On civil liberties, meet the new boss, same as the old boss. A majority of Americans believe that President Barack Obama’s record balancing national security with civil liberty is about the same or worse than that of President George W. Bush.
According to a poll conducted by The Hill, 37 percent of voters believe that Obama is a worse civil liberties President than Bush was and 15 percent say the two are “about the same.” About one in five people identifying themselves as Democrats said the current President has failed to improve civil rights. Twenty-three percent of people self-identified as “liberals” shared a similar view.
The poll comes on the heels of a Justice Department leak of a white paper which outlines the Administration’s justification of acting as judge, jury and executioner against Americans deemed to be “imminent threats.”
The Hill poll found that 31 percent of respondents believe the government should not be able to kill its own citizens without due process, 41 percent said the government should have the right to kill citizens deemed terrorists.
A recent analysis by The New York Times suggests that the President is spared criticism that was once heaped upon Bush because he is a Democrat: “For four years, Mr. Obama has benefited at least in part from the reluctance of Mr. Bush’s most virulent critics to criticize a Democratic president. Some liberals acknowledged in recent days that they were willing to accept policies they once would have deplored as long as they were in Mr. Obama’s hands, not Mr. Bush’s.”