Seriously: if you were a Bush follower, wouldn't you feel as though you were owed a major apology for all the accusations and the fuss that came from Democrats and media figures, accusing you of supporting radical and Constitution-shredding policies when, it turns out, they actually crave those policies in order to feel safe? Doesn't all of this bolster the Republican claim that those attacks on the Bush administration for civil liberties abuses were not due to genuine conviction, but rather for partisan gain (in the case of Democratic officials) and cheap, preening, wet-finger-in-the-air moralizing (in the case of media stars)?
Consider the example of military commissions. When the Bush administration unveiled those, the reaction from Democrats, progressives and media outlets was overwhelmingly and intensely negative, on the ground that military commissions (no matter what rules they followed) were appropriate only for "battlefield justice," when there was no other alternative. The consensus was that our normal system of justice -- developed over two hundred years -- was the only just and proper venue to try accused Terrorists, had been proven effective, and beyond that, the perception that we were inventing new and inferior tribunals of justice for Muslims would fuel Terrorism and make us more unsafe. What happened to all of that? Was there a single Democrat or progressive defending military commissions when Bush and Cheney unveiled them as their preferred method for trying Terrorists? Now, suddenly, Terrorists belong in military commissions -- at GITMO? So the defining creations of the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld approach are now the centerpieces of the Democratic and media consensus.
All of these attacks on the Obama administration really leave one wondering: what is it exactly that Bush and Cheney did wrong? Was it just the waterboarding (the official authorization for which was withdrawn several years before Bush left office and which, in any event, people like Richard Cohen and Michael Crowley still crave)? Everything else other than the "enhanced interrogation techniques" was good? What happened to all the profound talk about how they ruined our image in the world and violated our "core principles" and how we can simultaneously Stay Safe and adhere to our values -- which happened to be a central theme of Obama's successful presidential campaign? How can Democrats and media stars claim to find Bush and Cheney so distasteful as they simultaneously attack Obama for reversing their defining policies in a few isolated instances? In the areas of civil liberties and Terrorism, what exactly did Bush and Cheney do wrong?