Andrew McCarthy hits the nail on the head in these paragraphs:
Obama sought the presidency as the candidate who would turn the clock back to the 1990s. He idealized the Clinton years, when terrorism was treated only as a crime, when preventing it was decidedly secondary to prosecuting it and the courthouse was the only battlefield on which the government had any interest in meeting al-Qaeda — an arrangement that suited al-Qaeda just fine.
Outside Obama’s left-wing base, Americans don’t share these sentiments. Their speed is more President Bush’s conception of counterterrorism as a defensive war to quell enemies — not defendants but enemies — who are actively making war against the United States. The war in Iraq and, now, in Afghanistan, turned unpopular, but that is because its focus drifted from defeating Islamist terrorists (an aim still strongly supported) to building Islamic democracies (an aim that never had strong support).
Leftists mistook the unpopularity of the war overseas for a rejection of Bush’s robust antiterrorism approach at home. They assumed that because the public was confused and angry over the unrequited sacrifices our troops were making, Americans must also have bought the ACLU narrative that Bush had shredded the Constitution. In point of fact, Americans are very content to have terrorists treated as military enemies and killed or captured before they can strike. They don’t think Gitmo is a gulag, they don’t see military justice as a kangaroo-court system, they don’t believe alien jihadists should automatically be endowed with constitutional rights, and they don’t want those jihadists brought into our country, where — the public adroitly suspects — our federal judges will find reasons to order their release.
Read the whole thing. It’s good.