There's nothing wrong about liberals defending liberals. But why do liberals ignore liberals who violate liberal values? That's the question which Conor Friedersdorf asks in The Atlantic: He cites a recent article by Jonathan Chait, which defends President Barack Obama to liberals while ignoring the latter's vicious attack on liberal values.
Apparently it isn't even worthy of mention that Obama's actions in Libya violated the War Powers Resolution, the president's own professed standards for what he can do without Congressional permission, and the legal advice provided to him by the Office of Legal Counsel.
In Chait's telling, expanded drone strikes in Pakistan are a clear success. Why even grapple with Jane Mayer's meticulously researched article on the risks of an drone war run by the CIA, Glenn Greenwald's polemics on the innocent civilians being killed, or Jeff Goldberg and Marc Ambinder's reporting on the Pakistani generals who are moving lightly guarded nuclear weapons around the country in civilian trucks as a direct consequence of the cathartic bin Laden raid.
Chait mentions the Iraq withdrawal, but doesn't point out that Obama sought to violate his campaign promise, and would've kept American troops in the country beyond 2011 had the Iraqis allowed it; that as it is, he'll leave behind a huge State Department presence with a private security army; and that he's expanding America's presence elsewhere in the Persian Gulf to make up for the troops no longer in Iraq. Is any of that possibly relevant to a liberal's assessment?
Perhaps most egregiously, Chait doesn't even allude to Obama's practice of putting American citizens on a secret kill list without any due process, or even consistent, transparent standards.
Nor does he grapple with warrantless spying on American citizens, Obama's escalation of the war on whistleblowers, his serial invocation of the state secrets privilege, the Orwellian turn airport security has taken, the record-breaking number of deportations over which Obama presided, or his broken promise to lay off medical marijuana in states where dispensing it is legal.
The hallmark of American politics today is that neither conservatives nor liberals live up to their professed principles, with the exclusion of a principled few. Once in office, avowed fiscal conservatives bust the budget. Professed civil libertarians trash Americans' liberties and the Constitution.
Friedersdorf deserves an answer. Why do the liberals among us seem to care so little when a liberal president violates liberal principles?