More and more, and with startling regularity these days, President Barack Obama is not merely disappointing his followers. He is looking like the president with Orwellian "1984" on his mind, as Big Brother watches over us.
He is downright dismaying the people who elected him president.
It was rather disenchanting when Obama seemed to act a little wimpy — to borrow a word attributed to George H.W. Bush in the last century — during his first term.
Barack Obama quickly found his mojo during the 2012 presidential campaign, warhorse that he is, and returned smiles to the folks who believed in him all along.
See! We told you, they exclaimed in jubilation when he crushed Mitt Romney's spirit.
Now, however, it is not so easy to shrug off the snooping on The Associated Press and the Fox News Channel as well as the alarming NSA spying scandal. This gets to the heart of the matter — what else is the administration doing that we don't know about?
It's like a punch to the face, followed by one even harder to the stomach.
It's one thing for Richard Nixon to have presided over the Watergate fiasco in the 1970s. We all suspected that Nixon couldn't control his thirst for revenge on his real and imagined enemies. Plus, he had those aides who couldn't control their desire to crush Nixon's foes. They were a marriage made in political hell, all right.
But Obama? How could he be the chief executive of an administration that had the potential to spy — and there is no other word for the act — on the records of millions of Verizon phone customers.
It makes his supporters feel embarrassed and, to say the least, confused.
The administration’s answer is that it hopes to gain valuable data about the movements and conversations of terrorist suspects, not law-abiding American citizens. That is not exactly terribly reassuring news, however.
Who knows what the snoops will hear on phone conversations — maybe yours, maybe mine? Presumably, the most they’ll get out of me is that I told a friend on the phone that I pushed someone out of the way on the 4 subway line to get a seat the other night, on my way to see Paul McCartney play at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
It is true. I did do that. But if some NSA snoop buttonholes me, I’ll deny everything. They are warned.
Jon Friedman writes the Media Matrix blog for Indiewire.com. He is also the author of "Forget About Today: Bob Dylan's Genius for (Re)Invention, Shunning the Naysayers, and Creating a Personal Revolution." Read more reports from Jon Friedman — Click Here Now.
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