NERMEEN SHAIKH: So can you say a little bit, Glenn, about the significance of Obama’s re-election last week?
GLENN GREENWALD: Well, I think that a lot of it depends not on what President Obama does. There is some expectation that he’s now suddenly going to reveal his true progressive self, now that he’s been liberated from the pressures of re-election. I think this is completely mythological fantasy thinking. I think we see who the true President Obama is. I take him at his word that the policies that he pursued in the first term are the policies that he believes in.
I think the question is: Will the Democratic Party, and specifically the progressive and liberal component of the Democratic Party, change its behavior from cheerleader, from blindly supportive, partisan apparatchiks, which is what they were in the first term, putting pressure on him in almost no instance, cheering for whatever it is that he did, no matter how contrary it was to their professed values, into some kind of a force where they actually fulfill their duties as citizens, which is to hold political leaders accountable?
And I think the very first test for this is going to be what Amy began the broadcast by discussing, what I know you’ve been covering here this week, which is the budget fight, where it is almost certainly the case that President Obama will do what he already attempted to do, which is target the crown jewels, legislative jewels, of liberalism, which are Social Security and Medicare, for cuts, in order to pursue this grand bargain with the Republican Party. And will the liberal wing of the Democratic Party do anything more than just make symbolic and empty gestures toward opposing it but at the end become good partisan soldiers, as they always do, or will they provide real opposition?