Thank goodness those evil Republicans were defeated in 2008; otherwise White House funded snoops would be keeping innocent Muslims under surveillance.Oh wait — what’s this? “White House Helps Pay For NYPD Muslim Surveillance:” It turns out the Obama administration has been forking over chunks of money to the NYPD that did exactly that — almost as if Dick Cheney were still orchestrating US policy from an undisclosed location.We need to know more about the NYPD program before drawing too many conclusions. Unless you already know who the dangerous people are, you will have to ‘surveil’ some completely innocent people as well, and it is much easier to get on a high horse and denounce the unrighteousness of others than to actually conduct these kinds of operations in a thoughtful, sensitive and truly fair way. At the same time, inconvenient as it is for government agents to remember this, citizens do still have some rights in this country, and the police can’t just do any old thing they may want — even when those citizens belong to minority religious faiths.It would be a step forward if these issues could be discussed calmly and rationally without hurling epithets. This isn’t at its heart a debate between those who want a police state and those who care more about the civil rights of terrorists than about the safety of citizens. These questions are difficult to address thoughtfully and demagoguery only makes it harder to get the job done in the right way.Perhaps in office the Obama administration now understands these problems more clearly than its members did back in those days when attacking the evil Bush-monster’s policies on Guantanamo Bay and domestic surveillance was so much fun. Campaigning is easy; governing is hard.