Is Obama Channeling Cheney?

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Monday, March 09, 2009 at 7:00 am

That’s the claim made by the Wall Street Journal editorial board over the weekend, hammering Obama for his aggressive assertion of executive power to hide evidence of warrantless wiretapping under the Bush administration.

As I wrote last week, the case of Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation v. Obama has showcased the Obama justice department’s willingness to fight tooth-and-nail to protect its authority to conceal information it deems a “state secret,” even if it’s covering up for actions of the prior administration. The purpose seems to be more about defending the executive’s right to assert the “state secrets privilege” to dismiss a case in the future, and to determine when classified information can or can’t be released to the public, rather than about protecting the specific information involved in the case, since, as I’ve explained before, we all pretty much know at this point what that information is. (The government accidentally provided it to Al-Haramain’s lawyers, who suddenly knew they’d been wiretapped and filed the lawsuit.)

As the Journal puts it, given the Obama DOJ’s assertion that the president alone has the right to decide when to release classified information, regardless of the orders of a federal judge, “we’re beginning to wonder if the White House has put David Addington, Mr. Cheney’s chief legal aide, on retainer.”

Even if the Journal is just beating up on Obama to discredit him (after all, it goes on to say it agrees with the Justice Department’s broad assertions), the editorial does raise an important question: are the Democrats (and the mainstream media) turning a blind eye to broad claims of executive power that they denounced just last week when similar theories of executive authority surfaced in Office of Legal Counsel memos produced under President George W. Bush?

Comments

2 Comments

Hawaiian style
Comment posted April 8, 2009 @ 12:07 pm

I liked the President better as a candidate. He had more idealism, and was more honest. For example his statements as a President that we do not torture and we will prosecute criminals where there is clear evidence of wrongdoing in reality means something different.

His torture statement means that we will not torture during his term. In reality it does nothing for American's reputation in the long term.

His statement that he will prosecute the criminals, is unfortunately, a victim of politics. He is afraid to take on the intelligence community. I wonder if he is afraid they will not send him full accurate intelligence. That thought is really scary.

I now believe that because the news cycle is so short and there are so many problems the President thinks he can focus on other problems that are less politically dangerous, and when he succeeds there, remain popular without addressing torture and domestic spying.

If we as a country investigate and prosecute those that torture, the reputation of America changes. It goes from America tortures people when its scared, to America tortured prisoners when a group of zealots were in charge of the country, but we don't and won't tolerate it. We know its a crime.

I'm afraid Obama is going to be seduced by glory and adulation. I thought he was a “common man's President” where America comes first. One who was not only going to fix the problems in our country, but one who would not look to his reputation internationally, not get swayed by the seductive allure of being an “International Leader.” I am beginning to think I was wrong.

He is going to keep spying illegally on US citizens. He is not going to punish law breakers when it is politically hard. He is going to turn into a charismatic politician, not a true leader.

I wonder if President Lincoln ever thought Civil War is a huge political gamble? I wonder if he thought, “I can just sort of focus on other problems and let the sticky question of slavery go? It would be a safer course.” Apparently if he did think that he must have realized that he still had to do the right thing regardless of the political and personal consequences.

I guess that is why we consider him our greatest President.

?


Hawaiianstyle
Comment posted April 8, 2009 @ 7:07 pm

I liked the President better as a candidate. He had more idealism, and was more honest. For example his statements as a President that we do not torture and we will prosecute criminals where there is clear evidence of wrongdoing in reality means something different.

His torture statement means that we will not torture during his term. In reality it does nothing for American's reputation in the long term.

His statement that he will prosecute the criminals, is unfortunately, a victim of politics. He is afraid to take on the intelligence community. I wonder if he is afraid they will not send him full accurate intelligence. That thought is really scary.

I now believe that because the news cycle is so short and there are so many problems the President thinks he can focus on other problems that are less politically dangerous, and when he succeeds there, remain popular without addressing torture and domestic spying.

If we as a country investigate and prosecute those that torture, the reputation of America changes. It goes from America tortures people when its scared, to America tortured prisoners when a group of zealots were in charge of the country, but we don't and won't tolerate it. We know its a crime.

I'm afraid Obama is going to be seduced by glory and adulation. I thought he was a “common man's President” where America comes first. One who was not only going to fix the problems in our country, but one who would not look to his reputation internationally, not get swayed by the seductive allure of being an “International Leader.” I am beginning to think I was wrong.

He is going to keep spying illegally on US citizens. He is not going to punish law breakers when it is politically hard. He is going to turn into a charismatic politician, not a true leader.

I wonder if President Lincoln ever thought Civil War is a huge political gamble? I wonder if he thought, “I can just sort of focus on other problems and let the sticky question of slavery go? It would be a safer course.” Apparently if he did think that he must have realized that he still had to do the right thing regardless of the political and personal consequences.

I guess that is why we consider him our greatest President.

?


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