Now that even super-duper-ultramega Tuesday may not settle the Democratic field, I guess I need to think for once into who to vote for in the PA Dem primary on April 22.
As painful as the decision ought to be when Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton stand apart on policy like Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee, it really isn’t. To illustrate why, take our President. On paper the Bush agenda wasn’t nearly as bad as the means he used to promote it. What the his advisors wanted was often pretty vile, but that’s part of the problem. The commander guy’s own interests usually lose to more powerful men who take advantage of his personal weakness to guide every major decision. Since the strong men in the President’s circle don’t all agree with each other government under Bush has turned into an unaccountable, incoherent mess.
Iraq for example. Who made the decision to disband the Iraqi army? Bush blamed Paul Bremer. Bremer has demonstrated fairly clearly that the orders came from Washington, but probably not from the President, who had just sent Bremer a letter supporting his decision to keep the army together. The decision, like most under Bush, came from a hidden struggle between bureaucratic infighters who found it easier to leave the President in the dark.
Blogosphere left didn’t look for Hillary or Edwards to recant their war vote because we like watching powerful people self-flagellate, although that certainly doesn’t happen enough. We made a stink because we want to know that they won’t do it again. The fact that Hillary cannot or will not acknowledge her mistake makes me think, fairly or unfairly, that crass politics could railroad her into catastrophically stupid decisions in the future just as easily as it did then.
But that’s small beans next to the constitutional mess that the Bush legacy will leave for President 44. It’s baggage, a giant bellhop-slaying pile of it, with David Addington’s initials stenciled on the side. The next president should burn it, scatter the ashes and choose judges based on how emphatically they will overturn every aspect of Addington’s totalitarian agenda. Or she could pick up the bags on her way in. It’s a lot of power. If she felt like it the next President could record the phone and email of every critic, Republican and potential Islamic terrorist without the NSA breaking a sweat. I don’t like living in a country where a spineless boy king with machiavellian advisors has that freedom and I don’t look forward to a Democrat having it either.
The courts may eventually roll some back (although with the new SCOTUS formula, who knows?). Chris Dodd will win some through the legislative branch. But many precedents now exist that the next president will have to actively repudiate. Whether or not Hillary’s heart is in the right place, cynical gamesmanship like this makes me doubt that she will have any problem with the Addington revolution. Unchecked executive power could be just her thing. So reluctantly, despite plenty of things to like about Hillary, and unless Edwards shows some signs of life before April, I plan to vote for Obama.