Ever since Barack Obama was nominated in 2008 as the Democratic candidate for the president of the United States, his staunchest critics have implied that he had the makings of a dictator.
Those admonitions were not taken at all seriously, however, and the liberal media ridiculed anyone if they dared suggest the new president was anything but the messiah.
Those of us who saw then what the press is finally seeing now were dismissed and ridiculed as racists.
After several years of being told we were wrong about President Obama's authoritarian streak, the liberal media are finally starting to consider that this president may be the very megalomaniac we said he was.
Mr. Obama probably could have gotten away with the fact his Internal Revenue Service was unlawfully targeting conservative Tea Party organizations if, in the same week, the media hadn't learned that his Justice Department was also spying on journalists by secretly subpoenaing phone records from The Associated Press.
Even The New York Times opined, "The Obama administration, which has a chilling zeal for investigating leaks and prosecuting leakers, has failed to offer credible justification for secretly combing through phone records of reporters and editors at The Associated Press, in what looks like a fishing expedition for sources and an effort to frighten off whistleblowers."
Of course, prosecutorial abuse of power should not come as a surprise. Last year, a federal court found that the Obama Justice Department illegally shut down the prosecution of the New Black Panther Party, which had engaged in illegal voter intimidation.
Until Sen. Rand Paul heroically stood up on the Senate floor, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. actually suggested the White House had the legal authority to kill American citizens by using drones without due process.
The media did not take the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi seriously until recently, when State Department whistleblowers came forward and testified that the administration lied, knew they lied and then pressured witnesses to remain silent.
The New Yorker finally admitted, "Now there's something to it."
Unbeknownst to many, while Tea Party patriot groups were having their applications for nonprofit status intentionally delayed, the IRS fast-tracked the charity of the president's half-brother, the Barack H. Obama Foundation.
The president also used taxpayer dollars to help finance his political allies by investing in companies like Solyndra when the White House knew the refinancing could break the law and that the company was on a path to financial failure anyway.
Mr. Obama said his administration was the most transparent administration in history, but in actuality, he has denied more Freedom of Information Act requests than the Bush administration ever did. The president also failed to follow up on his promise to make visitor logs available to the American public.
In March, Slate opined that, "Because he is a Democrat, [Mr. Obama has] gotten a free pass from many of the civil liberty and good-government groups who spent years watching President Bush's every move like a hawk."
During his first 16 months in office, the president refused to release his long-form birth certificate, and anyone who dared raise the issue was unfairly labeled a racist and conspiracy fanatic.
It wasn't until credible polls reported that nearly half the country believed Mr. Obama was born abroad did he finally show true transparency and qualify his own constitutional legitimacy as president. Even then, Mr. Obama called the whole issue "silliness," as if compliance with the U.S. Constitution were an option.
Liberals should have been alarmed early on when Mr. Obama circumvented the advise-and-consent process by unconstitutionally creating 32 czar posts without the Senate's approval. Democratic legislators said nothing, though, letting their own power slip right through their hands.
Despite all of these flagrant abuses of power, many liberals still think Mr. Obama is the shining hope of liberalism. He is not. There is nothing democratic about Mr. Obama or his very corrupt administration.
Mr. Obama's willingness to intimidate and silence anyone who defies his power structure is dictatorial and terrifying. The president kept his campaign promise of fundamentally transforming the United States of America.
Slowly, Mr. Obama has changed the United States into another country — the Soviet States of America — an authoritarian state where false promises of "hope and change" were used to manipulate the public. Ours is a state now in which power — not the Constitution — has become the currency of the government's decision-making process, and the press has become an instrument of the state.
Those of us who saw this from the beginning weren't crazy, after all. We were just listening.
Jeffrey Scott Shapiro is a lawyer who served on John F. Kerry's presidential election legal team, and T. Michael Andrews is a former Bush administration official.