The enemy of the good

I pretty much agree with John on most of his last post. All the complaining over healthcare reform’s lackluster finished product from many on the left seemed to miss the larger point: the healthcare law was a huge step forward, even if it wasn’t perfect. And this applies to a lot of the various critiques of the Obama administration. If the Republicans are the party of “No!” then many on the left apparently want to be the party of “Never Enough!”

But…on some issues I think the administration deserves a lot worse than it gets. Obama has been pretty lacking in the hope and change department when it comes to civil liberties, gay rights, and immigration – often inexcusably so.

Obama should have ended DADT the day he took office. The assassination program, however limited it may be, is a horrifying example of executive overreach – and exactly the sort of thing people worried about during the Bush administration – that each subsequent president would take a little more power, a few more liberties, another small step into our privacy, all in the name of security. And security is a will’o’the’wisp. We’ll never achieve a state of perfect security, no matter how many countries we bomb, how many radical clerics we assassinate, how many prisoners of war we torture.

Add to this the fact that deportations of illegal immigrants have increased substantially since Obama took office; that the Obama administration is legally challenging the rulings against DOMA and will likely challenge the recent judgment against DADT; and the various other spying and privacy issues and you begin to paint a pretty disappointing portrait of this administration, legislative accomplishments notwithstanding.

It’s one thing to say, “Look, we’ve achieved a great deal on the legislative front and even if it’s not perfect at least on all these other issues like gay rights and privacy and the war on terror we’re making really good steps in the right direction!” and quite another to tie the pragmatic arguments to these power grabs and civil liberties abuses.

I honestly don’t think the Republican party offers anything but a much worse alternative – but that doesn’t mean people should be particularly happy with this administration, or that we shouldn’t demand more. That a hypothetical Palin presidency would be worse than this one means very little. And times change. The conservative-lib/dem coalition in the UK has from the get-go offered a better track record on reversing civil rights abuses. Whose to say a Cameroonesque takeover of the American right couldn’t produce a much more civil-liberty-friendly alternative to Democratic overreach?






74 replies
  1. 1
    Tsulagi says:

    Good post.

  2. 2
    Martin says:

    You’re taking issue to the deportations? That’s to a letter the law of the land. That’s precisely what the administration is obligated to do and should be doing. I agree with that 100% and I don’t see a contradiction between that and thinking that immigration reform along with a reasonable amnesty program is critically needed.

    If the facts of the link you provided are correct, and half of those departed had criminal arrests, how can at least that population be argued against?

  3. 3
    mistermix says:

    Cameron got to where he is today because there was a viable third party with whom he could compromise.

    There’s no such animal here. So, which I agree that a socially liberal/fiscally conservative compromise party might make sense, the groundwork hasn’t been laid for it.

  4. 4
    morzer says:

    You are much too optimistic on the Cameroons and their coalition. Hardly a day passes without a broken pledge or a further revelation of the mean-spirited greed that characterizes the Tories, under the burqa of Cameron’s rosy-cheeked used car salesman act.

  5. 5
    cleek says:

    agreed.

    i’ve been most disappointed in Obama’s civil rights record.

    his “legislative record” is acceptable. but it must be noted that the credit there has to be shared with the legislature. the things Obama really sucks at are among the things for which he (well, his branch of the government) has sole responsibility.

  6. 6
    scav says:

    yeah, I’d be another voice holding off praise of the Cameroonites for a while yet. c.f. the behavior of Carrionites: it’s just a pricking of my thumbs and the breadcrumbs scattered about the forest path feeling.

  7. 7
    EFroh says:

    It amuses me that this (absolutely true) post was written by the most conservative author on this blog.

  8. 8
    Spiffy McBang says:

    A Cameron-ish right would be a) quite useful and b) as likely as Santa Claus shitting the Easter Bunny down your chimney.

    If anything’s going to get reversed it’s more likely to be under a Democratic president/Congress, since the only groups of people who seem to care at all are the “extreme” left wingers (Larison-ish conservatives seem so few and far between I end up viewing them as stand-alone entities). Of course, that’s like saying you’re more likely to win the lottery while getting struck by lightning than fly into outer space on the wings of a giant moth. But it’s still true.

  9. 9
    maye says:

    I can understand not wanting to upset the military apple cart in the first term when the two wars are still going. (And I vehemently oppose the escalation in Afghanistan). I think it is underestimated how “christianized” the military became under 8 years of Bush/Cheney. Having said that, there would be no reason whatsoever to avoid doing a Trumanesque blanket ending of DADT in the second term. Of course, you piss enough people off in your first term, there won’t be a second term. The argument that it could be reversed by a later Repub. administration is countered by the possibility that when it is shown to have no negative affects on the armed services after a few years, a Repub. president would not try to reverse it.

    I too am disappointed in Obama’s avoidance of gay rights issues.

  10. 10
    Svensker says:

    Whose to say a Cameroonesque takeover of the American right couldn’t produce a much more civil-liberty-friendly alternative to Democratic overreach?

    And who would you choose to lead this takeover? Say-rah? Ms. O’d? T-Paw? Or are you thinking Ben Nelson is going to get together with Susan Collins and form the Mustache Of Understanding’s Green Tea Party?

    If you can show any reality behind your idea then it might be interesting. Otherwise, it’s no more real than John’s time travel dream.

  11. 11
    Ronbo says:

    “perfect”, perfect!?! This healthcare, no…this insurance mandate, is the near-exact same plan that Richard M. Nixon suggested and was laughed off stage for pandering to the insurance corporations. Four decades later and we are recycling what was then considered “junk legislation”?

    I don’t expect “perfect”; I expect a step in the right direction. This is a step backwards – decades backwards.

    Look at the details: You can’t be refused for a pre-existing condition…but you can be priced out of the market. Loophole alert! You can’t get regular insurance…you have a cooperative. A cooperative from the regular suspects, with a steep price jump. Loophole alert! Price controls, no. Just the finger-crossed promise that “we corporations won’t raise prices!”

    Praising Corporate Democrats for pushing the same crap, written primarily … of, by and for… the insurance Corporations – this just isn’t right. It’s extreme right.

    Stop blaming me for having the knowledge that this program is full-scale Corporatism. I’ve seen second-rate plans in Canada, Europe, etc…. Those plans aren’t perfect; but, they are functioning “healthcare”. What this package is, is Insurance. It’s a gift-wrapped present to the rich.

    Obama has enacted just about every Republican plan as if he were a Republican. Odd, the establishment media keeps calling him Liberal. First, Richard M. Nixon’s Health Insurance plan…check! Bush’s bank bailout plan…check! Bush’s war plan continued…check! The military industrial complex’s war on terror continued…check! Continuation of financial status quo…check! Continuation of extraordinary rendition…check!

    A person who thinks and doesn’t just parrot, might say that we should be concerned. Why? Next up… Let’s watch Obama and the “Dems” gut Social Security. We all know Repubs couldn’t touch it. So, we get a stealth Repub, er Democrat to gut it. What money wants, money gets. That’s the new American golden rule.

    “Perfect”…my ass.

  12. 12
    Xantar says:

    So E.D. Kain joins the “just sign an executive order against DADT!” chorus. Are we going to have to spend another 50 comments rehashing why that’s not going to work?

    And are we going to have to spend another 100 comemnts rehashing why the Justice Department has to defend the laws that Congress enacts even if the President himself disagrees with those laws?

    Just because you stopped being a pretend-conservative doesn’t mean I’m going to let you get away with not knowing how the executive branch actually functions.

  13. 13
    middlewest says:

    I can’t believe people are really so stupid about this executive order bullshit. He’s not going to impose a massive change in military policy by EO because it would piss off Lieberman and the other military leg-humpers in the senate, who are already on board with repeal, but only if they can frame it as a military leg-humping issue. This whole charade of the year-long investigation and the formal request is for THEIR benefit, and you should have been able to figure that out for yourself; it’s so fucking simple.

    Of course, some of you really just don’t give a shit, do you? You’d happily trade a guaranteed coalition of senate votes and the permanent repeal of DADT for some half-assed executive order that you can have RIGHT NOW. For you people, I recommend eating a bowl of chocolate ice cream. It’ll give you the temporary rush you crave while the grownups do the work.

  14. 14
    MikeJ says:

    You’re in favor of the president simply ignoring laws he doesn’t like? DADT is a law. It was passed by congress and signed by Clinton. The only way to get it off the books is to have the congress repeal it. Obama has said he will sign it when that is done, but he could not get rid of it on his first day in office.

    Note that the recent court decision doesn’t get rid of DADT, merely makes it unenforceable. Which is great, but not as good as getting rid of a bad law altogether.

  15. 15
    mclaren says:

    “Who’s to say?” Ed.

    Now that the rule of law has gone away, the best we can hope for is to be ruled by distracted and lenient tyrants.

    You want an Octavian, not a Caligula. That’s our only real choice now. Republicans = the party of Caligula, Democrats = the party of Octavian.

  16. 16
    burnspbesq says:

    EDK:

    “Whose to say a Cameroonesque takeover of the American right couldn’t produce a much more civil-liberty-friendly alternative to Democratic overreach?”

    Not me. What I will say, however, is that that sort of outbreak of sanity seems no more likely than Pope Benny coming out.

  17. 17
    Mike from Philly says:

    Thank you!!! A thousand times this.

  18. 18
    fasteddie9318 says:

    __

    that the Obama administration is legally challenging the rulings against DOMA and will likely challenge the recent judgment against DADT

    Look, the DOJ is supposed to defend federal law in court. What it’s not supposed to do is selectively choose which laws to defend and which to let go according to the political desires of the administration. The fact that we recently spent 8 years with the VP’s hand up the ass of whoever was serving as AG at the time does not make that scenario acceptable. The DOJ must be independent of the administration on these issues. If you want to take issue with the fact that their DOMA defense was full of homophobic slurs, then great, but that’s not Obama’s fuck up.

    On civil liberties, on the other hand, they’ve been a fucking disgrace. It’s all about ceding power and protecting the institution. Fuck whether it’s right or wrong, legal or illegal; Shrub and Vader carved out some super neato massive unchecked authorities for the executive branch, and for obvious, though disappointing, reasons, Obama’s administration feels the need to defend that turf and exercise that authority.

  19. 19
    Cat says:

    David Cameron would be a Democrat. Seriously? A republican?

  20. 20
    Observer says:

    ED,

    nice post but bad argument.

    When someone posits that the U.K. conservatives are doing X so it would be great if Republicans could just emulate X, he or she is trying to get you to share the widespread delusion that because they use the same word “conservative” that it somehow means the same thing.

    But we don’t have to pretend that American conservatives are anything like UK conservatives because in the U.K. conservatives believe in public health care, a ban on the death penalty and generally avoid gay-baiting and race-baiting.

    By Americans standards this makes U.K. conservatives socialists.

    There will be no Cameron-esque Republican to emerge from Limbaugh soaked rabble of American Conservatism.

    There will never be.

  21. 21
    beergoggles says:

    @MikeJ: You’re wrong. The ruling strikes down DADT and the injunction makes it unenforceable. They are two different but related things.

  22. 22
    brantl says:

    A takeover of the right by whom? In that party? Are you certifiably insane?

  23. 23

    @fasteddie9318:

    “Look, the DOJ is supposed to defend federal law in court. ”

    Legal experts say they don’t have to defend this law. The judge gave the DoJ 60 days to appeal. What happens if they dont’? The Constitution catches on fire and America gets repossessed?

  24. 24
    Bob Loblaw says:

    want to be the party of “Never Enough!”

    Those monsters! Can’t they see how flippin’ awesome it is to be an American these days? Somebody crank the Lee Greenwood!

    Democrats = the party of Octavian.

    We should kill to have the Democrats show even the slightest bit of competency of Augustus. Or Claudius. Instead we have to settle for Domitian or the like.

  25. 25
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Observer: This, said more concisely than I would have.

    Though I wish you and the fourteen other self-ID’d conservatives who want to bring back civil liberties the best of luck. Serious question: Have any of you been in touch with the likes of Chuck Hagel or John Warner, who might be willing to speak up on something like this? and would have some credibility with the Broders?

  26. 26
    Cat says:

    @brantl:

    Are you certifiably insane?

    He did claim to be a thinking libertarian or some such nonsense and then quickly claimed to have seen the light.

    Most of his posts still contain this college level wanking of epic proportions needed to believe in Libertarianism.

    Tory’s are blue dogs or corporatist dems, to think they’d be able to exert enough influence on the republican party to take it over is delusional.

  27. 27
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Oscar Leroy:

    Legal experts say they don’t have to defend this law. The judge gave the DoJ 60 days to appeal. What happens if they dont’? The Constitution catches on fire and America gets repossessed?

    There’s no statutory requirement that they do it, no. But if we’re OK with the DOJ deciding what cases to appeal based on political considerations, any hope of an autonomous Justice Department, the kind that adheres to the law even when political considerations drive the White House from the law, is flushed down the drain.

    Let’s try another thought experiment since mistermix’s didn’t take. Suppose a district court had struck down Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act in 2005. Would you have been OK with the Bush DOJ not appealing?

  28. 28
    beergoggles says:

    @fasteddie9318: “Look, the DOJ is supposed to defend federal law in court. What it’s not supposed to do is selectively choose which laws to defend and which to let go according to the political desires of the administration.”

    And as has been pointed out many times, the DOJ can defend the law in court, but is under no obligation to keep appealing it up the chain of courts to SCOTUS. There is precedent other than Bush that has been cited (Clinton and Reagan).

    Ignoring facts doesn’t suddenly make you right.

  29. 29
    beergoggles says:

    @fasteddie9318: “Suppose a district court had struck down Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act in 2005. Would you have been OK with the Bush DOJ not appealing?
    Reply”

    Just because we wouldn’t be OK with it doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be legal. In addition, there is this little thing called standing that would have allowed other groups to appeal it should the Bush DOJ have avoided doing so.

    By appealing cases against the civil rights of his supporters, Obama is not preventing any past or future Republican from not appealing their cases. As someone pointed out in another thread, Obama is practicing unilateral disarmament.

  30. 30
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @beergoggles:

    There is precedent other than Bush that has been cited (Clinton and Reagan).
    __
    Ignoring facts doesn’t suddenly make you right.

    Well, if Clinton and Reagan did it, then it must be OK. God knows, when I look to the paragons of governmental ethics and the rule of law, I start with George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Ronald Reagan. I stand corrected.

    I want them to defend DADT and lose. They can lose huge, they can put up only a perfunctory defense, whatever. But for precedent’s sake they need to do it.

  31. 31
    liberal says:

    Hmm…IMHO the administration’s giving in to the banksters, and the moronic escalation in Afghanistan, are worse than the examples you cite.

  32. 32

    @fasteddie9318:

    But if we’re OK with the DOJ deciding what cases to appeal based on political considerations, any hope of an autonomous Justice Department, the kind that adheres to the law even when political considerations drive the White House from the law, is flushed down the drain.

    How high up is the DoJ supposed to appeal on behalf of a law that they think is unconstitutional, though, and on what grounds? If they think the case was correctly decided in a legal sense, why would that be “political considerations”?

    (Assuming that the DoJ agrees the ban is unconstitutional, that is.)

    I’m not being snarky; I really want to understand this whole thing better.

  33. 33
    DougJ is the business and economics editor for Balloon Juice. says:

    Whose to say a Cameroonesque takeover of the American right couldn’t produce a much more civil-liberty-friendly alternative to Democratic overreach?

    The British Tory party is to the left of the Democratic party on most issues. So if we translate from British English to American English, we’re talking about Dennis Kucinich somehow taking over the American right.

  34. 34
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @TooManyJens:

    How high up is the DoJ supposed to appeal on behalf of a law that they think is unconstitutional, though, and on what grounds? If they think the case was correctly decided in a legal sense, why would that be “political considerations”?

    If they legitimately can’t find grounds for appeal, wouldn’t that be decided by the appellate court? IANAL, I just worry about how easy it is to morph “we don’t like this law so we’re not gonna defend it” into “we couldn’t find any grounds for appeal.”

  35. 35
    Observer says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:
    No conservative here, self ID’d or otherwise.

    And definitely no contact with Hagel or Warner.

    The party of No has no reasonable person to talk to. Their success was built on a foundation of Rush Limbaugh hysterics and to pretend they’re anything better than that is a job for someone like Broder. And Obama. And all the other bipartisanship fetishists.

  36. 36

    @fasteddie9318: I see what you’re saying, but I’m starting to think we need a lawyer in here. Also, they did defend it, which was proper. They let the judicial system rule on it, rather than just making the decision themselves whether it was defensible or not. I just don’t know how many iterations of that process should reasonably be expected.

    I also really want to know what happens if a different judge in a different district court rules that the gay ban is constitutional.

  37. 37
    beergoggles says:

    @fasteddie9318: If Clinton did it and it was even borderline against the law, the Republican congress would have impeached him.

    It’s a clear illustration of how not appealing every single district court decision is an acceptable power of the executive.

    If you want to change that, why don’t you lobby congress to pass a law that forces the executive to appeal every loss in district court? Instead, you’re here insisting we fight with our arms tied.

    Even the DOJ admits to their fallacious appeal to tradition in filing their appeal.

    Sorry o-bot, I suggest you get going on your lobbying of congress for your DOJ-must-appeal-all-decisions-to-SCOTUS law.

  38. 38
    Shinobi says:

    Okay, so THIS is what sucks about the two party system. On one hand we have Obama, our bastion of hope who is doing a lot of things on national security I don’t agree with. Things I disagree with him enough on that I would vote against him in the next election.

    Unfortunately we only have one other party, and that party is full of people who would do exactly the same things I don’t agree with, plus additional things that I disagree with even more.

    So what exactly is my option?

    This is why so few people vote in this country.

  39. 39
    John Bird says:

    And that Cameron-esque takeover will happen as soon as America

    1) adopts a parliamentary system that allows a coalition with a civil-liberties-friendly third party,
    2) shifts its political discourse about one standard deviation to the left.

    I mean, the ACLU is the original ACORN in Republican discourse – they just couldn’t shut it down because it’s wealthier.

    Check your local paper’s letter section, or comments on Fox News. Thanks to Reagan, people think that a nonpartisan group defending civil liberties is responsible for the health care bill, Wal-Mart greeter dialogue, and deciding whether Ellen Degeneres is on television.

  40. 40
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @beergoggles:

    Sorry o-bot

    And off you scurry into the “no, fuck you” file.

  41. 41
    beergoggles says:

    @fasteddie9318: the truth hurts?

  42. 42
    John Bird says:

    @DougJ is the business and economics editor for Balloon Juice.:

    The British Tory party is to the left of the Democratic party on most issues. So if we translate from British English to American English, we’re talking about Dennis Kucinich somehow taking over the American right.

    I’m stealing this one.

    I have a good suggestion for Republicans disgruntled with the Republican Party: start pushing for rules changes and state laws that will diminish the power of the two ruling parties.

    And there will be a space for civil liberties defenders – hopefully of the non-militia-movement variety – among the Republicans when the War on Christmas no longer has traction.

    When I worked for a state ACLU affiliate, we got flooded with Christmas cards from right-wingers . . . I guess to piss us off since we are all atheist Satanist Jews?

    Or maybe it was to clog our intake process, which consisted of me and an old PC running MS Access. If so, I deviously foiled the plan by taking every piece of mail that was obviously a Christmas card and putting it in a separate inbox marked “Christmas cards”. So I guess, net loss to us of twenty seconds per day or something.

  43. 43

    Why would Cameroon want to take over America? Are they allies with Kenya?

  44. 44
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Joey Maloney:

    Why would Cameroon want to take over America? Are they allies with Kenya?

    No, no, they only want to take over the American Right. There’s apparently a severe shortage of batshit insane fuckers in Cameroon.

  45. 45
    beergoggles says:

    @TooManyJens: “I also really want to know what happens if a different judge in a different district court rules that the gay ban is constitutional”

    There would only be such a ruling if DADT was still around. Since DADT has an injunction against implementation and IF Obama stopped kicking soldiers out, there wouldn’t be a soldier kicked out to bring a suit before another court.

    Now it could be possible that in 6 years there would be a president Palin that would re-implement DADT and it would have to go to court again, at which point your question would become valid. But hopefully we’ll have less conservative judges by then since, you know, elections matter.

  46. 46
    Joe Beese says:

    First, Richard M. Nixon’s Health Insurance plan…check! Bush’s bank bailout plan…check! Bush’s war plan continued…check! The military industrial complex’s war on terror continued…check! Continuation of financial status quo…check! Continuation of extraordinary rendition…check!

    No wonder he’s so confident that Republicans will be willing to work with him after he gives the House back to them.

    “It may be that regardless of what happens after this election, they feel more responsible, either because they didn’t do as well as they anticipated, and so the strategy of just saying no to everything and sitting on the sidelines and throwing bombs didn’t work for them,” Mr. Obama said. “Or they did reasonably well, in which case the American people are going to be looking to them to offer serious proposals and work with me in a serious way.”

    And right after the election, his hand-picked Catfood Commission will give them something to get started on.

  47. 47

    @beergoggles:

    There would only be such a ruling if DADT was still around. Since DADT has an injunction against implementation and IF Obama stopped kicking soldiers out, there wouldn’t be a soldier kicked out to bring a suit before another court.

    Oh, right, duh. Thank you, that helps.

  48. 48
    YAFB says:

    Leaving aside the question of the coalition, the current incarnation of the Conservatives under Cameron is actually an aberration if you look at the trajectory of the Tories in the past few decades since Thatcher.

    After the lengthy period out of power while New Labour held sway, in successive elections the Conservatives ran on extremely right-wing platforms (in particular on policies towards immigrants, both legal and illegal) and got slapped down, partly because they didn’t seem credible on the economy, and partly because their candidates as Prime Minister lacked the charisma and plausibility of Blair.

    It took a humiliating series of electoral losses for Cameron to take over and drag the party to at least public acceptance of a more gay-friendly agenda, for instance. It took the predictable implosion of the property boom and money markets to weaken New Labour to the extent where the Tories had a fighting chance.

    I welcome the fact that, for example, we’re apparently not going to have ID cards in the UK any time in the near future, but like the other measures the TrueSlant article E.D. cites mentions, that was a pretty easy call since the furor after 9/11 and other terrorist acts of the earlier 2000s has largely died down in the UK, and especially as a lucid case for them and the vast accompanying expenditure had never been made.

    But if events such as another terrorist atrocity on a major scale were to happen on Cameron’s watch, I wouldn’t be so confident that it would still be possible to hold up the UK right or right-of-center as a desirable model in terms of progress on civil liberties for anywhere else in the world.

  49. 49
    gene108 says:

    I spoke to an immigration attorney, who believed Obama’s big crackdowns on immigration, such as more deportations, are part of laying the ground work for real immigration reform, by proving the government can manage to keep control of whatever illegal immigration we have and of whatever increased immigration may result from reform.

    With Republican opposition to any sort of change, I somehow doubt real reform will happen and all that’s left are people caught between a rock and a hard place because of this administration’s policies on immigration.

  50. 50
    cat48 says:

    Why the fuck does all this demanding have to occur at election time. Seriously, really sick of it. Hamsher & Sirota BOTH were on my TV early yesterday morning whining. He’s not even on the damn ticket, yet they feel compelled to suppress the vote while some of what the purists consider purists are in fights for their lifes. Why now?

  51. 51
    Joe Beese says:

    I spoke to an immigration attorney, who believed Obama’s big crackdowns on immigration, such as more deportations, are part of laying the ground work for real immigration reform, by proving the government can manage to keep control of whatever illegal immigration we have and of whatever increased immigration may result from reform.

    So by enacting Republican policy, Obama will persuade the Republicans to vote for Democratic policy.

    Did he add anything about 11-dimensional chess?

  52. 52
    Joe Beese says:

    Why the fuck does all this demanding have to occur at election time.

    Because they want progress and you only want to elect Democrats.

  53. 53
    les says:

    Whose to say a Cameroonesque takeover of the American right couldn’t produce a much more civil-liberty-friendly alternative to Democratic overreach?

    In a way, sorry to pile on; but way too often I read E.D. building a skillfully wrought pile of words, only to have my nose rubbed in the fact that the argument is premised on something so outside of reality/rationality that I just forget the whole thing. There’s a big, rewarding market for fantasy, dude; at least label it up front for me, ok?

  54. 54
    les says:

    @Joe Beese:

    So by enacting Republican policy, Obama will persuade the Republicans to vote for Democratic policy.

    English is a fine language, and it is possible to say many things rightly. When you fail to properly use the language, I can only assume you fail to know what the fuck you are talking about.

    Obama did not enact the policy in question; in fact, the Exec. Branch does not “enact” any policy. Congress enacts laws; the Exec. implements them, or as you might say, “executes” them. The Exec. sets policy in certain areas, which must be consistent with laws enacted by Congress.

    The law in question, which you have failed to identify as such, was not enacted by Obama, nor by, under or in connection with the Obama administration.

    Rule of Law. It’s a good thing. You could look it up.

  55. 55
    John Bird says:

    @cat48:

    Hey, you may not like it, but it’s a good strategy for groups to remain visible in their own party – because when do you think politicians pay any attention otherwise?

  56. 56
    morzer says:

    @DougJ is the business and economics editor for Balloon Juice.:

    Name five, and show verbal commitment matched by actual legislative commitment.

  57. 57
    John Bird says:

    @YAFB:

    To me, the tracking of issues from 2001 to now is a definitive example of how much farther to the left the UK is compared to the U.S.

    That is, we still have people over here drooling for the government to take pictures of us and assassinate us and detain us without trial. Across the pond, Cameron’s only working play was an end run to the left around New Labour on civil liberties.

    There’s no goddamn way that would work here, and so there’s no goddamn way it would happen here.

    And yeah, once again, he had a coalition partner whose votes mainly come from civil liberties issues. I mean, I am to the left of Labour on the welfare state, but it wouldn’t have even been a question for me whether or not I was going to go for the Liberal Democrats if I got a vote in that election. Of fucking course, because on top of actually backing freedom of speech, they wanted the war to end (and not just the UK’s involvement in Iraq), the security state dismantled, drugs decriminalized, and greater cuts in emissions. (It also helps that they’ve captured the pro-E.U. vote, or whatever remains of it, in their country, which would certainly include me.)

  58. 58
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @fasteddie9318: I meant EDK

    (That reply meant for observer@35)

  59. 59
    YAFB says:

    @John Bird:

    New Labour was so far to the right on civil liberties by the end, and still motoring hard, it’s hard to see how any setup short of outright fascism could have run to the right of them!

    But had Cameron been elected with an outright majority rather than being forced into coalition with the Lib Dems, I don’t know how far he would have or could have taken the repeal of the more socially reactionary measures given the still hard right nature of some of the Tory base. They may not be as florid an demonstrative as the American right, but we have some totally bonkers nasty bastards over here too.

    As for Europe, it’s not really strictly a left-right division over here, it’s more complex and messier than that, and I expect there to be major fireworks about that, to add to the fun of the battles over the effects of the austerity measures on the welfare state and our public services.

  60. 60
    Barb (formerly gex) says:

    Speaking of which, anyone notice the Obama aide Jarrett referred to being gay as a “lifestyle choice” when addressing gay teen suicides?

    That is so enormously offensive it isn’t funny. For instance: the kids that bullied the gays CHOSE to bully. The gay kids did not CHOSE to be bullied, unless you think that being gay is a choice.

    The school administrators CHOSE not to address the bullying, the gay kids didn’t CHOSE to have the bullying ignored.

    The adults in the community CHOSE to have anti-bullying programs that neglect anti-gay bullying. The gay kids did not CHOSE to have the bullying targeted at them to go unaddressed.

    I can’t think of any reason why that phrase would be used, whatsoever. I fear it’s code to religious voters and hope it isn’t a representative of the administrations feelings on being gay. But who knows?

    I’m not going to go all firebagger on it. But just understand what I’ve seen is:

    In 2008, Prop 8 proponents used Obama’s voice on a pro-Prop 8 robo call.

    Obama himself says he believes marriage is between a man and a woman because God is in the mix.

    Obama himself has advocated for a separate institution for gays because of his religious faith.

    Whatever your feelings on the propriety of appealing the DADT and DOMA rulings, it does seem that he is not obligated to do so other than by sense of being an earnest partner in governing this two party system.

    And now publicly calling being gay a lifestyle choice in response to teen suicides?

    I’m utterly disgusted.

  61. 61
    Ronbo says:

    As long as we have this Republican as President, plan on being disgusted. Social Security is the next institution we’ll see fall. Obama has his commission in top gear.

    And tell me again, why can’t we primary this poser?

  62. 62
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Barb (formerly gex):

    I can’t think of any reason why that phrase would be used, whatsoever. I fear it’s code to religious voters

    I think your fears are beyond bizarre.

  63. 63
    FlipYrWhig says:

    that doesn’t mean people should be particularly happy with this administration, or that we shouldn’t demand more

    Fine. Cool. How do you go about “demanding more” such that it results in something?

    (Apropos of nothing, the whole phrase “demand more” has been forever tainted to me after Melissa McEwan used it as her defense of why she was annoyed that the new _Star Trek_ movie didn’t have a female Kirk.)

  64. 64
    DPirate says:

    The assassination program, however limited it may be, is a horrifying example of executive overreach – and exactly the sort of thing people worried about during the Bush administration – that each subsequent president would take a little more power, a few more liberties, another small step into our privacy, all in the name of security.

    It is worth voting republican if they will impeach over this. Basically, everything else pales in comparison to increasing executive unilateral power, from the presidency on down to local bureacracies (excepting Supreme Court nominations, but only as it applies to the above, and that battle is long lost). Nothing else is going to matter to you when they arrest you for dissent.

  65. 65
    sparky says:

    @DPirate: one would think so, but apparently most people who populate blog comment threads, as well as the employees of the commercial media in the US, seem to think that it could never happen to them. i don’t want to think about the kind of activity that might have to occur before the “citizenry” comes to its senses (assuming it does).

  66. 66

    @Ronbo:

    As long as we have this Republican as President, plan on being disgusted. Social Security is the next institution we’ll see fall. Obama has his commission in top gear.
    __
    And tell me again, why can’t we primary this poser?

    I’m all ears about your plan to mount a successful primary challenge to President Obama and how doing so will turn America into a wonderful liberal paradise. And history is on your side. Look at how well Reagan’s challenge to Jerry Ford did for the Republicans in 1976. Or how well Teddy Kennedy’s challenge against Jimmy Carter worked in 1980.

    And look how well adopting a circular firing squad policy worked for the Democrats in 1968. Why it propelled Hubert Humphrey to victory, just as it did for George McGovern in 1972.

    I await, with bated breath, your list of candidates who will not only be able to defeat President Obama in the 2012 primaries but will also be able to win the presidency.

  67. 67

    @DPirate:

    It is worth voting republican if they will impeach over this. Basically, everything else pales in comparison to increasing executive unilateral power, from the presidency on down to local bureacracies (excepting Supreme Court nominations, but only as it applies to the above, and that battle is long lost). Nothing else is going to matter to you when they arrest you for dissent.

    Yes, because the Republican Congress was such a stalwart defender of civil liberties and staunch opponent of executive overreach during the eight years of the Bush administration. Why it bought a tear to my eye when Tom DeLay read the articles of impeachment against George W. Bush for illegal wiretapping, abuse of executive power and abuse of civil liberties. And I’ll tell you, I’ve never been so proud to be an American as when he announced that after Bush was impeached that Cheney was next for his assertion that the vice president constituted a fourth branch of government.

  68. 68

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Fine. Cool. How do you go about “demanding more” such that it results in something?

    Hey you fascist. Stop oppressing him. Don’t you know that you don’t have to be effective as long as your heart is pure.

  69. 69
    DPirate says:

    @Wile E. Quixote: Sarcasm is not wit. The democrats didn’t do shit except enable all of that. Had they made any waves during the cesspool of Bush, or heaven forbid at least investigate some of his abuses, then I might give a rat’s ass about them. They didn’t, they won’t, I don’t.

    The closest they got to having a spine was Leahy calling for caution before invading Iraq. Then somebody sent him some anthrax and he pissed himself like a puppy.

  70. 70
    DPirate says:

    @sparky: Yes. That’s what I don’t get about it. Run-ins with police, with surly bureaucrats, all the way up to the top, the people who enact this stuff apparently think that their place at the top is ensured for themselves and their progeny forever.

    They never paid attention in school, I think. Danton and Robespierre come to mind.

  71. 71
    brantl says:

    @Cat: Exactly. That’s my point.

  72. 72
    brantl says:

    @fasteddie9318: This completely ignores the fact that DODT is unconstitutional. You’;re comparing grapes and bicycles.

  73. 73
    brantl says:

    I want them to defend DADT and lose. They can lose huge, they can put up only a perfunctory defense, whatever. But for precedent’s sake they need to do it.

    Actually, the last federal judge’s ruling on the matter, stands. You’re incorrect.

  74. 74
    DPirate says:

    @brantl: Well, isn’t the whole system of the military unconstitutional? They deprive their members of rights often and perfunctorily; it wouldn’t be effective otherwise. Not that gay soldiers will impede effectiveness, just saying that this argument isn’t really going anywhere.

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