Adam Serwer:

I think it's pretty silly for Andrew Sullivan to refer to the "Obama-Bush police state." The beginnings of modern acquiescence to excesses in law enforcement and incarceration begins with Richard Nixon's "Law and Order" campaign of 1968, and has been nurtured by both parties and several administrations since. A more accurate title might be the "Nixon-Ford-Carter-Reagan-Bush-Clinton-Bush-Obama police state."

That does have a ring to it. Serwer's larger point:

More important, both Obama and Bush recognized that the ballooning incarceration rate was something that needed to be dealt with. Bush stuck his toe in the water by supporting the Second Chance Act, and Obama has gone further by supporting a repeal of the crack/powder disparity, putting millions in Justice Department grants for re-entry programs, and picking a drug czar who wants to de-escalate the war on drugs. Personally, I'd like to see the president do a lot more, like bring an end to fusion centers and paramilitary raids on nonviolent drug dealers. Still, this administration is already a welcome change from tradition.

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