What a difference Democrats make

With little fanfare or attention, President Obama signed a reauthorization of the PATRIOT Act on Feb. 2. The Democratic Congress approved the three sections of the previous law without any limits or protections for citizens that civil libertarians had called necessary. The 2008 Democratic national platform read, “Our Constitution is not a nuisance. It is the foundation of our democracy. … As we combat terrorism, we must not sacrifice the American values we are fighting to protect. … We will revisit the Patriot Act and overturn unconstitutional executive decisions issued during the past eight years.”

A measure introduced by U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy contained protections for the public, but Democrats responded to Republican opposition that might block the Senate leadership’s 60 vote threshold for passage, so Democrats caved in and stripped those provisions from the bill.