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!