Glenn Greenwald has a really interesting post in response to the argument that Obama Administration policies are an appropriate response to public opinion (especially with regards to civil liberties).
I wrote about public opinion for PA 874: The Policy-Making Process this past Fall, particularly the relationship between public opinion and the Supreme Court’s making of death penalty policy (which involved a longer argument about the Supreme Court as a policy-making body). But in my research, I found that public opinion does tend to have a lot of sway on political decisions; however – as Greenwald expresses in his post – politicians can shape public opinion through their actions, not just bend to the “will” of the public. And they do so all the time. As Greenwald states:
“By embracing as his own many of the very policies he vowed to uproot, Obama has gutted the core of public opposition to those policies.”