2006 or thereabouts - when left-leaning critics of President Bush couldn't stop talking about how nothing was more red, white, and blue than good old-fashioned American dissent? Why, our very country was founded by an act of dissent, didn't you know! So back when Vice President Dick Cheney - routinely likened to Darth Vader and Voldemort - was running things, the very air was filled with cries of "not in our name" and all that, because it was so damned important that the United States not contravene its basic principles even in the name of self defense!Remember back in what was it -
Those were good times, friends, and they stopped pretty much the minute that liberals and Democrats took control of the federal government. The antiwar movement disappeared once it became clear that Barack Obama wasn't going to shut down Gitmo or stop bombing places or give a rat's ass about that constitutional stuff he used to teach in law school.
But cheer up, because things can always get worse, as the last few days have demonstrated.
There's that report from the Open Society Justice Initiative that despite Obama's soothing intonations to the contrary, the U.S. is complicit in torture up the ying-yang. And of course there's the leaked memo outlining what passes for Obama's decision tree regarding killing suspected terrorists, including U.S. citizens. It's a relief to that the president has put his top men - anonymous yet "informed, high-level" officials - on figuring just who should be pinged and when. No need to share information or evidence or anything with either the legislative or judicial branches because that would just get in the way of getting the job done, right? Checking your math and making sure you're not making a bone-headed unconstitutional mistake is for losers. We're at war, don't you see, a new and different sort of war in which the old rules don't apply. And besides, doesn't the authorization of war powers signed three days after September 11, 2001 mean that whatever Obama does is A-OK? So even if we do need rules, Obama's got that covered! Nothing to see here, move along please.
flip flop like a fish on the sand once they ascend power. Cromwell did it, the French revolutionaries did it, Castro did it, the Sandanistas did it, and on and on. It's one of the oldest plots in history and infinitely adaptable to new conditions. How else to explain, as Jacob Sullumn notes, that candidate Obama rejected the Bush adminstration's position that it could detain U.S. citizens as enemy combatants without pressing charges while President Obama claims the right to kill U.S. citizens without laying charges? The guy may not be able to pass a budget but christ, give him credit for ingenuity and brass balls.It's sad, though never unexpected, when leaders such as Obama
But Obama is a politician - what do you expect? Politicians are not just the bottom of the barrel - they're what's under the bottom of the barrel, right?
So what then explains the contortions that journalists fold themselves into like so many carnival sideshow rubber-men in defending their hero? Mike Riggs points to comments by rising liberal MSNBC pundit Toure that suggest just how far explicitly pro-Obama liberals are willing to go in excusing the president's declaring himself and his crew judge, jury, and executioner. As Riggs explains, it seems pretty clear that Toure isn't up to speed on specifics, especially when it comes to the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki's 16-year-old son:
When his co-hosts continue to press him on the consequences of a small group of individuals determing who deserves to die without a shred of oversight, Touré dismisses them by saying, "Al Qaeda attacked this nation. We are attacking al Qaeda back." On Twitter Touré simply said, "He's the Commander in Chief."
Improbable, Victorious Senate Campaign." After stints at various leftoid outposts such as The American Prospect and The Guardian, Tomasky has now found a perch at The Daily Beast. Back in the day, Tomasky was a reliable critic of everything related to Bushitler, by which I of course mean Dick Cheney. Here he is circa 2009, in a typical post titled "Dick Cheney's Dangerous Game":Al Qaeda is the new Communism, dig? To invoke its name is to settle all arguments. If Toure is just light on facts, the recent defense of Obama's kill list machinations from Michael Tomasky is more illuminating of the mind-set that controls journalists. Tomasky has been at the news game far longer than Toure and once upon a time penned a fawning "inside" account of what he dubbed Hillary Clinton's "
Cheney wants Americans to live in fear. He believes that we should be living in more or less constant fear of another attack. I suppose it probably occurred to him over the years that, when a people are whipped into a fearful state, they tend to hand their leaders more power....
Obama wants to move people beyond fear. "If we continue to make decisions from within a climate of fear," he said, "we will make more mistakes." Are the American people up to this? More to the point – and more depressing to consider – are Washington politicians? We will find out as this debate plays out.
Goofus and Gallant in Highlights for Children: Goofus constantly invokes real and imagined threats to concentrate his power. Gallant talks a good game about protecting rights even while claiming far more power than this predecessor.This sort of analysis struggles to rise above
Tomasky struggles with the in-your-face spectacle of a president saying he has the right to pick which Americans can be killed unilaterally by insisting that the important thing is to walk a mile in Obama's mocassins:
I’ve always written about politics with part of my brain focused on the question of what I would do if I were in Politician X’s position. This line of thought came so naturally to me that I imagined everyone did this.... [The memo is] certainly not something that makes the breast swell with pride. But it does make me wonder what I would do in this situation, and I can’t honestly come up with easy answers.
He should try harder to come up with answers, perhaps by halting the mind-meld with the powerful and instead grokking some imaginary solidarity with the falsely accused. After dilating a while on the term imminent as used in