists have done to us, not on how we treat suspects.
If you click through to the links I’ve embedded above you’ll quickly get a sense of how thoroughly President Obama has betrayed the words and spirit of his candidacy and his party’s platform.