Good and hard. While he’s complaining about the quote-unquote “War on Whistle-blowers,” I feel that Balko should consider this observation from just before the 2008 elections:
This isn’t to say that Barack Obama would be any better. Government would undoubtedly grow under his watch. And from my libertarian perspective, he has been increasingly disappointing even on the issues where he’s supposed to be good. We may not go to war with Iran in an Obama administration, but we’d likely become entrenched in a prolonged nation-building adventure in the Sudan. Obama’s vote on the FISA bill and telecom immunity also suggests that, for all his criticisms of President Bush’s use of executive power and assaults on civil liberties, Obama wouldn’t be much better. On the drug war, Obama has promised to end the federal raids on medical marijuana clinics in states that have legalized the drug for treatment, but he wants to resurrect failed federal criminal justice block grant programs that have had some disastrous effects on civil liberties.
While I’m not thrilled at the prospect of an Obama administration (especially with a friendly Congress), the Republicans still need to get their clocks cleaned in two weeks…
…which was made by, hey! Radley Balko. Personally, I’m more sympathetic to Balko than I am to say, Glenn Greenwald* – the latter’s a nasty ideologue while the former just didn’t appreciate the difference between ‘bad’ and ‘worse’ – but as somebody who actually has to live in this country I am distinctly not enamored of the idea that the only way to make things better is to deliberately go about making things worse first. A lot of otherwise sentient folks made that argument in 2006 and 2008, and I would take it as a personal favor if all of those people could show a little chagrin at how their ever-so-clever pseudo-revolutionary strategy blew up in everybody’s faces.
Thanks in advance!
*Whose extensive whine on the subject of said whistle-blower thing was extensively quoted by Balko. You will of course be utterly unsurprised to find out that Greenwald never happened to mention that said ‘whistleblowing’ apparently burned one of our foreign assets. Mind you, Greenwald’s notoriously indifferent to foreigners being harmed by his ideological stances, particularly if they’re not Europeans.
[UPDATE]: And Greenwald’s an actual hypocrite, too. Now that’s just funny.