Apparently, concerns about government abuse of civil liberties depend on who is in control. While Republicans and Independents disapprove of the Justice Department’s obtaining the AP phone records, a plurality of Democrats support it. From Pew:

5-20-13 #3

The Republican and Independents who have heard the most about it disapprove of it the most strongly, while better informed Democrats are more likely to rally around the Obama administration.

Sadly, this is not an isolated incident of reflexive partisan defensiveness. Many things Democrats once disapproved of under George W. Bush, like unauthorized military intervention, they support because Obama did it.

Bush engaged in many abuses of power but in some ways Obama may have done even more significant long-term damage by normalizing these abuses and giving them a bipartisan seal of approval. Obama has helped turn principled concerns into just another partisan fight.