'George W. Obama'? Not Quite

The jab is an easy out if you're trashing the president over the NSA scandal, but it doesn't fit.

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Yes, Obama has clearly flip-flopped on domestic surveillance, since his NSA still carries out exactly the kind of "fishing expedition" that then-Sen. Obama railed against back in 2005. But for conservatives to interpret this as some sort of post hoc vindication of the Bush era -- or for liberals to take it as a wholesale reversal by the guy they've voted twice to put into office -- is to misread the character of the people we elevate to the presidency.

Obama is no Bush, but they share at least one trait that applies to nearly anyone who has held the office of president: Both men aspire to the cliché "He kept us safe" -- and neither is particularly invested in making a new cliché out of "He protected our privacy."

David Swerdlick is a contributing editor at The Root. Follow him on Twitter.

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David Swerdlick is an associate editor at The Root. Follow him on Twitter.

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