Today's Fox News Special Report showed footage of Candidate Obama in 2008 hotly condemning the Bush administration's extra-judicial terrorism policies and then the "all-stars" debated whether President Obama and all his supporters are hypocrites. It's hard to argue that there isn't some serious hypocrisy going on here. Unless you are Stephen "those WMD are there somewhere I swear it" Hayes who insisted that he is not a hypocrite, he's nothing but a pansy who's letting terrorists run free, I tell you, free! Everyone nodded solemnly.
It should be clear by now that President Obama and his terrorism advisers are hypocrites. But I'm glad they're hypocrites because they chose to keep the policies that have kept us safe these 11 years instead of sticking to their misguided principles. If the Obama folks ever had the good graces to thank President Bush, I am sure he would say, "you're welcome."
What a jerk.
Meanwhile on MSNBC, Krystal Ball proves their point. She starts off saying that she's mostly "ok" with the drone program but thinks it needs more transparency and oversight. And then she discusses what really bothers her about the debate: the idea that we should have the same standards for all presidents. No, I'm not kidding:
Look, I voted for President Obama because I trust his values and his judgment and I believe his is a fundamentally responsible actor. Without gratuitously slamming ex-president Bush I think he displayed extraordinary lapses in judgement in executing his primary responsibility as commander in chief and put troops in harms way imprudently.
President Obama would have exercised better judgment and he has exercised better judgment. The way it stands now the drone program is exclusively within the domain of the Executive. Their protocol, their judgement. So yeah, I feel a whole lot better about the program when the decider, so to speak, is President Obama. That's not to say that again the process shouldn't be codified, that there shouldn't be oversight.
But really, is our standard so low that we would only grant powers to the executive that we would trust in the hands of a man who misled the nation into a war we never should have been involved in? What would George W. Bush do? That's our standard? We would never allow a power to the presidency that we wouldn't feel comfortable giving to George W. Bush? I think we can raise the bar a little bit from that.
For a little perspective lets keep in mind that the president does have the unilateral power to drop nuclear bombs and destroy the whole planet. Do you feel the same about George W. Bush having that power as President Obama? Call me a hypocrite but I sure don't.
Glenn Greenwald's been calling this out for years, but I defy him to find a better example of the hypocrisy that drives him so crazy. Obviously, this is a fairly common belief among those who believe the President they voted for is "good" and the one they don't like is "bad" but it's rare that you see anyone boldly say that they think the standard should be different for their own because well ... he's a better person. It takes a certain courage (or blindness) to come right out and admit it.
I actually feel worse about President Obama seizing this power and using it because I voted for him and feel more responsible for it. (And no I don't actually feel any better that President Obama has the nuclear football --- I don't think anyone should have it.) Of course we should never allow a power to the presidency that we wouldn't feel comfortable giving to George W. Bush! I realize that she believes Barack Obama can do no wrong, but does she not understand that whoever is elected after him might not be such a paragon? Or does she simply believe that when a Republican is in office we can just "take away" the power until someone she likes gets into office?
Personally, I think all presidents have too much power over life and death in this American Empire. But I really don't trust presidents who create new powers to torture, kidnap and kill civilians with no due process and no accountability out of whole cloth. Bush did all that. As far as we know, Obama isn't doing the torturing and kidnapping, but eliminating two out of three is hardly virtuous. And he's doing exactly what Bush did by issuing secret memos giving him extra-judicial powers, this time to draw up lists of humans to be targeted by drone planes --- and he gave himself the power to order the murder of American citizens with no due process at all. That's new. Very new. I think if anyone had blind faith in the president's judgment that fact should make them take their blinders off.