POLITICS
09/09/2010 04:14 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

White House Expands On Executive Powers Once Criticized By Obama, No Doubt To The Delight Of The Base

As you may have heard, in these last eight weeks of the campaign season, the Democrats are going to be ramping up efforts to remind voters of how bad things were for America during the Bush administration, and how newly empowered GOP majorities will be a setback to the ongoing efforts to get our "car" out of the "ditch." And then there's this, from Charlie Savage, in yesterday's New York Times:

That's from Glenn Greenwald at Salon, who provides the punchline:

The distorted, radical use of the state secret privilege -- as a broad-based immunity weapon for compelling the dismissal of entire cases alleging Executive lawbreaking, rather than a narrow discovery tool for suppressing the use of specific classified documents -- is exactly what the Bush administration did to such extreme controversy. To see how true that is, just look at this article from Talking Points Memo, from April of last year, in which Zachary Roth consulted with numerous legal experts about my argument that Obama was abusing this weapon in exactly the same way Bush did.

Anyone remember how President Barack Obama campaigned on these issues, back in 2008? From the same article*:

As a senator and candidate for the White House, President Obama had criticized the Bush administration's frequent use of the state-secrets privilege. In February 2009, when his weeks-old administration reaffirmed the Bush administration's view on the case, civil libertarian groups that had supported his campaign expressed shock and dismay.

[*N.B.: Savage's original has since been edited. The original lede, pictured at the top of the piece, has been rewritten. The paragraph above has also been changed, and no longer appears in the copy.]

Would it be terribly "professional left" of me to point out that this is the sort of thing that contributes to diminish enthusiasm among the Democratic base, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs?

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