This was first posted on April 21, 2009.
Mr. Obama, who has been saying that the nation should look ahead rather than focusing on the past, said he is “not suggesting” that a commission be established.
But in response to questions from reporters in the Oval Office, he said, “if and when there needs to be a further accounting,” he hoped that Congress would examine ways to obtain one “in a bipartisan fashion,” from people who are independent and therefore can build credibility with the public.
I’d like to say this is fundamentally a dodge. It is a dodge — he wants to look ahead, not back, he’s not suggesting, he’s leaving doors open… it is a dodge, and frankly a contemptible one.
But fundamentally it is not a dodge. Fundamentally it is something much more horrible. It is the process by which the United States takes on a practice associated with tyrannies and, far from being an endorsement of the rule of law, elevates the assumption to power to the ability to punish the previous regime for “incorrect” — and hence “criminal” — policies.
It is no different from the argument about the supposedly inevitable impeachment of ex-President Bush, also based on supposed crimes arising from torture. As I wrote on a private list, made up mainly of attorneys, discussing that topic (adapted here), there is a tendency among certain people, and in particular those attracted to a certain pole in political debate, to regard their political choices or philosophical conclusions as the sole “moral” choice. In fact, (a) criminalization of political disagreement, (2) the use of penal power to punish players in the previous regime, and (3) the adaptation of legislative bodies as proxies to loose the necessary political “justice” when the traditional judicial organs refuse to comply, have historically been popular options for playing out this partisan outrage and sating the desire for “moral” vindication on the politically deviant.
Just not in this country.
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Listening to the contemporary American left’s views of the rest of us is increasingly like listening to a paranoid schizophrenic slip farther into delusions that they are surrounded by malevolent people. Just as we have to worry that the schizophrenic might act on their delusional beliefs and strike out violently against the evils they imagine, we have to be increasingly worried that leftists will strike out against the rest of us based on their delusional fantasies about what we non-leftists believe.
When you’ve lost Frank Rich, you’ve lost conventional-wisdom punditAmerica.
Not his smoothest phrase ever, but Glenn is right on. This is a phenomenal departure by the one-time “Butcher of Broadway” from the party line, and an encouraging sign that even for some of the biggest Kool-Aid-guzzlers, there’s hope.
I don’t mean “hope” for major political change, or anything like that. Come on!
Rather, it’s a sign there’s hope for something once again resembling a remotely honest, tell-it-like-it-is “Fourth Estate” — the very terminology of which makes me think that, in fact, something else is going on here, too:
Obama is toeing what turns out to be the third (or fourth) rail of American journalistic politics: K Street.
It turns out that PunditAmerica’s jealousy of the ascent of the lobbyist class to the status of de facto branch of government — now more powerful than the mainstream media, whose own former privileges as “owners” of the official truth have been dashed beyond recognition — trumps its class loyalty to a President whose ability to bestow the MSM with specialness has eroded concomitantly. And that is in all likelihood what is motivating Frank Rich, at least as much as political idealism, to nail his thesis to the cathedral door.
Still and all, good for you, Frank. And it’s not even a year since Election Day.
That’s what Jon Stewart is, at least — at least regarding ACORN.
My favorite line: “Your pimp outfit appears to be a fur coat on top of your Andover uniform.”
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
|The Audacity of Hos|
Even Stewart is mocking that idea that this mere right-wing agitprop. As Glenn Reynolds (who I now see has also embedded this video) says in another post:
And you have to love this: “Robert L. Borosage, co-director of the liberal Campaign for America’s Future, called the tactics used to go after Mr. Jones and Acorn ‘McCarthyite,’ and said the critics were harping on minor failings.”
Yeah, it’s exactly the same. Heck, compared to Joe McCarthy’s famous pimp disguise, this kid’s an amateur. . . .