Here's Glenn Greenwald on the biggest problem for the GOP in 2012:
It is in the realm of foreign policy, terrorism and civil liberties where Republicans encounter an insurmountable roadblock. A staple of GOP politics has long been to accuse Democratic presidents of coddling America's enemies (both real and imagined), being afraid to use violence, and subordinating US security to international bodies and leftwing conceptions of civil liberties.
But how can a GOP candidate invoke this time-tested caricature when Obama has embraced the vast bulk of George Bush's terrorism policies; waged a war against government whistleblowers as part of a campaign of obsessive secrecy; led efforts to overturn a global ban on cluster bombs; extinguished the lives not only of accused terrorists but of huge numbers of innocent civilians with cluster bombs and drones in Muslim countries; engineered a covert war against Iran; tried to extend the Iraq war; ignored Congress and the constitution to prosecute an unauthorised war in Libya; adopted the defining Bush/Cheney policy of indefinite detention without trial for accused terrorists; and even claimed and exercised the power to assassinate US citizens far from any battlefield and without due process?
Reflecting this difficulty for the GOP field is the fact that former Bush officials, including Dick Cheney, have taken to lavishing Obama with public praise for continuing his predecessor's once-controversial terrorism polices. In the last GOP foreign policy debate, the leading candidates found themselves issuing recommendations on the most contentious foreign policy question (Iran) that perfectly tracked what Obama is already doing, while issuing ringing endorsements of the president when asked about one of his most controversial civil liberties assaults (the due-process-free assassination of the American-Yemeni cleric Anwar Awlaki). Indeed, when it comes to the foreign policy and civil liberties values Democrats spent the Bush years claiming to defend, the only candidate in either party now touting them is the libertarian Ron Paul, who vehemently condemns Obama's policies of drone killings without oversight, covert wars, whistleblower persecutions, and civil liberties assaults in the name of terrorism.
I disagree with Greenwald on many issues, but he is a honest progressive that has provided perhaps the best journalism out there in defense of the Bill of Rights, regardless which wing of the same bird of prey is in charge.
Greenwald is spot on when he argues that Obama's hawkish policies present a dilemma for the Republican warmongers, but I wouldn't call Caesar "conservative." There is this unfortunate Left-Right dichotomy in American politics that tends to result in a fine-toothed-comb analysis of the 5% of difference between the two parties while ignoring the 95% of issues that they agree on, like perpetual war, empire, fiat money, and nearly unlimited Executive power.
And this general consensus among all "mainstream" candidates and Dear Leader isn't "conservative" or "liberal;" its roots are authoritarian, collectivist, fascistic, and pardon my bias, but fundamentally un-libertarian. Perhaps a better dichotomy might frame the debate not in the horizontal fighting of Left and Right, but between liberty and coercion and applying the non-aggression principle as consistently as possible.
This is not a criticism of Greenwald at all, I have all the respect in the world for him. It is just frustrating that the terms "Left" and "Right" are overused to the point that each of them has no consistent definition and are a great divide-and-conquer strategy for those who could care less what label you put on them. They want power - over you, me, liberals, and conservatives - and lots of it.
In fact, here's Greenwald doing a far better job than me at illustrating it in an even more recent column than the one linked to above:
This media invisibility of America’s victims is due in part to the fact that it’s considered unpatriotic to discuss them in any prominent way (as MSNBC’s Ashleigh Banfield pointed out in the 2003 speech that led to her demotion and firing), but also because, at this point, there’s no partisan gain to be had from it: given that it’s a policy supported by both parties, it doesn’t help one side or the other win an election, so what’s the point of talking about it? Anyone who does raise it will be immediately met with these vapid questions from election-obsessed partisans: but what does this have to do with the election [the one that's still almost a full year away]? Won’t it help Mitt Romney if you complain about this? In general, people aren’t tuning in to MSNBC to hear stories about the Muslim children killed by President Obama’s covert killing operations (and certainly aren’t turning in to hear their bereaved relatives interviewed): it doesn’t prove how horrible Rick Perry and John Boehner are, so it’s the last thing Ed Schultz or Al Sharpton are going to talk about (as Charles Davis so memorably put it in parodying the Democratic partisan mentality: “Remember when Michele Bachmann killed all those innocent people in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Iraq and Libya? Ugh. Hate her”).