Look at All the Civil Liberties Democrats Pretended to Care About in 2008

Since the GOP's 2012 party platform is (understandably) in the news this week, I thought it might be helpful to remind voters what the Democrats were promising in 2008. For instance, this section on the "false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we demand":

The Democratic Party rejects this dichotomy.

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 the tracking of citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war. We reject torture. 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. [...]

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.

It's hard to remember now, but Democrats really did used to talk about that stuff a lot.

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  • ||

    In Australia these would be called non-core promises.

  • Tim||

    There's no Australian word for bullshit?

  • Bardas Phocas||

    They call it 'Wallabangshit' in their freakish antipodean language.

  • Bee Tagger||

    I'm trying to think back to all of the Fosters beer commercials I've seen.

  • WTF||

    Wallabangshit: Australian for Fosters.

  • Tim||

    I thought that was Mel Gibson's birth name.

  • WTF||

    Democrats really did used to talk about that stuff a lot.

    And anyone who actually thought it was more than just empty talk is a fucking idiot.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    This is true, although it is moderately funny to throw their lying words back in their faces.

    It's only moderately funny since they have no sense of shame (after all, these are politicians we're talking about).

  • LTC(ret) John||

    So we weren't the one we were waiting for?!

    Next thing you are going to tell me is that the oceans didn't stop rising, the planet did not heal and we haven't become a post-racial, post-partisan paradise.

  • WTF||

    Next thing you are going to tell me is that the oceans didn't stop rising, the planet did not heal and we haven't become a post-racial, post-partisan paradise.

    That's only because the evil rethuglicans thwarted him. It will all be different the second term, we promise!

  • Brutus||

    The port side would be so much like little cuddly bunnies if it wasn't for people who disagree with them.

  • juris imprudent||

    This kind of cuddly bunny no doubt.

  • Tim||

    If Obama looses I'm pretty sure we'll all be hearing about racist Amerika for years.

  • Raven Nation||

    At the least.

  • ||

    We arent hearing about it now? We wont hear about it if he wins?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    If Obama loses... America is racist.

    If Obama wins... America is still racist.

  • GILMORE||

    Well, Republicans are all racist at least =

    http://themonkeycage.org/blog/.....cal-party/

    this was the topic of much debate in places like the Economist's "Democracy in America"... I personally think most discussion of 'racism' at all is simply a brush that the Left loves to tar (RACIST!)anyone with because they are so self-consciously convinced of their own cultural moral superiority. Its nothing to do with America, and everything to do with obnoxious Liberal smugness about how *obviously* morally superior they are.

    libertarians confuse them for many reasons. One being, they don't understand how we're "good" on gays, mexicans, and anti-war... but also TEH BAD because we don't believe in affirmative action or speech-codes and are pro-gun-ownership et al. They ultimately must resort to their Koch-puppet to reinforce their image of the Corporatist anti-hippy evil-beings that we are.

  • Brutus||

    Only one "K" in that, Tim?

  • Fluffy||

    Here's a question I have. It's about the relationship between the requirements imposed on the executive branch by law, and the requirements imposed on that branch by appropriations.

    For example, consider the quandary that would arise if I, Fluffy, were elected President by a massive write-in campaign this November.

    The two traditional parties could mine my considerable history of radical public statements here and elsewhere and conclude that I intended pretty dramatic changes. So they might try to forestall those changes using appropriations limits.

    They might say, "Well, Fluffy's going to pardon a lot of people we don't want pardoned. So we'll use the rump Congress to pass an appropriations bill, Boland-amendment-style, saying that no funds can be expended to issue pardons. No pens, no paper, no toner. No part of any executive branch employee's salary. No electricity to open the doors of prisons. Etc."

    Would I be bound to obey such a restriction?

    To me it seems that the Constitution gives me the power to pardon, and the Congress can't wipe that power out by attempting to deny me pens and paper. So I would be constitutionally entitled to ignore the Congress and use the existing fallow resources of the executive branch to accomplish my pardons. If I find a pen between the cushions of a couch in the Oval Office, I can use it. If the prisons are still open and their employees are at work, I can use some portion of their time to open the prison doors. Etc.

  • Fluffy||

    This is important to the Guantanamo question, because as far as I know, the Congress stopped the President from transferring the Gitmo prisoners to federal courts by denying him gasoline and planes to move the prisoners via the appropriations process. But to me, as long as the courts are open and the federal laws against murder and conspiracy are on the books, it's the executive's job to apprehend criminals and deliver them to the courts, and the Congress can't change that by attacking his jet fuel budget. If the Congress wants the courts closed and the laws against murder and conspiracy taken off the books, it can close the courts and repeal those laws, but until it does that if I'm President it's my duty to scrounge up the resources to catch criminals and send them to the courts.

  • Randian||

    I suppose you could take private donations, too.

    Worked for Reagan.

  • Tim||

    I predict a Tony-free thread.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Would that every thread were Tony-free.

  • ||

    But how can this case of hypocrisy for the Democrats ever compare to the heterogeneous Libertarian movement, whose supporters favor government power in ways that contradict their stance on limited government? You know... like wanting a military. And police.

  • Tim||

    In fairness, he didn't build that prison camp-somebody else did that.

  • Rich||

    We reject the tracking of citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war.

    However, since *our* wars are not misguided, we heartily embrace the tracking of *those* protesters. Anyway, come to think of it, everybody we're tracking has done a *lot* more than protest a misguided war.

    Continuing to study Obamaese ....

  • SugarFree||

    It is a rich and wondrous language for the purposes of parsing and obfuscation.

  • Rich||

    We will not use signing statements to nullify or undermine duly enacted law.

    But when we deem that Congress is refusing to act or is acting too slowly, we will use signing statements to implement duly enacted law.

  • Fluffy||

    We reject the tracking of citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war.

    "But we DEMAND the tracking of citizens who protest the war on poverty, the war on guns, and what they believe to be a war on religion!"

  • Romulus Augustus||

    Crickets.
    Oh look over there, Republicans favor rape!

  • Doctor Whom||

    Thank you for your thoughtful question, and in response -- Like, OMG, Paul Ryan will completely shut down all social programs and push seniors onto ice floes, and Mittens pays a lower effective tax rate than I do.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Welch, you fool. All of this is an argument for four more years. They just need four more years to get it done, four years where the president doesn't have to worry about re-election. Just four more years.

  • ||

    Fisty, four years sounds optimistic. Obama needs more. Luckily, as it's a living Constitution the 22nd Amendment shouldn't be a problem.

  • Bardas Phocas||

    ... and the drones don't sleep.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    "We support constitutional protections and judicial oversight on any surveillance program involving Americans unless they're members of the Libertarian or Constitution political parties, or display Gadsden flags or Ron Paul or FairTax bumperstickers on their gas-powered cars"

    et cetera.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    "We at the Southern Poverty Law Center endorse the above message."

  • Killazontherun||

    Just before dinner on the night of May 26 2011, the United States Senate voted 72-23 to preserve the most audacious government surveillance and seizure powers of the Patriot Act. Groups like No Labels and Americans Elect which judge the value of policy by the bipartisan nature of their support should be happy with the Patriot Act: 41 Senate Republicans and 31 Senate Democrats voted in favor of the Patriot Act tonight. Opposition to the Patriot Act was more heavily Democratic: 18 Senate Democrats voted against the Patriot Act tonight, but only 4 Republican Democrats did. 1 Independent, the consistently anti-authoritarian Bernie Sanders of Vermont, also voted against the renewal of the Patriot Act.

    http://irregulartimes.com/inde.....ct-may-26/

    When a majority of Democratic senators voted to extend the Patriot Act, they weren't voting the same nefarious bill that Rethuglicans voted to support. Though an exact duplicate of the Republican copy, their version was morally superior in every way.

  • Killazontherun||

    BTW, there is no such thing as an anti authoritarian socialist except for a few highly scattered hippies and hedge preachers who really take the voluntary idea society seriously.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Just more proof that Team Blue shits on the notion of liberty just as gleefully as Team Red does.

  • Scotticus Finch||

    Episiarch| 8.28.08 @ 3:29PM |#

    Talk is cheap. Talk from politicians is less than cheap, it's fucking zero.

    Thus spoke the oracle (in the linked 2008 HyR post). You'll never go broke betting on politicians to fail to keep their promises.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Seriously? A meme but no alt-text?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Well, he would have done all that stuff, if it hadn't been for those meddling teabagsterdz.

  • freeforall232||

    Here's Mitt Romney's version:

    We will restore our constitutional traditions, and recover our nation's founding commitment to law.

    We support surveillance programs involving Americans. We will review the current Administration's warrantless wiretapping program and increase it's size. We approve wiretapping of American citizens, wherever they live. We approve the use of national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime. We will track citizens who protest war. We approve torture. We will implement sweeping claims of "inherent" presidential power. We will revisit the Patriot Act and fix any loopholes left open for the past eight years. We will use signing statements to nullify or undermine duly enacted law. [...]

    We will ship away prisoners in the dead of night to be tortured in far off countries, and detain without trial or charge prisoners who can and should be brought to justice for their crimes, and maintain a network of secret prisons to jail people beyond the reach of the law. We will trample the time-honored principle of habeas corpus. We will update 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.

    So essentially what Obama has done for the past four years...

  • GILMORE||

    We will respect the time-honored principle of habeas corpus

    "...which we think is a quaint and amusing historical notion, and we will reflect upon it often when using robot drones to blow up "suspects" (US Citizens or otherwise, at home or abroad), even sometimes making snarky puns like, "HE-BE-A CORPSE-US NOW, BITCH!" ... Indeed, we will 'respect' the 'principle' much as we respect other amusing historical constitional concepts, like freedom of association, the right to bear arms, or the concept of a limited government with enumerated powers... all of which we think are 'respectable' in the same way silly old TV Shows like "Lawrence Welk", "Family Affair" or "My Three Sons" are 'respectable' - i.e., 'irrelevant and out of date, but nevertheless quaint'."

  • mad libertarian guy||

    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 the tracking of citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war. We reject torture. 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. [...]

    Of course we will steadfastly deny that any man fingered by Obama as a terrorist, including any American, has the right of due process. We'll just drone his ass. And remember that we will also deny that Americans, on American soil, have the right to not be held without warrant or charge.

    Fuck Obama with a hot poker.

  • Tamfang||

    What if they gave a press conference
    and nobody came
    because nothing they say can be believed?

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