Interviewer: As soon as Obama was reelected, it was reported that there was another drone bombing in Yemen that affected innocent civilians. Is this is a sign of things to come, to continue with the Obama administration, or do you think it is going to get better or worse? What’s your expectation over the next four years with Obama as president?
Glenn Greenwald: I think it’s all going to get much worse. You know, there’s this theory that he can be liberated from these policies now because he has won his second term and no longer needs to move to the center–but I think the center’s actually where he prefers to be–and I think the theory that is more compelling is that he no longer needs the base of the Democratic party or progressives.
I think you are going to see him do a bunch of policies that will anger his base: he is eager to do that. And I think accelerating these counter terroism policies of the Bush administration is definitely something that’s on the horizon.
Interviewer: This is what perplexes me because there’s really isn’t much outcry or criticism of him on the left or the right on these policies specifically. Why do you think that is? Why isn’t there such an outcry like there was under George W. Bush?
Glenn Greenwald: I think conservatives are actually being pretty principled and commendable even though their views are repulsive in that they were supportive of these policies whether there was a Republican president, and they didn’t change their minds and start attacking Obama over them. They have stayed supportive. If you look at what any right wing figure says when asked about drones or assasinations or Guantanamo or indefinite detentions or secrecy or any of that, they sing Obama’s praises, including people like Dick Cheney or Michael Hayden, the former CIA Director in the Bush years. So they are being totally consistent.
The people who are being inconsistent and unprincipled are progressives, liberals, Democrats, who pretended to be so outraged by these policies during the Bush years. And I remember a lot of Republicans saying that they were only making these complaints, and voicing these grievances, for partisan opportunism. And it turns out that they were totally right because these policies under the Obama administration don’t bother the vast bulk of these very same progressives who were shrieking about it when there was a Republican president. In fact, many of them have become outright supportive.
So when you combine the principled support of conservatives with the grotesque opportunism of Democrats, what you have is a fairly substantial portion of the citizenry who is supportive of these policies. And therefore the controversies that were in the Bush years no longer exist.