Tammy Baldwin was very concerned about civil liberties during the Bush years, so where is she now?
For nearly 13 hours on Wednesday, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul filibustered the confirmation vote for CIA director nominee John Brennan. Paul's filibuster successfully got the Obama administration to issue a statement saying they would not kill American citizens with drones on American soil without due process. The epic filibuster saw 13 Republican Senators and one Democrat assist. Among those who supported Senator Paul was Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson.
Even the American Civil Liberties Union and Left-Wing anti-war group Code Pink endorsed Sen. Paul’s filibuster.
But where was the other Senator from Wisconsin?
Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) did not join or assist in Sen. Paul’s filibuster. Baldwin, like nearly every other Democratic Senator, stood silent when a genuinely bipartisan opportunity to stand up for the Constitution was presented.
This is a very public change of heart for Baldwin.
In fact, then-Congresswoman Baldwin was one of the most outspoken members of Congress in opposition to the Bush administration’s post-9/11 national security policies. In 2001, Rep. Tammy Baldwin was one of just 66 members of congress to oppose the original Patriot Act over concerns about civil liberties. And Rep. Baldwin opposed subsequent extensions and re-authorizations of the Patriot Act.
Baldwin was so convinced in 2008 that American civil liberties were being eroded that she signed her name to a bill to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney over the Iraq war, warrantless wiretaps, suspension of habeas corpus for enemy combatants, and a number of other concerns.
In a 2008 column in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel explaining her decision to impeach Cheney, Baldwin said, "If we fail to take action to either impeach or repair the damage, then the next president will "inherit" unchecked powers." "Unchecked powers are unacceptable no matter who is president," said Baldwin.
"I took an oath of office to uphold the Constitution. That sacred pledge gives me no choice but to call for executive branch accountability in any and all forms."
Given Sen. Baldwin’s silence over the Obama administration’s brazen expansion of executive power, that "sacred pledge" apparently only applied to the Bush Administration.