Strong opinions, weakly held

Hillary Clinton vs Barack Obama on civil liberties

If you’ve been looking for an area of policy where there Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama differ substantially, you should read today’s op-ed by Jeffrey Rosen on civil liberties.

Most Americans don’t really care about civil liberties, at least enough to pay attention to them or to vote based on that issue. Many Americans are, in fact, completely OK with abuses of civil liberties as long as those abuses come with a promise that they’re necessary to keep us safe. Civil liberties are an area where the President has the most discretion. Even if Congress authorizes the executive branch to abuse civil liberties, the President can choose not to act on that authority. (Or, in the case of the Bush administration, can claim authority not actually granted to the executive branch by Congress or the Constitution.) For those reasons, as a civil libertarian, this is a key issue for me as a voter.


  1. Can you give us a ‘for dummies’ summary of the op-ed? I’d love to read it, but am short on time.

  2. The op-ed basically argues that Barack Obama seems to have a much deeper and more thorough commitment to defending civil liberties than does Hillary Clinton.

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