Aside from the repressiveness of the policies themselves, there are three highly significant and enduring harms from Obama's behavior. First, it creates the impression that Republicans were right all along in the Bush-era War on Terror debates and Democratic critics were wrong.
Well, let's not say "right" and "wrong" as though there will be a definitive answer. This is not a controlled natural science experiment. Sometimes (I am thinking of pro-lifers and pro-choicers here), folks with alternative views must simply co-exist, secure, perhaps, in their own self-righteousness but with no final proof of "The Truth" available.
However - Obama's total flip-flops do create the impression that he was a lying, opportunistic, unprincipled poseur during the years he positioned himself as the liberal champion of Hope and Change who would deliver America from the oppression of the Bush years. I almost feel sorry for Greenwald (almost!), who writes this:
But Obama's impact in this area extends far beyond that. Dick Cheney is not only free of ignominy, but can run around claiming vindication from Obama's actions because he's right. The American Right constantly said during the Bush years that any President who knew what Bush knew and was faced with the duty of keeping the country safe would do the same thing. Obama has provided the best possible evidence imaginable to prove those claims true.
...Obama has won the War on Terror debate -- for the American Right. And as Dick Cheney's interview last night demonstrates, they're every bit as appreciative as they should be.
Well, we're still going to do our best to vote Obama out.