Free Markets, Free People

Obama: Rhetoric v. Reality

Another emerging hallmark of Obama rhetoric are the startling inconsistencies to be found there. For instance, his speech at the National Archives where he invoked the founding documents as the keepers of our fundamental rights and values and condemned the previous administration for its egregious violations of those right and values. All of it sounded lofty and certainly rhetorically satisfying. But then, within a few paragraphs, Obama trots out his policy plan for indefinite detention for those who we even suspect of wishing to do violence against the US.

And it was the past administration which did what that was so bad?

Even Sen. Russ Feingold can’t quite stomach the inconsistency:

While I recognize that your administration inherited detainees who, because of torture, other forms of coercive interrogations, or other problems related to their detention or the evidence against them, pose considerable challenges to prosecution, holding them indefinitely without trial is inconsistent with the respect for the rule of law that the rest of your speech so eloquently invoked. Indeed, such detention is a hallmark of abusive systems that we have historically criticized around the world.

Gitmo is a place. And places can be shut down. But what Obama is talking about is a policy – a policy of government – in which people can be incarcerated without charges and held for as long as the government deems necessary. How again is that a difference from the previous administration? How is that better?

Feingold again:

Once a system of indefinite detention without trial is established, the temptation to use it in the future would be powerful. And, while your administration may resist such a temptation, future administrations may not. There is a real risk, then, of establishing policies and legal precedents that rather than ridding our country of the burden of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, merely set the stage for future Guantanamos, whether on our shores or elsewhere, with disastrous consequences for our national security.

I had to laugh at this – “resist such a temptation”? For heaven sake Senator, his administration is suggesting the policy! Why would he “resist the temptation” when it is obvious that his administration sees it as a necessary tool to combat threats against the US?

Worse, those policies and legal precedents would be effectively enshrined as acceptable in our system of justice, having been established not by one, largely discredited administration, but by successive administrations of both parties with greatly contrasting positions on legal and constitutional issues….

And that’s the point, isn’t it? Once it becomes policy – once it is enshrined in law (and I’m not, at this point, at all sure how the SCOTUS would rule on such a law although I’m certainly sure on how I think they should rule) it is open to use and abuse by government. So while we may or may not agree with what the previous administration did, in this regard, they never tried to make it policy and an legally blessed (but morally wrong) method of handling those we capture and incarcerate in this war against Islamic extremism.

Anyone monitoring what Barack Obama has been saying since taking the oath of office who doesn’t see a rather large authoritarian streak in the man hasn’t been paying attention. What he is suggesting is blatantly worse than what the Bush administration did. Unfortunately, it is mostly being lost in the ground clutter of the financial crisis. But it is certainly there for those who take the time to look.


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11 Responses to Obama: Rhetoric v. Reality

  • Well, I’m sure when they arrest and hold an ‘American Citizen’ without paying attention to trivial things like Habeas Corpus the Democrats will rise up as a body and protest at their very loudest. 

    Yes yes, I’m sure, and the Obama Cheer section will, um, well, they’ll pause in their cheering to suggest to dear leader “this is wrong Dear Leader, please relent!”.

    And after much scurrying for cover the answer will be “Blame Bush!”

    It always is.

  • What is the difference between this administration and the previous one?

    Their hearts are pure.

  • While wandering in that wilderness
    you can take some joy
    in knowing you’ve left behind
    no-win messes to clean up

    • Uh huh, as opposed to taking a principled stand NOT to suspend Habeas Corpus as a matter of policy – you know, principle, right? 

      “in knowing you’ve left behind”
      But thanks for being the first player to “blame Bush”.  

      I’m sure if the feces contacts the whirling blade in this area the Administration will follow your lead in this regard, but I guess it beats constantly having to play the race card.

  • Unfortunately, it is mostly being lost in the ground clutter of the financial crisis. But it is certainly there for those who take the time to look.

    Hmmm.  Pardon the minor diversion, Bruce. I just commented on this point in a broader sense to someone in email, just last night.  It’s interesting you’ve begin to notice this, too, and not just insofar as the finacial matters at hand.

    I noted that whatever else might be said about them, the Democrat party, Obama included,  are certainly ‘flooding the feild’ with things that individually, many if not most Americans would raise hell about. But there’s so very much going on that the result is a story line that gets so complex, no mere mortal can follow it all. The result is less ofbection to it.  Rather like a punch-drunk fighter, whose reaction times have gone to hell from being clobbered so often in a short period of time… they tend to stand there and take it, rather than fighting back.

    Certainly the reaction  to Obama and his actions since taking office, has taken on a somewhat disjointed quality, even from those who ostensibly support him.

    Maybe I’m nnot saying this correctly… my Palm here isn’t the best thought editing tool. Does this make sense to any of you?
    From the Palm Treo….

  • holding them indefinitely without trial is inconsistent with the respect for the rule of law

    First there is civil law and there is the “law of war”.  These are much different.  Most lawyers don’t spend much, if any, time in regard to the “law of war”.
    Seconds most “law of war” is based in the wars of nation upon nation, not with these nationless terrorist figures and their “low intensity” wars.

    Using history as a guide, what did Spain do with all those “idealists” that went to Spain to fight in the Spanish Civil War ? 

    “Of course we shot them –he said to me– What do you expect? Was I supposed to take 4000 reds with me as my column advance, racing against time? Was I expected to turn them loose in my rear and let them make Badajoz red again?”

  • Your first line could replace the term “Obama” with “Political” and it would be more accurate.  You are finding the same faults with Obama as Democrats found with Bush, Reagan, Nixon, etc.  Republicans find those faults with every Democrat too.  Political rhetoric is designed to sell ideas, and is always inconsistent with reality.  You just don’t seem to notice it as much when you agree with the politician — in fact, I daresay your posts engage in the same sort of inconsistencies (especially involving Iraq and the once inappropriately labeled ‘war on terror’ — a rhetorical term that had no connection with reality!)   It’s also amusing that authoritarian streak certainly was used by the left to talk about how Cheney and Bush operated after 9-11.   In short, you’re giving a generic political critique that can be applied by anybody against just about any politician.   That does mean that Obama is just another political leader, nothing special.  But like Reagan or Kennedy, he’s really good at it — and that’s probably why he’s going to irritate those who oppose him for another 7 1/2 years.

    • “You are finding the same faults with Obama as Democrats Obama found with Bush. . .”

      FIFY, educated imbecile.

  • Is there no policy of Obama’s that Scott Erb won’t defend?

    If Bush had proffered the same policy, Erb would be here writing thousands of words decrying it.

  • Huh, strikethrough didn’t work.