Example #4798 of why believing in "transpartisanship" is BS
It didn't take a political genius to know that the Republicans were shall we say ... insincere in their belief that Guantanamo should be closed:
[I]n response to a seventh-grader’s question about what advice he’d give his inexperienced self, Obama said he should have taken a more immediate approach, presumably by simply ordering the remaining 242 detainees be moved elsewhere. That stopped being an option after Congress passed restrictions on transferring Gitmo prisoners to the United States.
“I think I would’ve closed Guantanamo on the first day,” Obama said. “I didn’t because at that time we had a bipartisan agreement that it should be closed.”
Defense Secretary Ash Carter, accompanied by Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, pauses while testifying on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 18, 2015, before the House Armed Services Committee hearing on President Obama's use of military force proposal against IS and the Defense Department's budget.
Indeed, Obama’s Republican opponent John McCain had also run on closing Gitmo in 2008, and George W. Bush said in a memoir he would’ve liked to close the facility. But in March 2009, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) started taking to the floor to warn against shuttering the prison.
“No acceptable alternatives exist,” McConnell wrote in The Washington Post, in just one early instance of the Republican leader frustrating Obama’s ambitions.
After opposition grew, Obama acknowledged Wednesday, “the path of least resistance was to just keep it open even though it’s not who we are as a country.”
There is a lesson here which I doubt anyone will learn. Movement conservatives are not pragmatists. They are revolutionaries. They have proved it over and over again. If a Democrat wants to get something other than their agenda done they are going to have to do it themselves or find a way to blackmail the GOP into cooperating. And anyone who believed that the GOP was really committed to closing Guantanamo rather than just trying to find something, anything, to distance themselves from the debacle of George W. Bush, was naive in the extreme. Republicans are organized around fear. Closing Gitmo expressed a sanguinity about the safety of Americans in the face of a foreign threat that would never in a million years work for them.
Oh well. It's just a prison camp full of Muslims we have tortured and subjected to a kangaroo court that has the legitimacy of Judge Judy. What harm can it do to keep them there for decades?