Most conservatives pine for the "good ole days." This is mostly based on a mythology of the past. John Adams, the second president of the US, signed into law the Alien and Sedition Acts which criminalized speech. The third president, Thomas Jefferson, was no better. His papers revealed that he did things that he knew were unconstitutional. There were no good ole days.
It is rather odd to claim that Obama is the epitome of evil, or to blame Bush for everything. I say a pox on both their houses.
These comments are my introduction to part 2 of Pam Dewey's series on George Orwell's 1984. Orwell did not have to have too much of an imagination—all the various trends that led him to write 1984 were already present in WWI. This is what Pam talks about in part 2 of her series.
For me it is not that government somehow restrained itself in the past. Instead, if there is any worsening, it is a result of better technology available to the powers that be. This does not mean that Orwell's 1984 is not important. In fact, as you read Pam's series, a reading, or rereading, of 1984 is a good idea. It is available for free as a PDF.
Today I have included a discussion with Christopher Hitchens on Orwell from Book TV.