Vocal defenders of civil liberties are mostly operating outside the Democratic Party, whose insiders censured Bush and moved on.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- On Tuesday at the Democratic National Convention, delegates filing into Time Warner Cable Arena found on their seats a bound copy of their party's new platform, a document titled "Moving America Forward," but takes several steps back on civil liberties issues. Unlike in 2008, the Democrats are officially silent on indefinite detention, silent on the Patriot Act, and silent on racial profiling (for side-by-side comparisons, see Adam Serwer's analysis).
Watching the DNC on television four years ago, and speaking with supporters of Senator Barack Obama, I remember a Democratic Party vocally committed to reining in excesses in the War on Terror.
I remember outrage at Bush policies President Obama has since adopted.
On Tuesday, wandering around Charlotte, I found a lot of Occupy and Code Pink protesters who remain committed to those issues. Almost all now consider themselves outside the Democratic Party. Inside the convention hall, where I asked perhaps two dozen Democratic delegates what issues were most important to them, zero cited civil liberties, executive power, or drones.