What Conor Friedersdorf Said

A few days ago, Conof Friedersdorf had a brilliant post on Obama’s surveillance speech which I covered a few posts back. He fisks the piece brilliantly, with seemingly effortless clarity and a deep knowledge of the issue.

I keep thinking about the speech Friedersdorf goes to work on here. It really was a low-water mark in the Obama presidency. He seemed so utterly sold out. So much the weary voice of the system. It would be really interesting to know the process of going from being the guy who wrote Dreams From My Father to being the guy defending the US state having Stasi powers.

Friedersdorf ends on this note:

The surveillance debate is arguably the most important of our era.

Yet throughout the surveillance debate, the executive branch, including Obama, has lied, obfuscated, and misled the American people in a variety of ways. Before Edward Snowden’s leaks, they could at least tell themselves that the disinformation was serving the purpose of keeping al-Qaeda operates from learning the general contours of our surveillance capabilities. But today, when that excuse has long since expired, Obama is still lying, obfuscating, and misleading the American people. In doing so, he is preventing representative democracy from functioning as well as it might. With the stakes so high, and his performance so dubious in so many places, Friday’s speech has got to be one of the low points of his presidency.


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