Terrorism

Yes, He Can. Maybe. When He Gets Around To It.

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Boy, I can't promise I won't have to recycle that headline a lot in the next four years.

At any rate, the Chicago Tribune reported the other day that we shouldn't rush to assume Obama will swiftly carry out his announced hope to close down Guantanamo Bay. Excerpt:

Denis McDonough, a foreign policy adviser to Obama, said the nascent administration would wait until its national security and legal teams are in place before determining how to proceed.

"President-elect Obama said throughout his campaign that the legal framework at Guantanamo has failed to successfully and swiftly prosecute terrorists, and he shares the broad bipartisan belief that Guantanamo should be closed," McDonough said in a statement. "There is absolutely no truth to reports that a decision has been made about how and where to try the detainees, and there is no process in place to make that decision until his national security and legal teams are assembled."

Now, fans could read this as a mere tautology; of course, he can't figure out exactly how he's going to go about doing something with some potentially complicated repercussions until he's got his team all a-working on it. But the fact that a high-up aide took the trouble to stress this to reporters on the record seems like a preemptive attempt to lower expectations on this matter.

The Washington Post on some Gitmo chatter that does stress that Obama really, really does want to do something about it, even if he's not quite sure yet what. The people on his team more adamant that quick Gitmo-closing action is just around the corner are, note, anonymous in this piece, since "they are not authorized to speak for the president-elect."

It somewhat makes you miss the days of Democratic administrations crowing about "stroke of the pen, law of the land." But Obama is a very smart guy, and very smart guys need to think very carefully about what they are going to do and how they are going to do it.

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  1. I think you read the situation rightly. I’d also point out that Obama just got briefed on their case files, and that may well have something to do with the hestitation.

  2. Riddle me this

    Was going somewhere with that when I got distracted and said ‘never mind’

  3. Some of my predictions* about Obama are already becoming true. For instance, a lot of us agree that Change We Can Believe In? is going to be more like Mostly The Same?.

    One thing I’m expecting is that when the Republicans naturally attack Obama for being a radical lefty, his adminstration’s spokespeople will defend him by pointing out just how similar his positions and the previous administration’s are, and how completely status-quo his actions have been. This has already happened in a couple of small instances.

    *My predictions aren’t particularly unique, certainly not ’round these parts.

    It somewhat makes you miss the days of Democratic administrations crowing about “stroke of the pen, law of the land.”

    The stench of executive overreach is beginning to smell rosy to a certain political party about right now.

  4. Obama: “Wait, there are assholes in there? This is gonna be more complicated than I thought…”

  5. There is absolutely no truth to reports that a decision has been made about how and where to try the detainees, and there is no process in place to make that decision until his national security and legal teams are assembled.

    Hint to Obama: We’ve got these things called “courts”, and a process called a “criminal justice system” that enforces a process called “the law” and “habeus corpus”.

    It’s not that fucking difficult. Unless you’re planning to adhere closely to the Bill of Rights except in those rare instances when doing so is politically expedient.

    You know. Like Bush.

  6. @2:01 am should read “… when doing so ISN’T politically expedient.”

  7. I agree. Just ship them back to the states and run them through federal court. The courts are NOT going to let big time terrorists go. I would do it as soon as I was sworn in, and then I would close the Orwellian named “camp Justice” and abandon to to the Cubans.

    Good riddance to it. That place did more to hurt our good name than anything we’ve done since slavery.

  8. But wait! Pelosi told us that if only we’d vote the Dems in, we’d be out. In a NY Minute. Yet, Inexplicably, two years later, we’re still fighting in Iraq.

  9. My question has always been, WTF are we shipping enemy terrorists half way across the world to lock them up in Cuba. If this is war, then you shoot the bastards. Right?

  10. I long for the olden days, in which President’s weren’t castigated for their decisions until they actually made them.

  11. I’m as anti-Gitmo as anyone, but I’m really not going to sweat over whether Obama shuts down the place in January or in March. I’ll be sorely disappointed if it’s still open a year from now, but I don’t see that happening.

    Legally speaking, I think the biggest worry is that some bona fide terrorists can’t be convicted because much of the evidence against them is tainted by torture and would have to be thrown out. However, I think pretty much any U.S. court would find a way to convict anyway. After all, John Walker Lindh got sentenced to 20 years despite being mistreated as a prisoner, even though he was guilty of little more than being a damn fool who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

  12. That was kind of stupid of Obama, to read the case files. Because it will make it more difficult to close Gitmo if these case files actually involve, like, real terrorists. Republicans will leak them in no time if Obama wants to close shop.

  13. The problem isn’t that Obama wanted to release everyone in Gitmo but is now reconsidering it because he found out that there are real terrorists in there. He knew that all along. The problems with closing gitmo are:

    1) all of the detainees will have to be brought to the United States for trials. Daily living conditions in Gitmo for the average detainee are far better than most state-side federal prisons. Gitmo was designed specifically for holding Muslim detainees. The kitchen is halal, the library has books in Arabic and Pashtun. It’s not overcrowded like most federal prisons. Detainees are bound to complain about the conditions in a state-side federal prison. It’s quite possible that we could see future headlines like “My life was better in Bush’s Gitmo says Detainee”

    2) some detainees have to be released, but there’s nowhere we can send them. Bush has struggled with this one. Maybe Obama’s magical oratory will make some country want to accept a dozen Uighurs who are deeply radical, have recieved some paramilitary training, but are not guilty of anything. Somehow, I doubt it.

    3) Trials will be amateur night regardless of who is running them. Bush wanted to use Military tribunals with the minimum due process required by law. Obama has already acknowledged that standard federal court criminal trials won’t work. He wants to try a hybrid version of military tribunals and federal criminal trials. There’s a lot of things that can go wrong with a new procedure that we will only discover after they’ve gone wrong.

  14. Fortunately, there aren’t many people left in Guantanamo. Unfortunately, the fewer they are, the easier it is to “study” the problem for a couple of years. After all, if you let them all go, and one of them kills someone, well, what can you expect from a guy who pals around with terrorists?

  15. But Obama is a very smart guy, and very smart guys need to think very carefully about what they are going to do and how they are going to do it.

    So, let me get this straight. We’ve just suffered through eight years of a president whose whims are seemingly controlled as much by the current state of his digestion as it is by facts on the ground, and you’re reserving your choicest italicized snark for someone who says they might deliberate?

    What the fuck is wrong with you?

  16. “One thing I’m expecting is that when the Republicans naturally attack Obama for being a radical lefty, his adminstration’s spokespeople will defend him by pointing out just how similar his positions and the previous administration’s are, and how completely status-quo his actions have been. This has already happened in a couple of small instances.” — paul

    The response should be that the Bush administration was a huge failure and to compare Obama’s actions as consistent with failure is a poor defense.

  17. LOL @ the leftists who voted for Obama full of hope about a new foreign policy!

  18. It is a really hard problem. A lot of these people are dangerous as hell. Further, the evidence against them comes from very sensitive sources. Say for example, we have a source placed high in Al Quada that says that person X is a terrorist mole who has trained in Pakistan and is about to leave the country to go back to the West to execute a mission. So, we grab him in the NW of Pakistan or in Yeman before he departs for the West. We stick him in GUITMO. What do we do with him? We can’t very well bring back the source to testify against him. Further, under the FRE his statement would be heresay and inadmissible even if we wanted to use it. Once more, even if you could get it before the court, admitting it would compromise the source and probably get our source killed and end any hope of getting anymore inteligence. What do you do with person x? Turn him lose and hope for the best?

    Imagine this scenerio. NSA picks up phone chatter that indicates there is a terrorist team within the US and person Y is a member. Person Y is a LPR or worse a US citizen. What authority do you have to pick him up? Can you really arrest someone based on intercepted phone conversations in Pakistan? Further, even if you did, how would you convict them of anything? All you can do is use the info to get a FISA warrent and start listening into his calls or search his house. If he is a stupid terrorist, he will incriminate himself. But if he is smart, you won’t get anything from him or you will get some things, books, radical lititerature, maybe a few flight manuels or something but not enough to convict. Again what do you do with this guy? Let him just hang out and hope for the best? If he is a resident Alien you can deport him, but even that is complicated. How do you justify detaining him during the removal proceedings?

    The stakes on this stuff is enormously high. 9-11 killed three thousand people. Anyone with a decent advanced degree in bio can whip up anthrax in their basement and kill maybe 10s of thousands and all it takes is a few people. It is not so simple as just trying these people in court. Many of them haven’t done anything yet. If you wait until they do, you are essentailly saying like every dog gets one bite, every terrorist gets one attack.

  19. What the fuck is wrong with you?

    Lighten up, Francis. He’s just saying that even if Obama has made a decision or won’t make a decision, he’s going to play it out to look like he thought reeeeaaal hard about it.

  20. My question has always been, WTF are we shipping enemy terrorists half way across the world to lock them up in Cuba. If this is war, then you shoot the bastards. Right?

    That’s always been my question. If we’re making the claim that these guys are not covered under Geneva, then why try them? Bullet in the back of the head and move on. Isn’t that what we did with Werewolves at the end of WWII?

  21. Imagine this scenerio. NSA picks up phone chatter that indicates there is a terrorist team within the US and person Y is a member. Person Y is a LPR or worse a US citizen. What authority do you have to pick him up?

    We already know the answer to this. The AUMF gives the executive the power to act anywhere in the world. Justice already admitted legally the government can whack anybody, anywhere, if they claim the guy’s a terrorist.

  22. I don’t have a problem with Obama taking a well-considered look at how to handle Guantanamo, but I’ve heard talk of commissions, etc. to look at the issue. That’s nonsense, though maybe time-wasting measures like that would be a good thing in a different context.

    What I suspect will happen is that the prison at Guantanamo will be closed but that we’ll send the more obvious terrorists to a camp somewhere else, probably in Afghanistan. We’ll also have to figure out what to do with people we’re willing to free who don’t have countries willing to accept them.

  23. “That’s always been my question. If we’re making the claim that these guys are not covered under Geneva, then why try them? Bullet in the back of the head and move on. Isn’t that what we did with Werewolves at the end of WWII?”

    It would be a lot simpler to just shoot them. Indeed we have done that in some cases like the car in Yemen we nailed with the preditor. The problem is what do you do with the ones that get as far as the US or the ones in other countries that you have to work with foreign governments to pick up. You can’t very well just shoot people down in the US streets or expect governments to let us come in and kill people with impunity on their territory.

  24. Pro,

    Why are commissions nonsense? We have used them in other circumstances and they have worked well Further, they seem to be working at GUITMO. They already have two convictions with surprisingly light sentences. So it is not like you can say they are kangeroo courts. If they were, they would not have come back with the sentences they did.

  25. Obama’s administration already looks like Bill Clinton’s thrid term.

  26. Worst President-Elect Ever.

  27. The Democrats should have considered the fact that they might be in charge of things some day when they were throwing shit like angry monkeys the last 8 years. They are going to do many of the same things Bush did because that is the only viable option. We are not closing GUITMO and turning these people lose. We are not going to try them all in federal court. In the end, we will try them via military commissions and never let many of them out. Yes, we may get some meaningless cerimonial closing of GUITMO but our policy and actions won’t change a bit.

  28. Or, as Robert Redford’s character famously inquired at the close of The Candidate:
    “What do we do now?”

  29. Lighten up, Francis.

    Francis? Oddly enough, that’s my middle name.

    He’s just saying that even if Obama has made a decision or won’t make a decision, he’s going to play it out to look like he thought reeeeaaal hard about it.

    Or, third possibility, he’s actually working out the details of something *before* doing it. I know, sounds crazy, totally out of our collective political experience and all.

  30. “But Obama is a very smart guy, and very smart guys need to think very carefully about what they are going to do and how they are going to do it.”

    How does Reason write this shit with a straight face? For the last five years they have been screaming for the closure of GUITMO and claiming that Bush is destroying the Constitution. Now that their guy gets in, and Obama is their guy, and doesn’t immediately announce and end to GUITMO, we get “well he is a really smart guy and I am sure he will do the right thing, whatever that is.”

  31. Despite Clinton’s reach for executive power, if Obama’s presidency is like Clinton’s, I would be pleasantly surprised. I personally expect worse (except, with perhaps too much optimism, on the drug war).

  32. John,

    Not those kinds of commissions. Commissions to study the issue.

  33. Oh Pro. My mistake. You are right, that would be a waste of time.

  34. Francis? Oddly enough, that’s my middle name.

    Dork.

    Or, third possibility, he’s actually working out the details of something *before* doing it. I know, sounds crazy, totally out of our collective political experience and all.

    It’s possible. I’m not going to fault Brian for snarking on a politician, though, dude, because it’s usually warranted.

    How does Reason write this shit with a straight face?

    Brian was being sarcastic, John. Lose your GOP blinders for a minute and you’d see that.

  35. But Obama is a very smart guy, and very smart guys need to think very carefully about what they are going to do and how they are going to do it.

    He is? They do?

  36. I do not understand the wistful nostalgia for the Clinton administration. The times were good, and gridlock was our friend, but the administration misbehaved quite a bit, and its efforts to expand executive authority set up the further abuses by Bush.

  37. He is? They do?

    You don’t want John for company.

  38. of course, he can’t figure out exactly how he’s going to go about doing something with some potentially complicated repercussions until he’s got his team all a-working on it.

    Then why didn’t he say that during the election? Did his IQ suddenly shoot up after he won?

    For instance, a lot of us agree that Change We Can Believe In? is going to be more like Mostly The Same?.

    One of the great ironies of this election is that, after running against Bush 24/7, Obama is going to wind up rehabilitating him?

    Guantanamo? Umm, looks like we really do need to keep it open, just like Bush said.

    Iraq? Geez, looks like we really do need to keep some troops there, just like Bush said.

    Afghanistan/Pakistan? We’ve really got to keep the cross-border incursions to a minimum, and rooting out AQ is going to be harder than we thought because I’m not going to call off the war against opium, either.

  39. “Brian was being sarcastic, John. Lose your GOP blinders for a minute and you’d see that.”

    I suppose he was. I guess sacrasm is about as much criticism as one can expect from Reason. Beyond that, Reason ought to be thinking through the options on this and been realistic about the situation from the begining. They never have been. I suspect they will be more reasonable in the future since there is a President they like better doing it.

  40. I long for the olden days, in which President’s weren’t castigated for their decisions until they actually made them.

    Well, that’s kind of the price you pay for winning an election by creating expectations you can’t possibly meet.

  41. “Well, that’s kind of the price you pay for winning an election by creating expectations you can’t possibly meet.”

    It is not even about that. It is about your party saying reckless and stupid things for 8 years. If Bush really is another Hitler and GUITMO a concentraition camp, then there really shouldn’t be much debate about closing it should there?

  42. Is this the old Rope-A-Hope?

  43. Geesh people. Obama will not be President for 70 days! How can someone who does not yet hold the power already “look like Bill Clinton’s third term.”

    You really have a problem with the people who will be in charge actually acting like adults and saying the administration will “wait until its national security and legal teams are in place before determining how to proceed.”

    Wow- they want to have the people/teams in place to make an informed decision. I know that is a 180 from the Bush administration, but I for one welcome that!

  44. It is not even about that. It is about your party saying reckless and stupid things for 8 years. If Bush really is another Hitler and GITMO a concentration camp, then there really shouldn’t be much debate about closing it should there?

    What in the article gave you the idea there is any debate about whether to close it? I got the impression the argument is about *how* to close it.

    And while we’re at it, what Democratic party official compared Bush directly to Hitler or compared GITMO to a concentration camp?

  45. I can’t remember which asshole congress critter made the remark about Bush sending soldiers off to die just to get his kicks – that was the last straw for me. That’s when the Democrats forced me into being a lukewarm Bush defender – and I mean defender in the sense of “um, no, I really don’t see the likeness to Hitler. No, I’m pretty sure he’s not the Anti-Christ.” To think that he enjoys sending people off to die is just too fucked up deranged to be excused.

    They behaved like feral toddlers for the past 8 years and now that they are in charge of the whole ugly mess, they can and should expect some trouble. The Democratic party during the Bush administration has made the Republican party during the Clinton administration look downright gravitas-y. They will now spend at least two years making hard decisions for which they have to take sole responsibility. I think it’s gonna hurt.

    It’s fun to watch the reaction to Broun warning of a Nazi Youth brigade, or some conservatives hyperventilating about the Democrats enfranchising every illegal alien and the District of Columbia and stacking the S.C. and generally making it impossible for Republicans to win a national election again for, like, ever. Yes, it’s ridiculous. And it is exactly the sort of thing Democrats have been screaming about for eight years.

    In fact, I’m rather shocked that there was an election last week. I mean, for 8 years Kos and Huffpo and The Nation have been saying Bush was gonna declare martial law and cancel elections.

  46. I long for the olden days, in which President’s weren’t castigated for their decisions until they actually made them.

    And I long for the days when administrations didn’t “manage expectations” until they actually took power.

  47. I predict “Bush Nostalgia” within 2 years. You heard it here first.

  48. Come on, Rope-A-Hope! Jesus, what do I have to do here?

    I thought it was funny, anyway.

  49. LMNOP:

    Keith Ellison, D-MN, in 2007 compared 9-11 to the Reichstag fire.

    The original reports from the Star Tribune return a 404 error. A story on his reelection campaign alludes to it.

    The original comment, reproduced on many blogs, was:

    “It’s almost like the Reichstag fire, kind of reminds me of that. After the Reichstag was burned, they blamed the Communists for it and it put the leader of that country [Hitler] in a position where he could basically have authority to do whatever he wanted. The fact is that I’m not saying [Sept. 11] was a [U.S.] plan, or anything like that because, you know, that’s how they put you in the nut-ball box — dismiss you.”

  50. Pro:

    I laughed.

  51. Come on, Rope-A-Hope! Jesus, what do I have to do here?

    Hope-on-a-Rope? You can shower with it?

  52. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,107426,00.html

    http://www.paxplena.com/2007/07/democrats-compare-bush-to-hitler.html How about a Democratic Congressman? Good enough?

    Certainly the Dems supporters did so on a frequent basis Elemenope. The Democratic Party did nothing but encourage them and never once to my knowledge ever come out and be honest about the difficulty of the issue, you might have a point. But they didn’t. They acted completely irresponsibly for the last 8 years and did everything they possibly could to undercut efforts to stop terorism. Well, now they have to fight radical Islamics themselves. Good luck with that. I hope it works out for them.

    Yeah, they are just thinking about how to close it. Give me a fucking break. They are thinking what the hell they are going to do with the group of lunatics they have locked up down there after 8 years of claiming the whole things was a shame.

  53. I laughed to Pro. That was good.

  54. But way to parriot the coming Dem line Elemenope. Over the next few years we are going to hear a lot of people like you saying “no one ever said Bush was bad civil liberties or bad on the war on terror. That is just a right wing myth.”

  55. Episiarch,

    That’s okay, but the similarities between Rope-A-Hope and Rope-A-Dope elicit in the minds of readers the vision of Obama as a boxer, offering hope, then punching them in the face. I suppose Hope-A-Dope would be a parallel construction, but it seems to lose some meaning without the rope by which Obama/Ali suckers us in for the punch.

    In fairness, I’ll reserve the use of this term until after he’s actually in office and stuff. Though I may start using Change You Can Flee From right now.

  56. And the Voracity of Hope–that’s in play now, too.

  57. Over the next few years we are going to hear a lot of people like you saying “no one ever said Bush was bad civil liberties or bad on the war on terror. That is just a right wing myth.”

    Fortunately, everything lives forever on the Internet.

    It may already be starting. I think it was the WaPo that recently referred to Bush’s Guantanamo decisions as “pragmatic” – I liked that. Now all of a sudden Bush is pragmatic.

    Yes, I think Obama’s election may be what ultimately saves Bush’s legacy vis a vis the WOT. In a few years, it’ll be the economy they hang around his neck, but his actions on Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere will not be much commented on.

  58. Stubby,

    I liked the NYT article the day before the election discovering that there really are dangerous people at GUITMO and some of the intelligence showing that is going to be really hard to get into court. They could have written that story any time in the last five years but they wait until the day before the election when they were pretty sure a Dem was going to win to do it. It just makes me sick.

    Several years ago a good friend told me that the Dems had to win control of everything in 08. It was the only way to get them to support the war on radical Islam. I think he was probably right. It is certainly true of the media. Even Reason is probably going to be much more measured and thoughtful about the issue now that someone they like is in the Whitehouse.

  59. In fact, I’m rather shocked that there was an election last week. I mean, for 8 years Kos and Huffpo and The Nation have been saying Bush was gonna declare martial law and cancel elections.

    no one is more shocked than Gaius Marius

  60. I figure it’ll be a gradual process, the easiest to release will be let go ASAP, but someone like KSM is a harder problem, as the questionable circumstances of his capture and interrogation could well lead to him being released if given a regular US trial.

  61. stubby wrote: “I can’t remember which asshole congress critter made the remark about Bush sending soldiers off to die just to get his kicks – that was the last straw for me.”

    He did joke about it, in an elaborate sketch. Gosh, where are them WMD’s?

  62. John,

    I wanted to see the Dems get stuck with the whole thing so that the Kos crowd might – might – be sidelined a bit. Kos and DU and the hardcore moonbats have been very useful to the Democrats these last 8 years but now that the D’s are in charge, the grownups are going to assert themselves. I also expect Olbermann and Matthews and the NYT and their cohort to suddenly discover the importance of combating terrorism with more than talk, the danger of national security leaks, the necessity of clandestine operations, and the difficulty of trying terrorists in US courts. This will further enrage the Kos kiddies.

    I also expect an Obama administration not to pursue criminal charges against Bush administration officials, to the outrage of the moonbats and the relief of Congress critters who face reelection in two years and know that the majority of Americans think there are a few other more pressing issues deserving of congressional attention.

    If an Obama administration leads to the demise of Code Pink, marches featuring big head puppets, etc., I will be happy.

    Not as happy as I would be if my 401K were left intact, and even gained a little, and I kept my Bush tax cut, and they didn’t reinstitute a draft, and they didn’t cripple growth and increase unemployment through higher taxes and ever more onerous regulations, and they dropped all the talk about Rahm’s civilian youth brigade, but….I will take what I can get and if all I can get is Schadenfreude, so be it.

  63. I truly think we need MORE Hitler comparisons in conventional politics. People don’t seem to realize that both parties are taking most of their platforms from the nationalist socialist in Italy and Germany.

    keynes had prefaces on books written by Mussolini…Keynes Hitler and Mussolini were seen as heroes by the folks at JP Morgan,Colonel House, Mr Harriman of Brown Brothers Harriman and his partner Prescott Bush, the rockefllers, they all loved the idea that industrial organization could be made “more efficient” by eliminated duplicitous competition and just letting certain state protected players dominate every area of production. The industrial elites saw this as a good way to GUARANTEE the maintenece of power with the small cost of having to recycle some profits back into government bureaucrats.

  64. Gabe:

    Your comment is calm, thoughtful, free of hysteria and historically accurate.

    I’d never thought of that before. I wish you hadn’t thought of it now. It’s disturbing.

  65. But way to parrot the coming Dem line Elemenope. Over the next few years we are going to hear a lot of people like you saying “no one ever said Bush was bad civil liberties or bad on the war on terror. That is just a right wing myth.”

    What. The. Fuck. Are you talking about?

    I asked a question, which you answered. And if the best you can come up with is one congresscritter one time, then that’s hardly an epidemic. (Reminds me of people obsessed with flag-burning.)

    If we were to judge the GOP by the crazy-assed shit that passed betwixt the lips of their congresscritters…let’s not even go there. That is a gold mine where the nuggets just lay upon the ground. Suffice to say that one congresscritter comparing 9/11 to the Reichstag Fire does not make the Democratic party as a whole guilty of hitlerizing Bush the Lesser.

  66. One thing I’m expecting is that when the Republicans naturally attack Obama for being a radical lefty, his adminstration’s spokespeople will defend him by pointing out just how similar his positions and the previous administration’s are, and how completely status-quo his actions have been.

    I hope so. It’ll be a great to have an excuse to say they’re just like the Bushies.

  67. “That is a gold mine where the nuggets just lay upon the ground. Suffice to say that one congresscritter comparing 9/11 to the Reichstag Fire does not make the Democratic party as a whole guilty of hitlerizing Bush the Lesser.”

    What cave have you been living in? That is just a fucking lie. The Democrats fought Bush at every turn during the last 8 years over GUITMO and war on terror. They certainly didn’t stop any of their supporters from saying and doing outragous things.

    Now that your guy is in there and going to have to act responsible it is as if the entire last 8 years never happened. No one ever said Bush abused civil rights. No one ever objected to holding terrorists without federal trials. None of that happened. Yeah right.

  68. Is this the old Rope-A-Hope?

    Sweet. Pro Lib shoots, and scores!

    Voracity of Hope

    And again!

  69. What cave have you been living in?

    A happy cave.

    That is just a fucking lie.

    What part of what I said was factually untrue?

    The Democrats fought Bush at every turn during the last 8 years over GITMO and war on terror.

    So…?

    They certainly didn’t stop any of their supporters from saying and doing outrageous things.

    Yes, because that’s their responsibility. Controlling other people’s speech and opinions. Why didn’t I think of that?! You’ve turned me around on this one!

    Now that your guy…

    Excuse me. My what?

    …is in there and going to have to act responsible it is as if the entire last 8 years never happened.

    Is this your cue to enter your happy cave? I think it is.

    No one ever said Bush abused civil rights. No one ever objected to holding terrorists without federal trials. None of that happened. Yeah right.

    I’m pretty sure nobody I know will say that. I know I won’t. Bush the Lesser for me will always go down right beside Woodrow fucking Wilson as an all around douche-bag when it comes to civil rights and liberties.

  70. kick his ass elemenope.

    John do you think somebody who doesn’t want to borrow money from Russia in order to defend Germany from Russia is a “isolationists”?

    The democrats and the republicans agreed on what to do in the Iraq war…that is why we have had a Iraq war…couldn’t do it without the support of both parties the last 7 years.

    Both parties suck, including the republicans.

  71. Woodrow Wilson is the one I invoke when my Obama friends go on and on about his great big mighty brain. “But he’s so intelligent!” they swoon, just like Peggy Noonan – “he quotes philosophers! He was on Law Review!”

    And I reply that the last real intellectual in the White House (JFK was not one, BTW), was Woodrow Wilson and I don’t think that worked out so well. Intellectuals belong in ivory towers – that’s why ivory towers were constructed, to hold the intellectuals and keep them away from the gears and levers and buttons of power while giving them something to do to make themselves feel relevant.

    Intellectuals think about stuff. They know stuff. They have theories, and ideas, and great confidence in them.

    Presidents have to do stuff. They have to make decisions. And they have to make those decisions in the real world. Being President requires – it doesn’t encourage or abet or allow, it requires – moral compromise, Hobbesian choices, dirty tricks and subterfuge. It is not a job for idealists. Who was the most moral, principled President of the last century, do you think? The one who tried the hardest to govern by the dictates of his own moral code? Jimmy Carter.

    Obama is not just an intellectual. He’s an intellectual who wants to make the world a better place – I believe he’s even used the word “perfect” in its verb form. That kind of shit gives me cold chills.

  72. “Presidents have to do stuff. They have to make decisions. And they have to make those decisions in the real world. Being President requires – it doesn’t encourage or abet or allow, it requires – moral compromise, Hobbesian choices, dirty tricks and subterfuge. It is not a job for idealists. Who was the most moral, principled President of the last century, do you think? The one who tried the hardest to govern by the dictates of his own moral code? Jimmy Carter.”

    Is this also a reason that Ron Paul wouldn’t make a good President? In your opinion that is.

  73. I hadn’t thought of it, but yeah – I do think it would preclude Paul being a good president. I don’t think he’s an intellectual – that should be understood as a compliment – but he does have a distressingly consistent set of principles and an equally distressingly consistent adherence to them. He’s never been one to compromise, because he’s never had to (I don’t think – I could be mistaken.)

  74. Why do you think they call it hope?

  75. Why do you go from talking about Woodrow Wilson — who trampled on civil rights and sent the U.S. into a war after campaigning as an isolationist — to Jimmy Carter? Woodrow Wilson “did things” and played dirty tricks. Your characterization of intellectuals is inconsistent.

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