On Drones, It's Not Obama to Be Worried About—It's the Next Guy

Granting Obama too much leeway with regards to drone policy opens the door for abuse by future presidents.

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President Barack Obama walks off of Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013, after returning from a Democratic retreat in Annapolis, Md.
President Barack Obama walks off of Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Feb. 6, 2013, after returning from a Democratic retreat in Annapolis, Md.

Tucked at the end of today's New York Times piece about the parallels between President Obama's use of executive powers and President Bush's is a pair of quotations that neatly sums up the problem Democrats and liberals have (or at least should have) regarding Obama and his use of drones.

First there's this:

"We trust the president," former Gov. Jennifer Granholm of Michigan said on Current TV. "And if this was Bush, I think that we would all be more up in arms because we wouldn't trust that he would strike in a very targeted way and try to minimize damage rather than contain collateral damage."

[ See a collection of political cartoons on President Obama's drone policy.]

I am an admirer and supporter of President Obama. I'm satisfied he has pretty good judgment and basically makes the right decisions. But he's only president for a hair less than four more years and who knows who will be sitting in the Oval Office after Obama. Even if the next president is someone I like and support, it's inevitable that somewhere along the line another blunderer, or even another mediocrity, will be elected. So with that in mind, do we want to hand that person a presidency with ever expanding powers?

Which brings me to the final quote from the Times piece:

"That's not how we make policy," said Douglas Ollivant, a former national security aide under Mr. Bush and Mr. Obama and now a fellow at the New America Foundation. "We make policy assuming that people in power might abuse it. To do otherwise is foolish."

[ Take the U.S. News Poll: Does Congress Need to Know More About Obama's Drone Policy?]

It's wise, because at some point someone will abuse it.