On NSA, Obama Did Not Betray the Left: They Deluded Themselves

The left and the media are taking President Barack Obama to task for reversing himself on the question of whether the federal government should have the broad surveillance powers exercised by the National Security Agency. The president himself has admitted changing his mind. In his speech today, he recalled: “As a senator, I was critical of several practices, such as warrantless wiretaps.” The implication is that as president, he saw that the government really did need some of those intelligence tools to stop terrorist attacks after all.

That is only partly true. Obama’s betrayal of his former left-wing posture on the NSA began during the 2008 election, when he caved on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. He still pretended to be outraged, telling Americans “the Bush Administration…undermined the Constitution by intercepting the communications of innocent Americans without their knowledge or the required court orders.” But he was more afraid of being seen as soft on terrorism and national security than he was about any supposed fealty to the Constitution.

The left held out hope that he would filibuster FISA. Then they held out hope that Obama’s vote for FISA was just another one of the gestures he had to make in order to win the presidency, which he would later reverse (such as his opposition to gay marriage). But they (and the media) allowed themselves to be fooled. The fact is, that Obama does not care about the Constitution. He just cares about power. You can debate whether the NSA programs violate the Fourth Amendment all you like. It doesn’t matter. You see–Obama’s got a pen