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Obama in his Attempts to Appease is Losing the Moral High Ground

The real intellectual debate paradigm, in and outside the beltway, should not be over the merits of an untrammeled Wall Street or the unilateral, aggressive, military policies that have characterized the thinking of the GOP the last eight years. They have clearly lost that debate, even if the msm still tries to manufacture one, as the country staggers down the path of deep recession, leftover from the legacies of the Bush years.

But Obama was supposed to be a 'transformational' president not a back, Bush-sliding one. One third of the Obama economic stimulus plan were more of the same Bush perennial tax cuts, that won over exactly three Republican senators and zero GOP Congressman. It is hard to be bipartisan when the other party is insane and ridicules any public infusion of money. And this, after Bush doubled the national debt in his two terms, intervened disastrously and expensively in the Middle East, and then recklessly gave the banks a huge 800 billion dollar bailout with Iraqi-like Provisional Authority, no accountability.

Rather than wipe the slate clean, Obama is doing a Clinton-like triangulation with his own recent national security decisions, just as he did with his economic stimulus plan and the continuation of Tarp 2. What kind of transformative change is this? The only thing that Obama is wiping off is the Bush smirk.

In his first 48 hours in office, Obama started eloquently enough; banning torture and signing an order to close Guantanamo Bay.

During a signing ceremony at the White House, Obama reaffirmed his inauguration pledge that the United States does not have "to continue with a false choice between our safety and our ideals."

The president said he was issuing the order to close the facility in order to "restore the standards of due process and the core constitutional values that have made this country great even in the midst of war, even in dealing with terrorism."

What has happened since? He has pledged to continue 'the state secrets privilege', denying in many cases innocent men due processs who were kidnapped and tortured in extraordinary rendition cases by 'CIA torture travel agents. Read Glenn Greenwald's 'Obama fails his first test on civil liberties and accountability -- resoundingly and disgracefully".

Now in his second big case,

The Obama administration, siding with the Bush White House, contended Friday that detainees in Afghanistan have no constitutional rights.

In a two-sentence court filing, the Justice Department said it agreed that detainees at Bagram Airfield cannot use U.S. courts to challenge their detention. The filing shocked human rights attorneys.

"They've now embraced the Bush policy that you can create prisons outside the law," said Jonathan Hafetz, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union who has represented several detainees.

Why this apparent U turn; this was precisely the Executive secrecy that Obama campaigned.. against?

My feeling is that Obama knows why JFK was murdered? Kennedy turned his back on the anti-Castro CIA Cuban exiles after the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion in January 1961, coupled with Bobby Kennedy's aggressive pursuit of the Mafia (which was then quite powerful) as the then Attorney- General.

Obama will be very careful of alienating both the CIA and Pentagon and their heavy influence in the US political establishment, which is why Robert Gates, ex-Republican Director of the CIA, who was a pivotal figure in Iran Contragate, is still Defense Secretary. And besides, progressive bloggers are not physical threats to him.

As Gore Vidal concluded, "There is only one political party in the US, the property (money) one and two wings- the reactionary wing (the Republicans) and the conservative wing (the Democrats)".

Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!

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Comments (4)

Hello Steve, great to have you back with another thoughtful post here. Democrats always tend to slide towards the center once elected president, that's common. However, I fully expect Obama to push the nation ahead in many areas. He's not any radical mind you, but he's also not confrontational either. Many on left also compromised their views enough to help elect Obama as well. I think many there realize that he's not a radical either, but at least some healthy baby steps in progressiveness.


Steve, those poor innocent prisoners at Bagram were captured on the battle field. Therefore, they have no standing in our civil/criminal courts. The fall under the POW conventions.

Sure don't why that is so hard for the bleeding hearts to understand. And that prison falls under military authority, and isn't outside of the law. Just suck it up Steve, the bleeding hearts aren't going to win this one.

Steve Crickmore:

Allen, unless I stand corrected, those incarcerated at Bagram aren't considered by the Bush and now Obama administrations to be POWs' and therefore subject to the Geneva Conventions or having to have charges filed against them , even though the Supreme Court overruled Bush in Guantanamo Bay and declared that the prisoners there had these rights even as Bush tried to declare them unlawful enemy combatants.

There are no military hearings (at Bagram) where the detainees can present evidence," she added. "Torture has led to homicides there that have been admitted by the US."

"It's quite a severe situation, and yet the US is planning a $60m new prison to hold 1,100 more people there."

The US military considers Bagram detainees unlawful combatants who can be detained for as long as they are deemed a threat to Afghan national security.

Yes, most of the Bagram prisoners found were on the battlefield in Afghanistan, but some were shipped from elsewhere. I expect the Supreme Court will eventually make a decision against the administration on Bagram, unless Obama has come up with a new plan on how to deal with with the Bagram detainees and terror suspects, perhaps placing them under a new category and court system as speculated in this week's New Yorker piece, 'Hard Cases'.


Chris Matthews says he's 'getting angry'.

Buyer's remorse?


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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