A friend of mine likes to occasionally upbraid me for my civil libertarian tendencies. Don’t you get it, he says, Obama is running things right now! We need to stop worrying and learn to love untrammeled executive authority! If we wanted, we could waterboard the shit out of Dick Cheney and crush some teabagger testicles until no one can teabag them anymore!

You’d think the prospect of Obama making the sorts of claims of far-reaching executive authority that Bush made would trouble the teabaggers, especially when Glenn Beck and the rest talk about restoring the constitution and shit, but they’re more concerned about restoring the parts of the constitution that would make Obama three-fifths of every other president. I don’t know how the greater constitutional peril comes from hypothetical tax increases and not, say, torture and warrantless surveillance and so forth, but I guess the baggers believe that’ll happen to the Brown Folk overseas. And so I will merely celebrate diversity, politically speaking, by noting that Obama is embracing the Patriot Act.

Where’s the hysteria? You think Obama’s nationalizing health care but it’s cool if he looks at your medical records? OK man have it your way. We’ll be vigilant for actual liberty; and you can handle the race and class privilege vapors. A fair division of labor, and a clarifying one.