Frustrating Poll of the Day

Ugh.

A majority of voters believe President Obama has been no better than his immediate predecessor, President George W. Bush, when it comes to balancing national security with the protection of civil liberties, according to a new poll for The Hill.

Thirty-seven percent of voters argue that Obama has been worse than Bush while 15 percent say he has been “about the same.”

The results cannot be fully explained as party line responses. More than one in five self-identified Democrats, 21 percent, assert that the Obama administration has not improved upon Bush’s record. So do 23 percent of liberals.

The results are especially striking given the liberal hopes that attended Obama’s election, the opprobrium he heaped upon Bush’s national security policies during the 2008 campaign and his early promise to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.

I guess ending torture, ending the war in Iraq while drawing out of Afghanistan, not to mention trying to close Guantanamo but being blocked by Congress who refused to pay for it isn’t good enough.

Naturally Glenn Greenwald ballyhooed the poll in his column and on Twitter, referencing major support for the Bush conflation. However, he failed to mention this part of it:

The poll found that 53 percent of likely voters said it should be legal for the U.S. government to kill non-U.S. citizens who meet that description. Meanwhile, 44 percent said it should be legal for the U.S. government to kill American citizens who it believes are terrorists and present an imminent threat.

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  • GrafZeppelin127

    People want to have it both ways. They want the outcomes but don’t want to embrace the means and methods necessary to achieve them. They want to be seen as supporting the ends but denouncing the means.

    It’s like people who call themselves “fiscally conservative, but socially liberal.” Which means nothing other than acting in your own interests all the time.

    Or supporters of the Iraq invasion who could only talk about the [hypothetical] benefits, ignoring the [very real] risks and costs.

    • http://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/ IrishGrrrl

      Indeed, war is ugly and Americans, generally speaking, have been protected for that ugliness. I think it speaks to our over-privileged, armchair warrior mentality. We want to win but by God, don’t tell us how dirty we have to get to do that. Zandar over at BJ really spells it out well:

      War is hell. The Pentagon is in the business of conducting said warfare in the most casualty-efficient way possible that still achieves the goal of ending the metabolic processes of The Bad Guys. The problem isn’t drones, the problem is the perpetual war machine that’s predated this President for a very, very long time. We’re screaming about al-Awlaki’s kid when My Lai, the bombing of Dresden, and Nagasaki and Hiroshima happened. Let’s face it, for America, that’s effing progress. We still need to move forward and I’d like to see drones not have to be used at all (because we weren’t in Af-Pak at all anymore) but let’s not pretend that President Obama somehow has the most blood on his hands of a US President, either, shall we?

      from http://www.balloon-juice.com/2013/02/10/droning-on-and-on/

      So again, Bob’s point about getting rid of the AUMF is spot on. It is one of the most important first steps to tamping down on that perpetual war machine.

      • GrafZeppelin127

        It kills me [no pun intended] that the same people who are afraid of “the government” wanting to “take over” and “impose tyranny” would never, ever consider de-funding the military. After all, “the government” can’t “take over” and “impose tyranny” without the military, so why not, proverbially speaking, take the gun out of the government’s hand?

        • http://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/ IrishGrrrl

          Yeah, me too! History proves time and time again that the military plays a crucial role in subjugation of a country’s own people. Not to mention how they are often a tool of dictators in their rise to power. Like the Weirmacht siding with the Nazi’s….many of those officers didn’t agree with Nazi’s ideas nor did they join the SS, but they wanted what Nazis had to offer (or at least promised them), a return to power and respectability for Germany. Without the support of that faction, Hitler would have been screwed. Then again, maybe that’s what right wingers are thinking…if they keep funding the military and keep it fed, when the sh*t goes down, they think the military will side with them. Hmmmm….now I will have to ponder that thought…….

          • muselet

            If you listen to Righties, the military is inherently Right-wing, ‘cuz patriotism! (of course). Which is obviously absurd, but it’s necessary to sustain the twin Righty fantasies of peaceful secession and taking back the country from all those undeserving dusky people.

            And you’re right, they really do think spending extravagantly on things that go boom will mean the Righties will have the eternal loyalty of the military.

            (Now I think about it, make that triplet Righty fantasies, because they also think high-ranking military officers live in the same neighborhood of cloud cuckoo land as they do.)

            –alopecia

  • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

    How unsurprising considering that the majority of Americans pays little to no attention to what’s happening in politics at any given time.

    And fuck Glenn Greenwald!

  • i_a_c

    Wouldn’t you know, the question of whether Obama is “worse than Bush” on civil liberties goes down party lines. According to the crosstabs (linked in the Hill article), 69% of Republicans believe he is worse than Bush, and 78% of Democrats believe he is better than Bush. “Other” splits 40-35.

    So as far as I’m concerned this Hill article isn’t even accurate.

  • trgahan

    Funny how the use of drone technology has such “principled” opposition from our “thinkers” in media, but opposing the use of assault rifle technology that, so far, has only been used to kill unarmed American citizens not so much.
    Regardless of reality, one action is “evil and clearly unconstitutional” while the other we just need to accept the results because it is a “constitutional” right.

    This is really just the right-wing working to get progressives to stay home in 2014, isn’t it?