How would you have reacted in 2008 if any Republican ran promising to do the following?
(1) Codify indefinite detention into law;
(2) draw up a secret kill list of people, including American citizens, to assassinate without due process;
(3) proceed with warrantless spying on American citizens;
(4) prosecute Bush-era whistleblowers for violating state secrets;
(5) reinterpret the War Powers Resolution such that entering a war of choice without a Congressional declaration is permissible;
(6) enter and prosecute such a war;
(7) institutionalize naked scanners and intrusive full body pat-downs in major American airports;
(8) oversee a planned expansion of TSA so that its agents are already beginning to patrol American highways, train stations, and bus depots;
(9) wage an undeclared drone war on numerous Muslim countries that delegates to the CIA the final call about some strikes that put civilians in jeopardy;
(10) invoke the state-secrets privilege to dismiss lawsuits brought by civil-liberties organizations on dubious technicalities rather than litigating them on the merits;
(11) preside over federal raids on medical marijuana dispensaries;
(12) attempt to negotiate an extension of American troops in Iraq beyond 2011 (an effort that thankfully failed);
(13) reauthorize the Patriot Act;
(14) and select an economic team mostly made up of former and future financial executives from Wall Street firms that played major roles in the financial crisis.
Just because the GOP field is crowd of clowns doesn’t mean this man has not been a catastrophe. The secular messianism of the 2008 Obama campaign has ended up where all secular messianic claims do: with tyranny.