I Can’t Help Falling In Mild Contempt With You

Expanding on Mistermix’s post below, Kevin Drum writes an article entitled “Barack Obama’s Had a Pretty Damn Good Presidency” and then proceeds to trash him for about 75% of the article, without a trace of irony.

As long as we’re piling on, I’d add a few other items to that list. First,Obama seems to despise the progressive base. He and his associates have made that clear over and over again.Second, he allowed Congress to take the lead on most of his domestic agenda. Whether this was smart or not doesn’t really matter. What matters is that it makes him seem almost like an observer of events over the past three years, not a commander-in-chief. Third, from a progressive point of view, his record on national security is pretty bad. No, we’re not torturing prisoners anymore, but the NSA surveillance program is still in place, American citizens are being targeted for assassination, the Afghanistan war has been escalated, drone attacks have skyrocketed, the state secrets privilege is still being used with abandon, Guantánamo is still open, and Patriot Act abuse seems to be as robust as ever.

He then lists things the President has actually accomplished…despite being arrogant and subservient at the same time while remaining worse than Bush.  Then he goes back to trashing him and concludes he took the best road available of a number of bad choices.

Now, it’s true that any serious accounting also has to include Obama’s domestic failures—most notably his feckless housing policy and his inability to pass cap-and-trade—but both of those were very heavy political lifts. (On cap-and-trade in particular, I think in retrospect that it was just flatly never going to happen no matter what Obama did.) There’s also his weak record on judicial appointments. So could Obama have done better? Was there a more effective way to deal with an unprecedentedly obstructive Republican Party? On reflection, I doubt it. During Obama’s first two years, Democrats had a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate for only 14 weeks. This means that Obama needed two or three Republican votes for every bill, and if he had taken the blustering, partisan attitude that a lot of liberals wanted, he never would had gotten them. Republican obstructionism would have been even more hardened than it was with his more conciliatory attitude. So as annoying as Obama’s “most reasonable man in the room” act was to the progressive base, it was probably his best strategy.

Such praise worthy of the ancient deities of yore, a mighty and resounding “meh” echoes through the halls of history.  And Kevin here actually wonders why the President has such a hard time getting across his accomplishments to the American people.

I can’t possibly wonder why that would be the case, nor who could possibly be responsible for such a state of affairs.  Sully was right when he said if a Republican POTUS had accomplished what President Obama had done, we’d be carving his likeness into Mount Rushmore.  And yet, we’re doing everything we can to hand the country back over to the Banana Splits.

People keep tripping over themselves to come up with explanations as why to President’s Obama’s most famous first has nothing to do with any of this, of course.  Those excuses, and the constant dogpiling on the President, are both wearing very thin, and we’re starting to run out of plausible explanations as to why the liberal media is so invested in the “Is this milk spoiled?  Taste this for me!” theory of the President’s accomplishments.

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195 replies
  1. 1
    Jay B. says:

    Stop fucking whining. You want to write the “real” story of the last 3 years write the fucking thing. You have as much visibility here as Drum does.

  2. 2
    Steve says:

    I think Obama sometimes gets a little annoyed with the progressive base and it occasionally shows. I think “despise the progressive base” is a ridiculous overstatement, along the lines of “Blizzard hates druids.”

  3. 3
    ShadeTail says:

    @Jay B.:

    Giving someone well-deserved criticism is “whining”. Gotcha.

  4. 4
    MikeJ says:

    and if he had taken the blustering, partisan attitude that a lot of liberals wanted, he never would had gotten them.

    And he wonders why so many of us despise what Drum considers the base.

  5. 5
    Zifnab says:

    Second, he allowed Congress to take the lead on most of his domestic agenda. Whether this was smart or not doesn’t really matter. What matters is that it makes him seem almost like an observer of events over the past three years, not a commander-in-chief.

    Congress is polling in the single digits. Obama is polling around 50%. Tell me again why distancing yourself from the cluster-fuck that is Congress was a mistake.

  6. 6
    Brachiator says:

    First,Obama seems to despise the progressive base.

    Shit, most of the time, I despise the progressive base. I see this as a strength in Obama, not a failure.

    So as annoying as Obama’s “most reasonable man in the room” act was to the progressive base, it was probably his best strategy

    Jeebus, Drum whiplashes his reader from paradoxical thesis to paradoxical conclusion. He must have been punished much as a child.

  7. 7
    wvng says:

    I generally make the argument that President Obama NEVER had a filibuster proof majority because he always had to craft approaches and use language that wouldn’t send the conservaDems rushing into the waiting arms of the republicans they so admire. There is not a single piece of legislation where that dynamic didn’t play a critical role in the final result. Progressive language/framing, as he used for the AJA, would have sent the conservative Dems scrambling for the aisles.

    I am stunned at the President’s and the Dem Congress’ many accomplishments those first two years, really against all odds.

  8. 8
    Ash Can says:

    These poor pundits are just desperate for a horse race. It’s not as though they have anything else to write about, don’tcha know.

  9. 9
    kd bart says:

    Didn’t read the article. Did the phrase “bully pulpit” come up?

  10. 10
    Daaling says:

    Trashing the prez is what a hack does when they just want to phone it in without any blowback. This also includes Krugman.

  11. 11
    KG says:

    First,Obama seems to despise the progressive base.

    From some parts of the political spectrum, this appears to be a mutual feeling. Or you know, the reality of being a center-left politician in a country that considers itself mostly conservative.

    Second, he allowed Congress to take the lead on most of his domestic agenda

    Congress writes the laws, the President enforces the laws, the Court interpret the laws. This is something that gets taught the first day of civics class in high school, the first day of Political Science 101, and really, is pretty much basic to HOW THE FUCKING SYSTEM IS DESIGNED TO WORK. He’s not a gawd damned king!

    I lean libertarian in my philosophy (not glibertarian, I recognize that power concentrated in big business is as dangerous as power concentrated in big government), and I see Obama as having been a pretty good president. Has he done everything I would have wanted? No, but then again, he’s a politician and I shouldn’t expect him to do everything I wanted.

  12. 12
    Democratic Nihilist, Keeper Of Party Purity says:

    You can thank “the progressive base” for the next four and likely eight years of Republican rule.

    At that point, the judiciary will be locked up by guys who will make Roberts look reasonable, and that will be the case for the next 20 years, easy.

    Enjoy getting a progressive agenda enacted with that roadblock.

  13. 13
    trollhattan says:

    O/T Something good from the media wars: Rebekah Brooks arrested in hacking scandal.

    Let’s get some Murdochs in the dock!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17349578

  14. 14
    shortstop says:

    First,Obama seems to despise the progressive base.

    The irony of Kevin Drum writing this is hilarious. He used to regularly characterize comments — no matter how gentle or qualified — by anyone left of Louie Gohmert or Steve King as musings from the “fever swamps of the left,” and get comically sniffy when anyone called him on it. I assume he still does; I steer clear of him now.

    Somebody who used to hang at WM when he blogged there nailed him: “Becoming a Democrat was the single unconventional act of Kevin Drum’s life.” (I write this assuming that my pragmatic credentials have been sufficiently established around here.)

  15. 15
    El Tiburon says:

    I can’t possibly wonder why that would be the case, nor who could possibly be responsible for such a state of affairs. Sully was right when he said if a Republican POTUS had accomplished what President Obama had done, we’d be carving his likeness into Mount Rushmore.

    This is all so very tiresome. Only the Hamsher/Greenwald Hatred is more useless than this nonsense.

    With the EXPRESS caveat that Obama is only a BILLION times better than any Republican candidate, Obama’s accomplishments, while many are very good, are so overshadowed by his disasters.

    Can we talk about Lily Ledbetter without discussing Obama’s new power to Kill US citizens on his word alone? That Obama has chosen (or was forced to accept) so many heinous policies that if a Republican were doing them we would scream for his impeachment.

    That in which I hated about Bush I hate even more about Obama. So yes, I have no choice but to vote for Obama. None. And while I appreciate many of his accomplishments, I can also be severely disappointed in his many failures. In fact, I would argue that his many failures would be greater than his many accomplishments.

    Fact is many of you are hypocrites. What you hated about Bush you accept and even rationalize about Obama. Many of you have the same frat-boy fascination with Obama that I so despised about Republicans and their infatuation with Bush and their utter devotion about Reagan.

  16. 16
    WyldPirate says:

    Zandar, you’re just looking for a reason to be butt-hurt by that article.

    But I forget the first rule of BJ– “Thou must not write or utter anything that is the least bit critical of President Obama Immaculate Perfection”.

  17. 17
    Satanicpanic says:

    I wish someone would get around to cutting the size of the pundit-industrial complex

  18. 18
    shortstop says:

    @trollhattan: I hear a rollicking Irish tune somehow: “Oh, there’s Murdochs in the dock, my boy, and whiskey in the jar!”

  19. 19
    japa21 says:

    If by simply asking that the “progressive base” (whatever the hell that is) acknowledge what has been done against overwhelming odds rather than just compalining all the time and calling the President a traitor is “despising”, then I need to recalculate the meaning of the word.

    And, as others have pointed out, it would be nice if Drum understand how government is supposed to work. And he should also realize that Obama was more involved than Drum apparently thinks he was.

    And it is so nice that, after a thorough drubbing of the President he concludes by saying, “Gee whiz, I guess he is a pretty good President after all.” What a jerk.

  20. 20
    DougMN says:

    Funny – usually Drum is the queen-bee of milktoast moderates. The once every month that he writes something somewhat critical of the Prez and Zander has a hissy.

  21. 21
    shortstop says:

    @japa21: That’s Drum. Stream of consciousness piece wanders aimlessly and jerkily toward a halfhearted end. At least he didn’t finish with “What am I missing here?”

  22. 22
    Paul Gottlieb says:

    I campaigned and voted for Obama in ’08 and I’ll do so again this year-enthusiastically. I trained as an economist and I learned that the most important question is always “compared to what?” On that scale, Obama scores well.

    But it’s pure self-deception to think that in the area of civil liberties he isn’t at least as bad as Bush/Cheney. In the area of targeted murder of American citizens, in his prolific use of espionage statutes to stop the flow of information to the public, and in his increasing tendency towards the secret use of the Navy Seals to solve diplomatic problems with gunfire, Obama has shown a deep contempt for international law as well as common decency. And why are we so damn sure we’re not torturing prisoners any more–or having it done for us? Because the administration says so?

  23. 23
    sherifffruitfly says:

    Just accept the fact: “progressives” simply don’t WANT anything to improve. What they want – ALL they want is republicans in power, SO THAT THEY CAN COMPLAIN MORE.

    Complaining is literally the ONLY thing “progressives” are interested in. Don’t look at their protestations to the contrary, look at their *behavior*.

    The nihilism of “progressives” is instantiated in a manner differing from that of teabaggers, but the root goal is identical.

  24. 24
    david mizner says:

    Racist Republican Andrew Sullivan thinks Barack Obama has been an awesome president — why don’t lots of liberals?

    A real puzzle, that.

  25. 25
    ShadeTail says:

    @El Tiburon:

    What does any of that have to do with this article’s very factual point that Kevin Drum was completely and utterly full of shit?

  26. 26
    spencer neal says:

    As an admitted progressive, I am most disappointed by Obama’s “national security” policies and practices. I recognize the good things that his administration has accomplished despite the Republican resistance but I cannot condone the harm that he is doing and will cause down the road, especially when he is no longer in office, with the national security policies and practices.

  27. 27
    ruemara says:

    It is amazing how well progressives, leftists, liberals and Democrats galvanize and pull together during an election year. This explains the continuous spate of wins we get during every election season.

  28. 28
    david mizner says:

    @Paul Gottlieb:

    Thanks, Paul, but those civil liberties — Terror War issues aren’t real issues, as was made clear during the debate over Ron Paul. They chiefly affect (and end) the lives of brown people, many of whom aren’t even American, and don’t affect the ability of us to put food on the family as long as you ignore that tremendous chunk of discretionary spending that goes to the military machine.

  29. 29
    Mike in NC says:

    Second, he allowed Congress to take the lead on most of his domestic agenda. Whether this was smart or not doesn’t really matter. What matters is that it makes him seem almost like an observer of events over the past three years, not a commander-in-chief.

    WTF does being CINC have to do with the domestic agenda?

  30. 30
    ruemara says:

    @Mike in NC: shhhhh, don’t inject reason into this. That’s rude.

  31. 31
    Satanicpanic says:

    @El Tiburon: I’m not a hypocrit at all. I never hated Bush primarily for his security overreaches. I just used those as a rhetorical cudgel to bash Republican libertarians over the head with. So what? I hated Bush for his economic policies above all else, and anyone who thinks civil liberties will ever exist in a society with a broken economy and no middle class is living in fantasy land. Like Glenn Greenwald (just had to throw that in there).

  32. 32
    KG says:

    @Mike in NC: because CIC isn’t just about leading the military, it’s about being a cock swinging leader of all things, everywhere and forever.

  33. 33
    Strandedvandal says:

    You really know how to bring out the butt hurt troll parade. Just look at ’em all!

  34. 34
    Brachiator says:

    @El Tiburon:

    Fact is many of you are hypocrites. What you hated about Bush you accept and even rationalize about Obama.

    Bullshit.

    I got no super special loyalty to Obama. Hell, I think most Democrats are clowns. Problem is, they are princely masters of the Universe compared to the Republicans, not in some “us vs them” school yard play, but because since Dubya and Cheney, the Republicans are bent on demolishing every freakin’ liberal policy since FDR, and represent a dull, thuggish, anti-intellectual and anti-rational vision of the world.

    Can we talk about Lily Ledbetter without discussing Obama’s new power to Kill US citizens on his word alone?

    Here’s the blunt point. The people who most care about this are purists who love to twist and spin on academic and theoretical visions of the perfect society.

    This presidential power is not a real threat to you, or to anyone that you know or care about. But apparently, unlike people who have lost their job or their home, or who are directly threatened by GOP policies and actions, your life apparently is so good that you can spend a heavy chunk of your time counting angels on the head of a pin or contemplating the mysteries of civil liberties violations. Or perhaps you are just noble.

    It’s also tiresome that you want to put it all on Obama. Yeah, I know that Pelosi has often been very good at herding the Democratic party cats, but the bottom line is that the party has often acted as though they were surprised that Obama got elected. They have no clear agenda, don’t seem to have people who can draft policy, are blind to opportunity, and are content to do the same shit that they did when Bush was president, cower and placate the Republicans.

    You need more smarter and tougher Democrats in office, now and looking ahead to 2016.

  35. 35
    Corner Stone says:

    @Strandedvandal:

    You really know how to bring out the butt hurt troll parade. Just look at ‘em all!

    Was this comment directed at Kevin Drum?

  36. 36
    Jay B. says:

    @ShadeTail:

    Because who the fuck gives a shit about Kevin Drum’s incisive take on the President? He didn’t give him a total tongue bath and included some –gasp– criticisms of him (along with actual praise that you guys are managing to ignore) and that’s a “well-deserved take down”. Jesus some of you people are a shallow as puddles. Obama is a very lucky man because there literally isn’t someone in power or with power that can provide a valid critique of his Administration.

    His enemies are psychotic losers babbling about his fucking birth certificate or women’s contraception while his supporters are so thin skinned that you guys are whining about an article entitled “Barack Obama’s Had a Pretty Damn Good Presidency”.

    You want to make the case that he’s had a GREAT Presidency? Make it. Balloon Juice has plenty of traffic and visibility. You want to bitch about someone else’s pro-Obama article? Then yeah, this is the place I guess.

  37. 37
    Corner Stone says:

    @Brachiator:

    This presidential power is not a real threat to you, or to anyone that you know or care about.

    Possibly one of the most ignorant comments you’ve made.

  38. 38

    @Paul Gottlieb:
    …no. This narrative is just not true.

    Your ‘targeted murder’ meme pretends that two hundred years of case law about how you give up your right to fair trial doesn’t exist. It pretends that presidents haven’t been using it since time out of mind. Most of all, it pretends that he hasn’t gotten federal court approval, which he has.

    ‘increasing tendency towards the secret use of the Navy Seals to solve diplomatic problems with gunfire’ – is so bizarre I’m not even sure what to say. You know that when we’ve intervened in other countries we’ve had their government’s approval, right? Obama hasn’t violated international law. The international community loves him.

    If the administration – and us, for that matter – get a bit testy about the people who call themselves ‘the progressive base’, maybe it’s because you’ve spread a giant pile of lies to attack him as dishonest and malicious as the ‘death panel’ and ‘cutting 500 billion from Medicare’ bullshit from the Right.

  39. 39
    Ash Can says:

    @ruemara: Then I suppose pointing out that the prez has to let Congress take the lead on his domestic policy since laws originate in the legislature (hence the term, “legislature”) is right out.

  40. 40
    Jay B. says:

    I’m not a hypocrit at all. I never hated Bush primarily for his security overreaches. I just used those as a rhetorical cudgel to bash Republican libertarians over the head with. So what? I hated Bush for his economic policies above all else, and anyone who thinks civil liberties will ever exist in a society with a broken economy and no middle class is living in fantasy land.

    Pure awesome. “I don’t believe all those things I said, I just cynically used them to attack other people.”

  41. 41
    trollhattan says:

    @shortstop:

    Perfect.

    When Murdoch’s in the dock, first round will be on me!

  42. 42
    mdblanche says:

    Second, he allowed Congress to take the lead on most of his domestic agenda. Whether this was smart or not doesn’t really matter. What matters is that it makes him seem almost like an observer of events over the past three years, not a commander-in-chief.

    Barrack Obama has not tried to turn himself into a military dictator, and this is bad.

    Third, from a progressive point of view, his record on national security is pretty bad.

    Barrack Obama has tried to turn himself into a military dictator, and this is bad.

    Am I making myself clear?

  43. 43

    @Ash Can:
    Technically, he doesn’t. However, giving congress lots and lots of respect is very wise, because they become a pile of whiny pissy babies if you don’t. That was Exhibit A about why Obamacare passed and Hilarycare didn’t.

  44. 44
    Trakker says:

    Of course Obama has made mistakes in his first three years. I’m sure there are things he wishes he could do over. I’ve criticized him repeatedly (and vehemently), but I also acknowledge that I won’t know the full story for years, so all I can do now is celebrate that he is in office, not McPalin, and hope to hell he gets another term so I can continue to criticize him.

    I’ve found that it doesn’t matter. He never listens to me.

  45. 45
    EconWatcher says:

    @trollhattan:

    I’ve always been a sucker for readheads, and Rebekah Brooks looks just like an older version of my girlfriend in college, a flame that never entirely died. The resemblance is eery.

    So I hope she’ll flip like a pancake, sing like a canary, and put Rupert and company away, while saving herself. Do it, Kathy! (I mean Rebekah.)

  46. 46
    homerhk says:

    Fact 1. President Obama has achieved an awesome amount in his three years in the face of unrelenting opposition and in the midst of the worst economic circumstances since the great depression. Most of what he has achieved has been as consistent as reality has allowed to his pre-Presidency promises.

    Fact 2. President Obama has done things which are severely disappointing and which are arguably inconsistent with his pre-Presidency promises. In particular, President Obama has not fully repudiated Bush-Cheney era policies.

    Fact 3. Facts 1 and 2 are not mutually exclusive.

    Fact 4. Fact 1 combined with Fact 2 mean that the man has not done everything perfectly.

    Fact 5. No-one does everything perfectly.

    Fact 6. Being President is not just about tangible accomplishments but also about temperament, judgment and rhetoric.

    Opinion 1. President Obama has shown incredible temperament, judgment and has generally been consistent in his rhetoric.

    Conclusion 1. President Obama is and (hopefully) will continue to be one of the finest Presidents the US has ever had.

  47. 47
    ruemara says:

    @Ash Can: Again with the facts! Will no one think of the children our progressive betters?!

  48. 48
    kindness says:

    Drum is an odd duck. Sometimes I think he’s trying to be invited into the fraternity (and salary) of the Serious Individual Club. I don’t get it.

  49. 49
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    Kevin Drum writes an article entitled “Barack Obama’s Had a Pretty Damn Good Presidency” and then proceeds to trash him for about 75% of the article, without a trace of irony.

    For those who suffer it, the Reedy Nasal Whine is harder to contain than diarrhea.

  50. 50
    J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford says:

    @El Tiburon:

    If only we were as pure as you…

  51. 51
    Satanicpanic says:

    @Jay B.:

    I don’t believe all those things I said, I just cynically used them to attack other people

    You say that like it’s a bad thing. We’re among friends, right? When I’m with like minded people, I discuss. When I’m around wingnuts, I argue to win.

  52. 52
    Sad But True says:

    @spencer neal: Same here, and it’s frustrating that so many people seem to view the expression of these concerns as an attempt to restore Republicans to power.

    The very reasons I was an early, passionate advocate for an Obama presidency are also the very reasons that I am disappointed with his presidency. The man taught ConLaw! I figured a complete reversal from Bush/Cheney’s approach to international law and constitutional rights would be a given. I don’t have any real qualms with Obama on economic and other, more local issues. Given the circumstances, he’s been quite good. But re: international relations, an area where presidents have considerably more power, he’s been….well, I’m still having trouble believing that this is really the guy I campaigned for.

    The big bank issues are more complicated, but still distressing. Tell me something – when did it become known that people like Rubin, Summers, and Geithner were going to be among his closest advisers? It definitely wasn’t in 2007 when I started supporting him, and I don’t believe it was during primary season either. I don’t even know if it was really before the actual election. Is it really so unfair for me to be disappointed when the guy I supported reveals himself after the fact to be so completely different than the president he persuaded us he would be? HE’s the one who made his campaign about Hope and Change, not us. Yeah, he’s 100 times better than any of the other options (and remains clearly better than the other options we had in ’08). That doesn’t make him any less disappointing on certain huge issues that I and others consider of utmost importance.

  53. 53
    Brachiator says:

    @Corner Stone: RE: This presidential power is not a real threat to you, or to anyone that you know or care about.

    Possibly one of the most ignorant comments you’ve made.

    I’m very pleased that you are keeping count.

  54. 54
    WyldPirate says:

    @Brachiator:

    This presidential power is not a real threat to you, or to anyone that you know or care about. But apparently,unlike people who have lost their job or their home, or who are directly threatened by GOP policies and actions, your life apparently is so good that you can spend a heavy chunk of your time counting angels on the head of a pin or contemplating the mysteries of civil liberties violations. Or perhaps you are just noble.

    This is perhaps one of the fucking dumbest arguments I’ve ever seen on BJ.

    Civil liberties and basic rights are always worth defending. Does the name Martin Niemöller rang a bell in that thick Obot skull of yours, Brachiator?

  55. 55
    Trakker says:

    @sherifffruitfly:

    Just accept the fact: “progressives” simply don’t WANT anything to improve. What they want – ALL they want is republicans in power, SO THAT THEY CAN COMPLAIN MORE.

    Talk about complaining!

  56. 56
    Suffern ACE says:

    @mdblanche: To solve the problem, he should start dressing like the Shah of Iran demand that Congress march by the whitehouse in a parade once each day that he views from his balcony. That way, he can both be the dictator and passive observer at once.

  57. 57
    orogeny says:

    Is it just the nature of the left to be unable to tolerate imperfection? Has there been a Democratic president in modern times that the left wing of the party didn’t hate? Clinton, Carter, Johnson, Kennedy, Truman…all of them were, at one point or another, reviled by the left.

  58. 58
    trollhattan says:

    @EconWatcher:

    Funny you should mention, she (Rebekah, perhaps Kathy) looks a good deal like my 10-YO daughter–especially the curly red hair–so I have a twinge of regret she’s messed up in this to her eyebrows.

    So if she flips and slips and goes on to ride her expensive horsies into the sunset, I’ll take the trade. There are far bigger fish yet to fry.

  59. 59
    Jay B. says:

    @WyldPirate:

    It’s refreshing, actually. Sometimes a few people here defend the indefensible civil liberties record of the President using Bush as the baseline, or saying that politically, it’s the right thing to do since few people care about civil liberties. Now, at least, the new route among the cynics is that civil liberties simply don’t matter because, really, who cares? “In the abstract, sure, mildly disturbing, I guess, but since I’m not a purist like you I can confidently say that civil liberties are so boring and meaningless.”

  60. 60
    Cassidy says:

    Hmmm…interesting “crticisms” of Zandar. Almost reminds me of some of those aimed at ABL. Don’t they have something in common?

  61. 61
    Suffern ACE says:

    @orogeny: Well, to be fair, I’ve never had a president from either party who didn’t deserve to be immediately impeached, convicted, drawn and quartered. I’m sure it would have been different had I lived under the Tyler administration.

  62. 62
    Sad But True says:

    @orogeny: all of them, save one (arguably two), have exercised the president’s war powers in seriously, seriously questionable ways.

  63. 63
    Steve says:

    @WyldPirate: Brachiator has it exactly right. It takes a very fortunate person to be able to pontificate on how the targeted killing of a terrorist in Yemen might, somehow, glide all the way down the slippery slope to the point where some future President is having your family members gunned down on the streets of America. You, yourself, are an extra-special snowflake for suggesting that if we look the other way when Obama kills a terrorist in Yemen, it is somehow comparable to looking the other way when Hitler rounds up the Jews.

  64. 64
    Brachiator says:

    @WyldPirate:

    This is perhaps one of the fucking dumbest arguments I’ve ever seen on BJ.

    Been here already with Cornerstone.

    Civil liberties and basic rights are always worth defending. Does the name Martin Niemöller rang a bell in that thick Obot skull of yours, Brachiator?

    Once again, not an Obot.

    And I didn’t say that civil liberties were not worth defending. But I have no patience with hysterical freaks and pearl clutchers who obsess over theoretical problems and ignore imminent threats.

    Then again, laws violating women are civil liberties problems, and yet you purist freaks keep yelling about Obama potentially killing an American citizen somewhere at some unspecified time supposedly for shits and giggles.

    Fools.

  65. 65
    Lev says:

    @homerhk: “I trust John Boehner.”

  66. 66
    taylormattd says:

    @Jay B.: Ironic.

  67. 67
    JWL says:

    “You can thank “the progressive base” for the next four and likely eight years of Republican rule”.

    Who do you think propelled Obama to the 2008 nomination? Even if you’re intent on “blaming” so-called progressives for his looming (if imaginary) defeat in 2012, at least acknowledge their conspicuous role in gaining the White House for their party in 2008. Or do you attribute that victory to Blue Dog Americans?

    Those partisans who blast democratic rank-and-file criticisms of the president do so for one reason only: they are as intolerant of any dissent or departure from their worldview as the most anal apparatchik of the republican party. In their button down minds, they ARE the Democratic Party. The rest are interlopers, political flotsam to be dismissed as denizens of a “professional left”.

    They are by and large the moderate republicans of yesteryear, in a new roost courtesy of a power sharing arrangement forged with the calcified old guard of the democratic party (circa 1980).

  68. 68
    MBunge says:

    @WyldPirate: “Civil liberties and basic rights are always worth defending.”

    But liberals sure have done a shitty job of it, which only makes sense if you understand many liberals care more about getting credit for “defending” civil liberties than actually defending them.

    Mike

  69. 69
    slim's tuna provider says:

    isn’t the basic problem that the “liberal” media always have to be too cool for school and the conservative media does not? this article sounds like a high school senior critiquing an album he really likes but can’t admit to liking.

  70. 70
    MBunge says:

    @JWL: “Those partisans who blast democratic rank-and-file criticisms of the president do so for one reason only”

    The Democratic rank-and-file don’t have a lot of criticisms of this President and most of the ones they do have are economic in nature, not about civil liberties.

    Mike

  71. 71
    Lev says:

    No matter how much you want to slice and dice it, this is not a simple question. “Has Obama done a good job during his first term?” In some respects, yes, absolutely, much better than we could have expected. He got health care, two SCOTUS justices, some decent financial regs and ended DADT and the Iraq War. In other respects, the answer is obviously no. There is no real distinction between Bush and Obama on national security issues, he was willing to cut social spending to the bone as part of a grand bargain (remember that $4 trillion deal that Boehner’s conference thankfully shot down?), and his attention to the more mundane issues of governance–appointments, executive agencies, and so on–has been intermittent at best.

    Personally, I continue to think the good outweighs the bad. But when you just downplay or ignore all the disappointing stuff because you don’t want to strengthen a position someone else holds that you don’t like, you’re not doing anyone a service.

  72. 72
    MBunge says:

    @slim’s tuna provider: “isn’t the basic problem that the “liberal” media always have to be too cool for school and the conservative media does not? this article sounds like a high school senior critiquing an album he really likes but can’t admit to liking.”

    *DING* We have a winner!

    Mike

  73. 73
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @trollhattan: I believe Pixar will have a cure for that.

  74. 74
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Drum should consider the possibility that while wild-eyed fundamentalists are in fact the Republicans’ “base,” the left is not the Democrats’ “base.” The Base shifts. Cardinal precepts of each party shift. Not so long ago it was an article of faith that Democrats were for gun control. Then pro-gun-control Democrats started losing elections because of that issue. Then Democrats dropped it from its former status. Environmentalism, sad to say, looks to be going that direction too. For the issue to rise to, then stay at, the core of the party’s ideology requires a lot of work and a lot of persuasion.

    And the critique about civil liberties, as important as it is to many proud liberals, leftists, and Democrats, is not a “base” concern. It’s not sufficiently widespread, and it doesn’t swing elections. A lot of Republicans want to return to the gold standard, but the party doesn’t need to stroke the goldbugs to win.

    @orogeny:

    Is it just the nature of the left to be unable to tolerate imperfection? Has there been a Democratic president in modern times that the left wing of the party didn’t hate?

    If you really are “on the left,” you will _always_ have a president who is not as far left as you are. No one as far left as you are will ever be elected president, because to win the presidency you need a plurality of the votes. The amount of voters to the left of Obama is minuscule.

    What you decide to do with that state of affairs–the lack of True Left viewpoints in American politics, especially at the presidential level–is up to you. You can either grade on a curve, taking context into account, and lodge criticisms on the basis of principle rather than on the basis that following your principles is obviously winning politics. You can spread the word and make your left views more popular. Or you can stamp your wittle footsies about how everyone else but you is a sellout and a wussbag.

  75. 75
    WyldPirate says:

    @Brachiator:

    And I didn’t say that civil liberties were not worth defending.

    Perhaps. But the disdain dripping from your comment about which are the proper civil liberties to defend are quite telling and and expose you as the sniveling Obot you are.

    And I suppose Al-Alawaki and his nephew are “theoretically” dead and Bradley Manning has been having a grand old time sitting around in his cell buck-ass naked.

  76. 76

    It’s Mother Jones. I’d expect nothing less. It’s TNR for stoners.

  77. 77
    Jay B. says:

    @orogeny:

    Clinton — Triangulating centrist who instituted welfare reform, NAFTA (giving the final shiv to the middle class and unions), loosened banking regulations and spent a lot of time with Dick Morris.

    Carter — Scrupulously honest centrist, central to deregulation mania, nuclear power proponent when Three Mile Island happened, cold toward labor, spent a lot of time with Pat Caddell

    Johnson — Lied his ass off to drown the U.S. in Vietnam (otherwise would have been a tremendous hero).

    Kennedy — Domestically timid cold warrior, really started the escalation of involvement in Vietnam, kept Civil Rights at bay, Bay of Pigs

    Truman — Instituted many of the police state policies we’re now cursed with, owned the Korean war and the deaths associated with it, nuked Japan twice, nationalized the steel industry, allowed McCarthy to run wild without a fight

    On the other hand, I’d also think many liberals celebrate many of their accomplishments while acknowledging their failures.

  78. 78

    @Jay B.: 225 years, and property is still not theft, dammit.

  79. 79
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @JWL:

    Those partisans who blast democratic rank-and-file criticisms of the president

    Uh, thing is, the “rank and file” doesn’t criticize the president for much, and for that matter is much more likely to criticize him for being too far _left_ as too far _right_. Especially the “civil liberties” critique is a very, very narrowly held view. That doesn’t mean it’s illegitimate. But it certainly suggests that it’s not devastating The Base.

  80. 80
    orogeny says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    “Or you can stamp your wittle footsies about how everyone else but you is a sellout and a wussbag.” I’d add “and do everything you can to discredit and undercut the President, because you just know that the next one will be sooo much better.”

  81. 81
    MBunge says:

    @WyldPirate: “And I suppose Al-Alawaki and his nephew are “theoretically” dead”

    So, you feel sorry that the GOP has destroyed their long-standing advantage on national security issues and you want to just hand it back to them? What a nice boy!

    Mike

  82. 82
    Mnemosyne says:

    I can’t wait until the “civil liberties defenders” who insist that they’re experts in the law tell us again that it’s not a real crime to give money and material to someone so they can commit a crime, so therefore al-Alwaki was totally innocent. That one cracks me up every single time.

  83. 83
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Jay B.: What was the last Obama accomplishment you “celebrated”?

  84. 84
    Schlemizel says:

    @homerhk:
    I really like this analysis a lot.

    I would add two things though.
    The administration has done more than its share of hippy punching over the last 3 years, some of it may have been politically necessary but not all of it.
    and
    Just because he has done a pretty decent job does not mean the nation can’t do better. One of the reasons the nation has been dragged so far right is because the wingnuts do not accept good enough. In order to drag us back closer to normal it is going to require some leftists demanding real sosahllism so that people can obviously see the Dems are the middle.

  85. 85
    El Tiburon says:

    @Brachiator:

    This presidential power is not a real threat to you, or to anyone that you know or care about

    You are absolutely correct. I am a slightly upper-class, white male who lives in the nice part of town. To say I am priviliged (not 1%, but still) is an understatement. I doubt I will ever be tazed, but yet I see people like me getting tazed seemingly more and more. So yeah, tax cuts or tax increases – not likely to affect me much.

    But I don’t look at politics and our place it from my perspective. I look at it from what is best for society.

    See, I care more than a half-assed attempt at healthcare reform. I sincerely care about this fucking country. So you can take all of your Lily Ledbetters and stuff them in a sock. Because what is it all really worth if we so-called Liberals/progressives accept that we can invade, bomb, torture, kill, and lock up anyone we want just because we can? We are no better than any fucking Republican because you’re just in it for yourself. Really fucking disgusting.

  86. 86
    Sad But True says:

    @FlipYrWhig: I disagree with your claim that the amount of voters to the left of Obama is miniscule.
    Check out the numbers re: whether we should pull out of Afghanistan (and other nations in that region); gay marriage; the war on drugs; investigation & prosecution of wrongdoing by bankers; etc. Unless by “voters” you meant “Senators and/or billionaires”.

  87. 87
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @orogeny: I’m looking forward to the time, 12 or so years from now, when President Kamala Harris is getting ripped by The Left for not aggressively taking the fight to Republicans… the way Barack Obama did.

  88. 88
    Corner Stone says:

    @Cassidy:

    Hmmm…interesting “crticisms” of Zandar. Almost reminds me of some of those aimed at ABL. Don’t they have something in common?

    Neither one can suffer any utterance that contains 0.0001% critique of President Obama?

  89. 89
    andrewsomething says:

    @homerhk:

    I really don’t understand why so many people around here can’t wrap their minds around this. President Obama has been the best president of my life time. On a number of issues, even considering Republican opposition, I think he could have done even better.

  90. 90
    LGRooney says:

    Fucking liberals! What a large collective pain in the ass we are! Kevin Drum is writing exactly the way a liberal is supposed to write.

    1) We are not allowed to have heroes (because everyone has too many faults);

    2) we are not allowed to follow orders – except those listed here (because we have to think for ourselves even if going against common sense a/o logic – “Hey, at least it’s mine!”);

    3) we are not allowed to sound like anyone else (you know who else liked parrots?); and,

    4) we must build bridges because, well, hell!, who in their right mind would want to be stuck on an island with such a group of whinging, hyper-cynical, misfits always trying to outsnark each other(?!).

  91. 91
    Corner Stone says:

    @Steve:

    It takes a very fortunate person to be able to pontificate on how the targeted killing of a terrorist in Yemen might, somehow, glide all the way down the slippery slope to the point where some future President

    Shorter Steve:
    “I trust President Nixon on these matters.”

  92. 92
    negative 1 says:

    @WyldPirate: They are, but they affect real people. What I, as a sell-out, believe, is that since at most we’re talking about 10 or so people that I will never meet versus the economy that I, my family and everyone I know participates in (and gets healthcare as a result of), it’s more than honest to say I just don’t give a f&*k about the 10 or so people. And, that beating the ‘purity of cause’ drum incessantly is akin to the ‘Democrats wiped out in election again’ club remix.

  93. 93
    WyldPirate says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    What you decide to do with that state of affairs—the lack of True Left viewpoints in American politics, especially at the presidential level—is up to you. You can either grade on a curve, taking context into account, and lodge criticisms on the basis of principle rather than on the basis that following your principles is obviously winning politics. You can spread the word and make your left views more popular. Or you can stamp your wittle footsies about how everyone else but you is a sellout and a wussbag.

    Good point, Flip. This is almost exactly how Drum ended his comment:

    Unlike Paul Glastris, I’m not ready to start chiseling Obama’s mug on Mount Rushmore. But unless national security is pretty much your sole obsession, I really have a hard time understanding progressives who are disappointed in him. Obama has gotten more done for the progressive cause than Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, JFK, or Harry Truman—and, on balance, nearly as much as LBJ, since he doesn’t have any epic disasters to weigh down his successes. For an actual, existing human being, that’s pretty damn good.

    I just don’t get the Obot butt-hurt over Drum’s comments other than the fact that someone dared to write something that wasn’t a complete paen to the greatness of Obama.

  94. 94
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Sad But True: Issue by issue, there are encouraging signs. But look at the number of people who, when polled, say that Obama isn’t liberal _enough_. I’m pretty sure that Obama is about as far left as the electorate will tolerate, for the foreseeable future, and that isn’t particularly far left, AND that’s before being pulled further right by center-right Democrats in both houses of Congress.

    Basically, to get better, leftier politics out of the US government, you’ve got to get a better, leftier citizenry. We don’t have that yet.

  95. 95
    El Tiburon says:

    @homerhk:

    Conclusion 1. President Obama is and (hopefully) will continue to be one of the finest Presidents the US has ever had.

    Especially the part about killing US citizens without any due process.
    Especially the part about keeping people locked in a cage without any due process.
    Especially the part about using drones to kill innocent children.

    But hey, nobody is perfect.

    Look on the bright side of life, doo doo doopity doopity doo!

  96. 96
    shortstop says:

    @Davis X. Machina: You read Drum for years at Washington Monthly. You know he fits the MJ profile about as much as I fit Rih Santorum’s description of an ideal woman.

    @El Tiburon: A pedantic thing, perhaps, but still: since you’ve derogated the importance of Lilly Ledbetter in about 1,000 comments I can recall, at some point you might want to learn to spell her fucking name.

  97. 97
    El Tiburon says:

    @Satanicpanic:

    So what? I hated Bush for his economic policies above all else,

    And Obama is that different how? Wall Street is livin’ large while the rest of us find it harder and harder to get by.

  98. 98
    Corner Stone says:

    @Brachiator:

    And I didn’t say that civil liberties were not worth defending. But I have no patience with hysterical freaks and pearl clutchers who obsess over theoretical problems and ignore imminent threats.
    __
    Then again, laws violating women are civil liberties problems, and yet you purist freaks keep yelling about Obama potentially killing an American citizen somewhere at some unspecified time supposedly for shits and giggles.

    You’re the fucking fool here chumpiator. It’s not theoretical or potential, people are fucking dead. And some of us can invest effort in the domestic regression of equal rights, as well as civil liberties.

  99. 99
    Marc says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    ‘increasing tendency towards the secret use of the Navy Seals to solve diplomatic problems with gunfire’ – is so bizarre I’m not even sure what to say.

    Obviously it would have been preferable to negotiate with hostage-taking Somali pirates and engage in peace talks with OBL. Duh!

  100. 100
    WyldPirate says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Neither one can suffer any utterance that contains 0.0001% critique of President Obama?

    Damn you, Cornerstone! You made me spew coffee on my tablet’s nice new leather cover.

  101. 101
    Corner Stone says:

    @negative 1: This is the essence of the IGMFY Republican strategy.

  102. 102
    MBunge says:

    @El Tiburon: “Because what is it all really worth if we so-called Liberals/progressives accept that we can invade, bomb, torture, kill, and lock up anyone we want just because we can?”

    Yeah, ’cause that’s a totally calm and rational presentation of the issues involved.

    Mike

  103. 103
    orogeny says:

    @FlipYrWhig: If not her, some other Dem will experience that at some point. “Damn, that Obama really knew how to stick it to the Repukes. Why’s this President such a wimp?”

  104. 104
    Double Dazed says:

    @Mnemosyne: “…it’s not a real crime to give money and material to someone so they can commit a crime, so therefore al-Alwaki was totally innocent. That one cracks me up every single time.”

    If the President found that there was secret evidence that he can’t show to anyone else that YOU supported terrorists, it would be OK to kill you then?

    How about if President Cheney was your judge, jury, and executioner?

    The FBI had secret evidence that MLK was a communist traitor, because he opposed the war in Vietnam. Should they have been allowed to recommend execution to the President?

    Remember, in testimony to Congress last week, the current head of the FBI was asked “Does the President have the power to order the assassination of American citizens within the U.S. based on secret findings?”. His answer was “I don’t know.” Not “No, of course not.” “I don’t know.”

  105. 105
    ruemara says:

    @El Tiburon:

    Especially the part about killing US citizens without any due process who have sided with an enemy we are at war with and are actively helping them.
    Especially the part about keeping people locked in a cage without any due process because Congress does not have the stones to either bring them in for trial or release them.
    Especially the part about using drones to kill innocent children, because our targets deliberately live in villages and towns, knowing that the collateral damage cuts both ways.

    FTFY

  106. 106
    Satanicpanic says:

    @El Tiburon: Yes, it’s all his fault, he hasn’t done anything different than Bush.

  107. 107
    MBunge says:

    @El Tiburon: “Especially the part about killing US citizens without any due process.”

    But the killing of brown-skinned foreigners is perfectly okay with you? Racist.

    Mike

  108. 108
    Marc says:

    @FlipYrWhig: This. You should bookmark that comment for future reference.

  109. 109
    negative 1 says:

    @Corner Stone: You could easily say the same thing about healthcare prior to Obama, however. People died of preventable stuff all the time because they didn’t have access to medical care. And that was an imminent threat to plenty of people who didn’t have healthcare, myself included.
    So no, again, it’s not a problem to say that nobody really gives a f&*k because they don’t think it will happen to anyone they know or will ever know or would have ever known under any circumstance. Before you start screaming and calling names, realize that it’s fine to disagree, that’s why Ron Paul is running.

  110. 110
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @WyldPirate: I think “progressive base” is like a red cape to the Obot bull. It gets me on edge myself… not because progressivism is bad; I’d like to think I’m well into the progressive end of the spectrum. But because I think overestimating the numbers of progressives leads to false hope among progressives about what politics can deliver. I remember when I first started reading Atrios in the run-up to the 2002 elections, thinking, “Man, this is going to be a kick-ass election, look at all the energy out there!” You get a skewed view.

    I live in Virginia now. Our _best_ Democrats are people like Mark Warner and Tim Kaine. But they fucking well beat the alternative. There’s criticism of Democrats, of the president; there’s persistent critique; both of those are healthy. But then there’s this other view that disregarding the criticism is _losing politics_. It really isn’t. No matter how right they are, the critics aren’t that numerous. That’s the branch of the argument about “the progressive base” that rankles.

  111. 111
    negative 1 says:

    @Corner Stone: Except that it is a democracy in which a lot of people are being taken advantage of by corporations who have begun to alter the rules into their favor. So if ‘I got mine’ I wouldn’t care. The more accurate depiction is “you got mine, and I want it back”, which is not now nor has ever been a republican strategy.

  112. 112
    Corner Stone says:

    @negative 1: I don’t find your response to make very much sense.

  113. 113
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Dennis Doubleday:

    If the President found that there was secret evidence that he can’t show to anyone else that YOU supported terrorists, it would be OK to kill you then?

    It’s not exactly secret evidence anymore now that Abdulmutallab’s trial is over:

    Thereafter, defendant was picked up and driven through the Yemeni desert. He eventually arrived at Awlaki’s house, and stayed there for three days. During that time, defendant met with Awlaki and the two men discussed martyrdom and jihad. Awlaki told defendant that jihad requires patience but comes with many rewards. Defendant understood that Awlaki used these discussions to evaluate defendant’s commitment to and suitability for jihad. Throughout, defendant expressed his willingness to become involved in any mission chosen for him, including martyrdom – and by the end of his stay, Awlaki had accepted defendant for a martyrdom mission.
    __
    Defendant left Awlaki’s house, and was taken to another house, where he met AQAP bombmaker Ibrahim Al Asiri. Defendant and Al Asiri discussed defendant’s desire to commit an act of jihad. Thereafter, Al Asiri discussed a plan for a martyrdom mission with Awlaki, who gave it final approval, and instructed Defendant Abdulmutallab on it. For the following two weeks, defendant trained in an AQAP camp, and received instruction in weapons and indoctrination in jihad. During his time in the training camp, defendant met many individuals, including Samir Khan.9
    __
    Ibrahim Al Asiri constructed a bomb for defendant’s suicide mission and personally delivered it to Defendant Abdulmutallab. This was the bomb that defendant carried in his underwear on December 25, 2009. Al Asiri trained defendant in the use of the bomb, including by having defendant practice the manner in which the bomb would be detonated; that is, by pushing the plunger of a syringe, causing two chemicals to mix, and initiating a fire (which would then detonate the explosive).
    __
    Awlaki told defendant that he would create a martyrdom video that would be used after the defendant’s attack. Awlaki arranged for a professional film crew to film the video. Awlaki assisted defendant in writing his martyrdom statement, and it was filmed over a period of two to three days. The full video was approximately five minutes in length.10
    __
    Although Awlaki gave defendant operational flexibility, Awlaki instructed defendant that the only requirements were that the attack be on a U.S. airliner, and that the attack take place over U.S. soil. Beyond that, Awlaki gave defendant discretion to choose the flight and date. Awlaki instructed defendant not to fly directly from Yemen to Europe, as that could attract suspicion. As a result, defendant took a circuitous route, traveling from Yemen to Ethiopia to Ghana to Nigeria to Amsterdam to Detroit. Prior to defendant’s departure from Yemen, Awlaki’s last instructions to him were to wait until the airplane was over the United States and then to take the plane down.

    I know some of you guys are really, really invested in your vision of Al-Awlaki as an innocent cleric who was killed by the big, bad government just because he made a few speeches, but giving someone money, material and instructions so they can commit a crime is not free speech. It’s an actual crime. Here in California, if you hire someone to kill your wife, you’re charged with first degree murder even though you didn’t pull the trigger yourself, because the person who hires the killer is equally as guilty.

  114. 114
    shortstop says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    No matter how right they are, the critics aren’t that numerous. That’s the branch of the argument about “the progressive base” that rankles.

    It’s also the part that the usual suspects will never, ever concede. You won’t get any response to this; if you do, it’ll be irrelevant snark aimed at redirection.

  115. 115
    Schlemizel says:

    @Cassidy:
    I’m going out on a limb here because I don’t actually know. Are you saying Zander is a person of color? Because if that is what you are saying (and I truly have no idea) thats a pretty fucking stupid thing to say.

    Do ‘they’ all look alike to you too?

    Sorry if I misunderstood but if I got your message correctly OMG what an ass.

  116. 116
    Jay B. says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I thought Obama was smart to call Sandra Fluke. I think he was right to, once again, call out the GOP on their energy “policy” (although he has been a proponent on increased drilling in the Gulf at least he’s also pointing out other avenues too). Those were both in the last 10 days or so. I also like that he’s abandoned his idiotic pandering about the deficit and made Warren Buffet his spokesman on more equitable taxation.

    Feel better?

    On the other hand, II thought his Administration’s defense of their assassination policy was shameful. Trusting the President to do the right thing means trusting any President to do the right thing — it’s a path to destruction. That’s why this shit matters. Holder is a disgrace.

  117. 117
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Mnemosyne: So you take the word of a convicted terrorist? :P

  118. 118
    Ash Can says:

    @Schlemizel: Methinks you’re wildly misreading Cassidy’s comment.

  119. 119
    Dennis Doubleday says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    My position has nothing to do with whether or not Al-Awlaki is guilty or not. Most likely he is.

    But, under our Constitution, no one person gets to decide that and order an execution. This, to me, is the MOST fundamental right.

  120. 120
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Jay B.: I feel about the same way as I did before, thanks. I just wondered if you would live up to the idea your comment suggested, i.e., that crashing failures aren’t the whole story. And you did, so, good.

    On Holder, I think it’s a bad policy, but I also think that the executive branch claims powers when they aren’t being claimed by the other branches, and that he’s essentially standing up for his _branch_ rather than for a doctrine. IOW, “since Congress won’t give us a policy to execute [ahem], we’re going to do it this way until someone changes the law.” IMHO Bush/Cheney/Yoo/Addington really believed in executive power qua executive power, but Obama/Holder are using executive power because there’s a vacuum left by the legislature’s bumbling and lack of consensus. IOW, they’re trying to limit the number of times they need to run things through the sausage factory, for expediency rather than for ideology. But that’s the kind of thing I say, isn’t it?

  121. 121
    Cassidy says:

    @Schlemizel: No you missed it. My personal opinion is that certain people attack ABL for more bigoted reasons. Some of the “criticisms” of Zandar are remarkably similiar.

  122. 122
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Dennis Doubleday: Somebody should literally make a federal case of it, then. Let’s settle some of these matters in actual courts and/or with actual laws.

  123. 123
    Corner Stone says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Somebody should literally make a federal case of it, then. Let’s settle some of these matters in actual courts and/or with actual laws.

    Who would have standing? The ACLU is suing FOIA for the authorizing memo but the list itself is secret.
    And if Al-A’s father was judged to not have standing, then subsequently lost his son and grandson, who else could possibly have standing?

  124. 124
    negative 1 says:

    @Corner Stone: OK then, I’ll clarify. You are saying that I don’t care about others at all (my professed not caring about executive orders, etc.) because of my concern about everyone I know and how they are struggling in this economy, which was brought about by the republican economic plan. And that because I only care about my friends, family, etc. I have the ‘I Got Mine F**K You’ republican attitude. I’m saying that by that logic, if I had mine, I wouldn’t be complaining about the republican economic plan now would I?
    Also, I’m saying you’ve utterly mischaracterized what the IGMFY plan really is about. Many people, myself included, just don’t want republicans around because they perpetuate a flawed economic plan that only benefits them at the expense of others. The “I got mine” is so named because they feel the system is fair, hence “they got theirs”. Complaining that the system is rigged is not, nor has ever been, a republican plan.

  125. 125
    WyldPirate says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    There’s criticism of Democrats, of the president; there’s persistent critique; both of those are healthy. But then there’s this other view that disregarding the criticism is losing politics. It really isn’t. No matter how right they are, the critics aren’t that numerous. That’s the branch of the argument about “the progressive base” that rankles.

    Having been a “rankling” critic of Obama, I understand where you’re coming from, Flip. What I don’t get is the contempt and disdain with which many of the critics of Obama are held here on BJ and, as Drum points out, seemingly by the Obama administration as well.

    Sure, there is the necessity of making pragmatic compromise to get things done, but a lot of the “progress” that has come about throughout our history started out as the demented ramblings of raving leftist lunatics. The difference between Republicans and Dems is you typically don’t see the Rethugs actively belittling and marginalizing those on the extreme wings of their party.

  126. 126
    rob in dc says:

    The only thing that recommends Obama is that he is a shitload better than any republican politician. Objectively, he and the democratic party are sending this country in a net negative direction. I blame the democratic party more than Obama but honestly he deserves quite a bit of the blame, he is a creature of the oligarchy who run this country, understands them best, and sympathizes with their views.

    He may not agree with the most egregious pit slime like the Koch’s that the rich should gate themselves off and turn the rest of the country into a polluted wasteland but his viewpoint is only different by shades.

    In his heart of hearts Obama believes that globalization is really truly inevitable and will only go in one direction. He expects that American’s will suffer lower standards of living as the world’s economies equalize. His goal is to smooth the passage to that promised land for the rich. Keep the rubes from rioting. The republicans used to think like this too but either they have swallowed their kool-aid so deeply that they really believe this won’t happen, the idiots have taken over their party, or they really don’t fear popular revolt anymore (a possibly legitimate expectation given the sheep like nature of the American people).

    So as has been for the last few years the choice presented is between driving off the cliff at 30 MPH or 100. I’ll choose 30 to buy time for the oncoming dystopia, but to call Obama and the democrat’s leadership of the last four years great, good, or even mediocre is a hilarious joke.

  127. 127
    Steve says:

    @Corner Stone: Yeah, actually, if President Nixon is going to start ordering military assassinations of my family members on the streets of America, I don’t think he’d have much luck pointing to Obama’s killing of al-Awlaki as a precedent. I don’t think the killing of al-Awlaki makes it even the tiniest bit more likely that my family members will someday be assassinated on the say-so of some President. Call me crazy, but unlike WyldPirate, I do not think the killing of al-Awlaki is analogous to Hitler rounding up the Jews.

  128. 128
    Schlemizel says:

    @Cassidy:
    Thank pasta – sorry for thinking so poorly of you. I violated one of my prime directive here “first assume no ill intent”

  129. 129
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Dennis Doubleday:

    But, under our Constitution, no one person gets to decide that and order an execution.

    That actually came up the other day, and apparently there is some case law to support the notion that if someone refuses to cooperate with the law, they forfeit some of their rights. I think it was Koresh that was used as the example — once he refused to surrender, legally the cops did not have to make further attempts to negotiate and were allowed to storm the compound even though it resulted in Koresh’s death and the deaths of others.

    I know people want to reduce the al-Awlaki thing down to a very simple “Fourth Amendment, full stop!” decree, but you have to at least pretend to deal with the realities of the situation, which were that he was living in an area of a foreign country that was not reachable by that country’s military or judicial system and he giving material assistance to people who wanted to kill innocent people. There was no legal way to extradite him even if he could have been arrested by the Yemeni government, because we don’t have an extradition treaty with Yemen. Shrugging our shoulders and leaving him alone to continue to finance terror attacks unhindered was not an option, at least for me.

    Other than leaving him alone, what were our options? Bin Laden was in a populated area, so it was logistically possible to send in a team to arrest or kill him, but al-Awlaki had his camps in areas where a team would have been seen coming from miles away.

    What were our options with al-Awlaki? I’d really like to know.

    ETA: Also, you seem to be under the common misconception that this was a unilateral decision by Obama. There is a group of 8 members of Congress who consulted on this, along with the DoJ and the CIA. Obama may have been the one who had to approve the final decision, but it’s a major stretch to call it a unilateral decision by him.

  130. 130
    Corner Stone says:

    @Steve:

    I don’t think the killing of al-Awlaki makes it even the tiniest bit more likely that my family members will someday be assassinated on the say-so of some President.

    What about this is so hard to understand? Your rebuttal is the exact same thing as the Republicans during GWB saying, “Hey, as long as he keeps me safe, right?”, or “If you’re innocent you have nothing to worry about.”
    It’s the same. Except for right now in this moment in time, it’s your guy making the call. And the, “I trust President Obama to make the right call.” is really what you’re saying.
    That’s what it all boils down to.

  131. 131
    Danny says:

    @El Tiburon:

    Fact is many of you are hypocrites. What you hated about Bush you accept and even rationalize about Obama.

    Fact is that every single person I’ve come across who leveled this accusation re: Obama’s foreign / nat sec policies was either a johnny-come-lately to the anti-Iraq war movement and/or did not have even a basic grasp of the issues or the major complaints about the policies of Bush Jr.

    They were a) he lied the country to war; b) he tore the international community asunder; c) he made torturing our enemies official U.S. policy.

    We bombed terrorists to death without trial even way back when Bubba reigned, and even under Ronaldus Magnus, so if we had pretended that Dubya doing the same was some kind of break with precedent then we would indeed have been guilty of hypocrisy. Just like you, GG and KD are all indeed guilty of hypocrisy when you pretend that it’s a break with precedent when Obama does what Presidents have been doing for at least 25 years.

  132. 132
    Jay B. says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Of course crashing failures aren’t the whole story. But the signature successes of Obama’s presidency has been qualified successes — ACA, the stimulus, Iraq (we’re still going to be spending billions there…why?) — while his biggest failures have been things that Democrats would have gone ballistic against if GW had been in charge — an outright assassination policy, a toothless response against Wall St malfeasance (the vogue excuse was that largely, what Wall St. did was “sadly” legal, which I disagree with, but MF Global is pretty obviously theft at the highest levels), a lost war in Afghanistan, a war on whistleblowers in government, putting Social Security “on the table”, etc.

    I feel less hostile to Obama because he has some great moments and has accomplished some notable things. But his bad is still really fucking bad. Maybe every President would be. I hope not, but it’s possible. And even a grade of 25% would be better than the big 0 any Republican would get. But it doesn’t fix a country in desperate need of fixing. That the majority of Democrats in Congress are worse is, again, not a defense of Obama either. It means were farther away and have to work even harder to change things. But few liberals and no lefties have had allies in the Democratic party since LBJ or when Michael Harrington helped convince my party to redouble their efforts to help the poor.

  133. 133
    Dennis Doubleday says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    What were our options with al-Awlaki? I’d really like to know.

    Have you really never heard of trial “in absentia”? That is a public airing of evidence, without the accused present.

  134. 134
    rikyrah says:

    Why can’t you just give the President his props?

    the man has done great with what he was given

  135. 135
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Dennis Doubleday:

    Have you really never heard of trial “in absentia”? That is a public airing of evidence, without the accused present.

    Trials in absentia are illegal in the US. At a bare minimum, the defendant has to be physically present at the arraignment. Try again.

  136. 136
    Jay B. says:

    Yeah, actually, if President Nixon is going to start ordering military assassinations of my family members on the streets of America, I don’t think he’d have much luck pointing to Obama’s killing of al-Awlaki as a precedent.

    He wouldn’t have to. He killed four Americans at Kent State and nothing happened to him. Well, for that at least.

  137. 137
    Danny says:

    @Dennis Doubleday:

    My position has nothing to do with whether or not Al-Awlaki is guilty or not. Most likely he is.

    But, under our Constitution, no one person gets to decide that and order an execution. This, to me, is the MOST fundamental right.

    If you choose to become an enemy soldier waging war against the United States then you can be killed, without trial. That’s the justification.

  138. 138
    Steve says:

    @Corner Stone: I would be fine with any President of any party ordering the killing of someone like al-Awlaki. I wouldn’t have any concern whatsoever that we go from killing terrorists in remote regions of Yemen down a slippery slope to executing American citizens on the streets of America. I think that’s incredibly far-fetched. One of the reasons I find it so absurd is that none of Obama’s critics have been able to articulate what they would actually do about someone like al-Awlaki.

  139. 139
    sagesource says:

    @Paul Gottlieb:

    And why are we so damn sure we’re not torturing prisoners any more—or having it done for us? Because the administration says so?

    Because it doesn’t work and Obama doesn’t need the Viagra boost of causing others pain for sheer fun.

  140. 140
    JWL says:

    @MBunge: I disagree. The leadership picks and chooses the party’s fights. Had it so chose, the administration could have renounced Bush/Cheney “national security” policies, and relied on the rank and file to support it through thick and thin. Instead, Obama chose to endorse and amplify his predecessors policies- the wishes and interests of his own party not being part of the equation. That decision was tantamount to a dictate.

  141. 141
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Corner Stone: I’m not a lawyer. But it seems to me that if you don’t like how Awlaki was handled, and you don’t like that Holder and Obama defend the way Awlaki was handled, you need to figure out a way to stop them from handling the next case in the same manner. If it’s unconstitutional, that seems to cry out for a legal proceeding. If it’s immoral, that seems to cry out for a law to backstop the immorality with express illegality. Wasn’t that done WRT assassinations in past Congresses? We can get tangible about these things rather than trying to argue them out as impressions and principles.

  142. 142
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @JWL:

    Had it so chose, the administration could have renounced Bush/Cheney “national security” policies, and relied on the rank and file to support it through thick and thin

    Remind me, what was the vote on closing Guantanamo?

  143. 143
    sagesource says:

    @rob in dc:

    In his heart of hearts Obama believes that globalization is really truly inevitable and will only go in one direction. He expects that American’s will suffer lower standards of living as the world’s economies equalize. His goal is to smooth the passage to that promised land for the rich.

    Please provide the serial number of your crystal ball.

  144. 144
    ericblair says:

    @JWL:

    The leadership picks and chooses the party’s fights. Had it so chose, the administration could have renounced Bush/Cheney “national security” policies, and relied on the rank and file to support it through thick and thin.

    Were you around when Obama tried to close Guantanamo, and the Senate pantsed him with a 90-6 vote to keep it open? You’ll notice that most of these Senators are still comfortably ensconced in the Capitol, and the rank and file kinda shrugged and went home.

  145. 145
    Jay B. says:

    @Steve:

    I would be fine with any President of any party ordering the killing of someone like al-Awlaki.

    Why? The likelihood of you or anyone in your family getting killed by a terrorist, nevermind that particular terrorist, is about zero.

    I wouldn’t have any concern whatsoever that we go from killing terrorists in remote regions of Yemen down a slippery slope to executing American citizens on the streets of America.

    It’s about killing Americans — even bad Americans — in Yemen without due process. When cops kill people here, the dead guy usually at least has a gun or something. But with this kind of logic — bad people should be killed — why can’t a cop then basically kill anyone they want? Why do they need a trial? Why wouldn’t a cop believe this? This isn’t exactly rare either. The government just said they had enough suspicion about an American in Yemen to sign his death warrant — why wouldn’t a cop feel the same way?

    One of the reasons I find it so absurd is that none of Obama’s critics have been able to articulate what they would actually do about someone like al-Awlaki.

    There have been infinite suggestions as to what the Administration could have done instead of ordering the hit. Killing him with a drone was the easiest, but certainly not the only thing.

  146. 146
    Corner Stone says:

    @Steve:

    what they would actually do about someone like al-Awlaki.

    I’m not convinced we had “to do” anything about him. We spend a gazillion dollars a year on DoD and NIAs and this one loud mouthed cleric is who we have to punch down at?
    I’m a little concerned when our response to one guy in Yemen is to determine the Executive Branch has the authority to assassinate him on their say so. I mean, what was his biggest success? Getting us to have our junk manhandled in the airport line?
    This bilingual hate monger was our Lex Luthor? I’m afraid it speaks more to where we are as a nation than who he was or what he did.

  147. 147
    les says:

    @Corner Stone:
    Huh. Illogical commenter fails to understand post, comments illogically.

  148. 148
    Corner Stone says:

    @les: I agree. Steve didn’t do a very good job of making a cogent point, IMO.

  149. 149
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Danny:

    If you choose to become an enemy soldier waging war against the United States then you can be killed, without trial. That’s the justification.

    FDR didn’t have to think twice about bombing German troop positions in case there were American citizens who’d signed up with the Nazis there because the rules of war are clear, but there was a whole lot of fuss about how Obama (and even Bush) were not allowed to bomb al-Qaeda encampments in Yemen or Afghanistan if there was any evidence that al-Awlaki or another American citizen was there because the current laws do not allow us to be “at war” with a non-state actor.

    It’s a really weird legal tangle, which is why I get exasperated with the “But it’s all so simple!” crowd. No, it’s not, and you sound like an idiot every time you try to claim there was a simple solution to stopping terror attacks plotted by an American citizen living overseas in an inaccessible part of a foreign country that we don’t have an extradition treaty with.

  150. 150
    Danny says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    but there was a whole lot of fuss about how Obama (and even Bush) were not allowed to bomb al-Qaeda encampments in Yemen or Afghanistan if there was any evidence that al-Awlaki or another American citizen was there because the current laws do not allow us to be “at war” with a non-state actor.

    It might be wise then for those people to keep in mind that if it was the case that we could not be “at war” with a non-state actor, then the Clinton missile strikes of ’98 were war crimes under international law, and targeting any Al Qaeda fighter – American or foreign – in any way outside civilian law enforcement would also be a war crime (ETA: or murder).

    It seems to me that, while it’s possible to make a principled argument that we’re not “at war” with Al Qaeda (a position not shared by either of the last three Presidents or John Kerry), you can not credibly argue that killing foreign Al Qaeda operatives is legal but killing American Al Qaeda operatives is illegal. The legal justification for both is the same: we’re at war with Al Qaeda.

    The hand wringing about Al-Awliki is imho indicative of a most ugly knee jerk impulse of American Exceptionalism: people with American passports do and should have more protections in a war than foreigners. Or: it’s less of a war if it’s an American.

  151. 151
    JWL says:

    @ericblair: The Guantanomo episode does not serve to explain Obama’s blanket endorsement of the onerous apparatus he inherited from Bush/Cheney. To suggest his hand was forced to maintain it because of the Cuban prison is absurd.

  152. 152
    ruemara says:

    @Jay B.: If there are an infinite number of options, then surely providing, say 2, is easy. What are our 2 options other than drones?

  153. 153
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @JWL: OK, but it helps to illustrate why your statement about the “rank and file” reliably supporting any shift he did make is so wishful. Sure, he could have made lots of changes, and didn’t. But you were suggesting that there would have been a lot of zeal for those changes amid his own party’s politicians and voters. Not so. “He should have changed course because it would be right” is a fine thing to say, but “he should have changed course and people would have liked it” is a whole ‘nother matter.

  154. 154
    JWL says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Charitably put, I’m convinced Obama’s political timidity undermined his 2008 mandate. Moreover, he has has essentially dumped responsibility for the Bush/Cheney agenda in the lap of his own rank and file. He’ll be out of office, sooner or later. The party endures, however, and it’s now on record endorsing a stupidly reactionary policy at odds with its own best interests.

  155. 155
    Marc says:

    @JWL:

    Except that I don’t your claim that he’s made any such blanket endorsement. He explicitly repudiated torture, and tried (and failed) to close Guantanamo. He didn’t try to prosecute the prior administration, which makes him the same as every other president in the history of the republic.

    The online critics of the president assert as fact things that are at least debatable, and frequently things that are simply wrong (e.g. the actual history of what happened on Guantanamo.) This sort of distortion is a specialty of many prominent critics: to seek out evil motives, misrepresent actions, and ignore things that don’t fit the pre-conceived storyline.

    And it’s a major reason why I, and a lot of other liberals, have grown a strong dislike of some prominent voices. I just lose my trust in people when they misrepresent things that I know something about. And I’ve learned that sloppy magical thinking is, unfortunately, not a monopoly of the right.

  156. 156
    Jay B. says:

    @ruemara:

    Awesome. Killing someone or not killing someone. Imminent danger assumed! He must have had his finger on some ticking time bomb or something!

    Nothing was an option. Employing a second country to arrest him was another. Going in with a team to capture him was an option, if not a great one. Demanding his extradition and laying out the case was another. Leaking that he was a mole for the U.S. is another. Giving him due process in some way was another. Creating an entire secret court apparatus just for these kind of cases was another. Those were off the top of my head.

    Are you really that blinkered to think KILL HIM NOW is the only option to anything like this? Is anyone, ever, at all, that fucking stupid?

  157. 157
    shep says:

    @Mike in NC:

    WTF does being CINC have to do with the domestic agenda?

    It’s where Drum reveals his irrational bias against Obama. And I agree pretty much to the letter on some of his critiques, particularly on executive power. Though you also have to wonder what his criticism would be like if Obama had done what liberals would like to see him do and now centrist national security types were screaming that the sky was falling because Obama was listening to his liberal base.

  158. 158
    Jay B. says:

    @Marc:

    He didn’t try to prosecute the prior administration, which makes him the same as every other president in the history of the republic.

    So then, those irresponsible “critics” are right — there is no basic rule of law. And Nixon was also right, that if the President does it, even if it involves torture and lying about the need for a preemptive war that killed hundreds of thousands, it’s legal.

    It really is either/or.

  159. 159

    Suddenly, we have two bogus, or demographically altered polls by mainstream newspapers showing Obama’s approval sinking, while other polls say not. But these polls are plastered on memerandum front pages, to curry a wingnut blog swarm, and the weine prog crackers jump right in with the wingers with some high caliber concern trolling. Okay, just another tricky day, or let’s throw in with the nutters to get rid of the swarthy usurper in the WH. Shit is too weird. Yawn

  160. 160
    Sly says:

    First,Obama seems to despise the progressive base.

    “People who hate Republicans for a variety of reasons and who use the internet to voice that hatred,” which is what people like Drum mean when they use the term “Progressive base,” is not a valid political constituency. And even if it was, the notion that it would rise to the importance of constituting a “base” of an entire political party is laughable.

  161. 161
    Jay B. says:

    Though you also have to wonder what his criticism would be like if Obama had done what liberals would like to see him do and now centrist national security types were screaming that the sky was falling because Obama was listening to his liberal base.

    Yes. Whatever happens, we mustn’t upset the centrist national security types! Could you imagine? Maybe they’d challenge his birth certificate!

  162. 162
    Warmongerer says:

    @Dennis Doubleday:

    As a reminder, Yemeni courts tried Al-Awlaki in absentia and issued a “dead or alive” warrant for him.

  163. 163
    JWL says:

    @Marc: In response, I refer you to my original post on this thread.

  164. 164
    ruemara says:

    @Jay B.: I said KILL HIM NOW was the only option? Well, GFY, since I said nothing of the sort. So, doing nothing counts to you. Ok, I guess we could. You want a secret court process, despite the fact that these decisions are handled by… a secret group of senators and advisers along with the president. But it would be better if these were all secret judges? Wouldn’t you then decry the secrecy as a betrayal of open government and still illegal and against civil liberties? Plus, what Warmongerer at 162 said.

  165. 165
    Corner Stone says:

    @shep:

    It’s where Drum reveals his irrational bias against Obama.

    Kevin Drum has an irrational bias against Obama?!
    Shit. Somebody get to FlipYrNick’s and make sure the fainting couches have been reupholstered.
    Stat!

  166. 166
    danimal says:

    Well, I’m probably close to an Obot, but I’m troubled by the administration’s national security portfolio.

    While I trust Obama’s judgement and integrity for the most part, he really hasn’t meaningfully reversed the legal basis for the Bush-era policies (torture, threatening due process rights and conducting unrestricted warfare under dubious authority, for example) that were quite upsetting to me and many progressives under President Bush. I believe that Obama has kept these ‘tools’ in the presidential ‘toolbox’ even if he is reluctant to use them. If President Santorum or President Rmoney are inaugurated, they will pick up right where Bush left us. This is a major failing of the Obama administration.

    I don’t see why I have to support the president on everything to be a part of the team. Liberals are, and should be, capable of understanding nuance. Zandar’s take on Kevin Drum is puzzling to me; Drum is a realist, and more of a policy wonk than a partisan, but there are better targets than a blogger calling Obama a “damn good” president. Sheesh.

  167. 167
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    There are a number of peole commenting on this thread who would not be satisfied by any president. The nature of the job and the process by which one gets the position ensures that presidents will make some decisions that are morally questionable. I am not looking for perfection in a president; the most I expect is a competent person who broadly shares my outlook and priorities and has the ability to hold up under the pressures of the job. By that standard, I think we have done alright.

  168. 168

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I know you disagree, but I think there are a number of people on this thread who are stone fucking racists, and if a white dem president were in office, they wouldn’t be near full of hateful bile bullshit, and really don’t give a shit for honestly appraising this president.

    They want him gone gone gone, and the hate is so rabid, they are willing to let the wingnuts have their way. You all can tap dance around this bullshit, some more if you want. After 3 years of it, I ain’t going to, no fucking more, and will say what I think. And just did.

  169. 169
    Danny says:

    I’m not convinced we had “to do” anything about him.

    Nothing was an option.

    This position is fine I guess, as long as one:

    a) stays consistent and demands the same for non-American Al Qaeda members.
    b) understands that ~90% of the U.S. public supported invading Afghanistan in 2001. What they supported wasn’t commitment to a perpetual counterinsurgency against ragtag Talibans. They supported getting Al Qaeda – and judging by recent polling on the drone strikes they still do in overwhelming numbers.

    And it makes sense, you know. We were attacked by Al Qaeda – not by the Taliban and not by Saddam Hussein. If we should be fighting and killing anyone, we should be fighting and killing Al Qaeda.

  170. 170
    Danny says:

    @danimal:

    What did Obama do to keep torture in the presidential ‘toolbox’? I’d say he’s been a strong and effective advocate that torture is something we don’t do in this country.

  171. 171
    El Tiburon says:

    @MBunge:

    But the killing of brown-skinned foreigners is perfectly okay with you? Racist

    You got it buddy. That’s what I’ve said all along.

    Putz.

    @shortstop:

    A pedantic thing, perhaps, but still:

    More of a childish thing really. Woops, let me correct that: more of a fucking childish thing really.

    Let me derogate it some more: from my understanding, Lilly Ledbetter, while a very good thing, is useless because there is no enforcement. So, are we on a path to more equitable wages? Can women sue when they find out they find out they have been paid less?

    So, I may derogate it, but it is only because in fact it really has not done much. On the other hand, what I don’t derogate is that this President continues to claim a lot of horrendous power to kill and imprison, among other serious offenses. So, yeah, no amount of Lilllly Ledbetttter is going to change this.

  172. 172
    Brachiator says:

    @WyldPirate:

    But the disdain dripping from your comment about which are the proper civil liberties to defend are quite telling and and expose you as the sniveling Obot you are.

    Ya know, no matter how often you talk the Obot shit, it doesn’t make it true. Does make you look stupid.

    And my disdain is not for civil liberties, it’s for the sad sack ideological purists who hide behind a faux concern about civil liberties just because Obama didn’t personally satisfy all your hopes and dreams.

    Nice try at obfuscation, though.

    @El Tiburon:

    You are absolutely correct. I am a slightly upper-class, white male who lives in the nice part of town. To say I am priviliged (not 1%, but still) is an understatement. I doubt I will ever be tazed

    Then perhaps you should live a life less comfortable.

    See, I care more than a half-assed attempt at healthcare reform. I sincerely care about this fucking country. So you can take all of your Lily Ledbetters and stuff them in a sock.

    So, let’s see. You care about society, but the right of a woman to be paid an equal wage, well, this is small potatoes. Interesting.

    And half assed attempt at healthcare reform. Wow.

    Because what is it all really worth if we so-called Liberals/progressives accept that we can invade, bomb, torture, kill, and lock up anyone we want just because we can?

    Not what was said at all. Then again, you previously asserted that your privilege makes you immune from this, so how could you be concerned that “anyone” could be locked up, killed, tortured?

    On the other hand, although I don’t agree in the slightest with what you think are priorities, I do appreciate your taking the time to detail your thoughts.

  173. 173
    El Tiburon says:

    @Danny:

    Just like you, GG and KD are all indeed guilty of hypocrisy when you pretend that it’s a break with precedent when Obama does what Presidents have been doing for at least 25 years.

    Say what? When have we pretended anything?

    I believe I have clearly stated numerous times that Obama is continuing many of the same disastrous policies from Bush. I’ve never stated or intimated that it is something new.

    And what does it matter who did what before? So a precedent was set, we just sit back with our thumbs up our ass? By your tortured and idiotic logic Obama can invade and kill and torture all he wants because NYUCK NYUCK it was done before.

  174. 174
    Jonathan says:

    @danimal:

    Agreed. If Zandar didn’t like what Kevin Drum said, then he should pick apart his piece, and respond to its content. Instead, he seems to be upset that Kevin’s blog post didn’t praise Obama sufficiently enough, and therefore he’s responsible for some sort of insufficiently enthusiastic view of Obama from the “the left”. That critique seems strange to me, especially given that the article is very positive on Obama.

    Republican worship of Reagan seems very cultish and dangerous to me, I don’t think the left should try to copy it with Obama.

  175. 175
    JoyfulA says:

    @Mnemosyne: Philadelphia convicted Ira Einstein in absentia. IIRC when he was found in France, a move to vacate the conviction was required before extradition was allowed.

  176. 176
    El Tiburon says:

    @Brachiator:

    Then perhaps you should live a life less comfortable.

    It did get kind of scary when I lost my job unexpectedly. Thankfully the wife has a good job and I was able to rebound somewhat. But I also know that college and braces are going to be a chore. And if the wife loses her job and if mine goes south we are fucked. But, I also know it is very tough out there for a lot of people.

    So, let’s see. You care about society, but the right of a woman to be paid an equal wage, well, this is small potatoes. Interesting.

    Pull your head out. In context of what seems to be our new foreign policy of bombing, invading and killing, what is all about? Also too see my prior response about Lilly Ledbetter.

    Then again, you previously asserted that your privilege makes you immune from this, so how could you be concerned that “anyone” could be locked up, killed, tortured?

    I will try again for you: I sincerely care about this country and this planet. It’s kind of hard getting all excited about domestic issues when we are such a terror and a threat to so many other nations. What is so hard about that? You’re kind of like the critics of John Edwards*: how can a rich dude have compassion for the poor?

    *No, I am not comparing myself to Edwards – I am far from rich. Very, very very far.

  177. 177
    Dennis Doubleday says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Trials in absentia are illegal in the US.

    Ha ha, so is execution without trial. I feel sure Mr. Holder could have come up with an argument that justified the former more easily than one that justifies the latter.

    He argued that “due process doesn’t mean judicial process.” So, the defendant doesn’t need no stinking trial to be absent from?

  178. 178
    Dennis Doubleday says:

    @Warmongerer:

    As a reminder, Yemeni courts tried Al-Awlaki in absentia and issued a “dead or alive” warrant for him.

    Thanks for that information. I was not aware of that.

    But, are the Yemeni courts fair?

  179. 179

    So, the defendant doesn’t need no stinking trial to be absent from?

    Not if they join the other side with people we are officially at war with.

    edit – and on a foreign battlefield running with his AQ amigos. That the Yemeni government is also at war with.

  180. 180
    Danny says:

    @El Tiburon:

    The point is that I never had a problem with Bush fighting Al Qaeda and, at times, killing them. If I had I would indeed have already been a hypocrite during the Bush years, if I hadn’t previously called Clinton out for doing the same thing. I would have been a hypocrite again in 2004, if I didn’t call out John Kerry when he ran on a platform that included fighting and killing Al Qaeda operatives. And I would have been a hypocrite yet again, if I didn’t do the same when Obama ran on a platform that included fighting and killing members of Al Qaeda in 2008.

    My problem with Bush wasn’t that he was willing to use the military to go after Al Qaeda. It was that he made torture official U.S. policy. That he lied us into a war with Iraq, who had nothing to do with 9/11. That he gave the finger to international law and the international community. Etc.

    So your accusation of hypocrisy has no merit. It’s based on ignorance about Bush and Obama’s policies and the policies of previous administrations.

  181. 181

    @Danny:

    That he lied us into a war with Iraq, who had nothing to do with 9/11.

    Yup, and leaving unfinished the war directed at those that actually attacked us on 9-11. The rest it centered around lawless torture and detention of prisoners. And other things like ignoring the existing FISA, But Not fighting the AQ, that basically the world declared war on through the UN.

  182. 182
    Marc says:

    @Jonathan:

    I’m sorry, but you’re not even close. Let’s say that I spend 90% of my time telling you about all of the things that you did wrong, and then at the end I told you that I think you’re doing fine. You’re going to suspect that the last bit is bullshit. And that’s what we’re seeing from Drum in this piece.

    If you really think that Obama is awful, say so. If you think he’s good, make that case. But don’t use the dodge of droning on endlessly about how awful he is, staple a token statement at the end, and then make believe that you’re advocating for him.

  183. 183
    MBunge says:

    @El Tiburon: “It’s kind of hard getting all excited about domestic issues when we are such a terror and a threat to so many other nations.”

    And what is the single thing that will most increase that terror and threat? Having somebody other than Barack Obama sitting in the Oval Office.

    Mike

  184. 184
    shortstop says:

    @El Tiburon:

    Can women sue when they find out they find out they have been paid less?

    Sweet jesus. You don’t care enough to get her name right any of the dozens of times you’ve railed about the act named for her…and now we find out that you don’t even fucking know the content of the legislation that is the example you chose to whine about ad nauseam. If that ain’t a perfect microcosm of what’s wrong with you…!

  185. 185
    Binky Bear says:

    @ShadeTail: the greatest crime is always being right too soon. Wait til Jeb Bush has control of the terminator drones and see how folks like it.

  186. 186
    David Koch says:

    Excellent work, Zandar.

    Way to bait all the butthurt PUMAs, emoprogs, progressive betters, and firebaggers into one place.

    Now drop the net.

    This is like one of the police stings were they trick wanted criminals to show up to a auditorium because they think they won Dodger tickets.

  187. 187
    Bruce S says:

    It would be interesting to read a post that had a counterpoint perspective to Drum’s “first”, “second” and “third.” I’d pay attention because I’m conflicted about some of the Obama Presidency. I’m not sour like Drum but I’m not a sychophant like so many here. I have a funny feeling that means I’m grounded in reality and…uh…something resembling critical thinking. My emotional reaction to the President is overwhelmingly positive. Thus “emoprog” doesn’t apply. But I have some serious critiques of policy and choices – albeit I also have a strong sense of the pig-fucked environment that the President is working in. Also the overwhelming flood of issues he’s had to contend with. IMHO, he’s the best President in my lifetime. But that’s not the highest bar in the world. Unfortunately, in posts like this, and the glib musings of ABL, we get nothing resembling a push-back that’s grounded in substance or serious argument. Just attitude and insinuation that the problems of the Obama presidency and messaging are largely the fault of…people like Kevin Drum.

    Good fucking lord! Spare me this crap. Grow the fuck up and make a damned argument about the issues – and they are many and complex – that is grounded in…something. This shit is pathetic.

    Based on my experience here not towing the “line”, I fully expect some shithead like “General Stuck” to yell “Firebagger” given my being unimpressed with threads like this rooted in attitude rather than coherent argument re issues. The clown show continues…

  188. 188
    Bruce S says:

    For what it’s worth, and it’s probably not worth much in one of these predictable comments threads, Kevin Drum never declares President Obama “worse than Bush” as asserted above. This kind of rhetorical “flourish” doesn’t help if you are seeking to be taken seriously.

    For anyone who considers my comments worthy of the usual name-calling, here’s the second to last link on my own blog:

    http://titanicsailsatdawn.blog.....ments.html

  189. 189

    @Bruce S:

    Nobody can understand much of what you write, and the part that is halfway understandable is nothing more than self preening puffery at yer own imagined wisdom. I don’t think you are a firebagger, but more like a pompous ass.

  190. 190
    Bruce S says:

    If you can’t understand what I write, it’s because you’re butt stupid. You’re a piece of shit. You proved that with your own preening and trash-mouth exercises in self-regard over many months. Pompous ass would be an improvement in your case.

  191. 191

    @Bruce S:

    You’re a piece of shit.

    LOL, Right back atcha tough guy.

  192. 192
    Bruce S says:

    You’ve earned the respect you deserve. It’s really that simple. “LOL”

  193. 193
    Egg Berry says:

    @El Tiburon:

    In context of what seems to be our new foreign policy of bombing, invading and killing, what is all about?

    Are you for real?

  194. 194

    @Bruce S:

    You’ve earned the respect you deserve.

    True enough, and I have you marked down as a no for moi’/ It’ll be tough, but I think I can live with that. You have a pleasant evening and don’t take no wooden nickles.

  195. 195
    Nathanael says:

    What El Tiburon and Paul Gottlieb said.

    Of course, I’m in a “safe state” in the extreme, so it simply doesn’t matter who I vote for for President. Because the Republicans are psychopathic clowns, they can’t win the Presidency without stealing it. If Obama will fight to prevent that (as I wish Gore had fought to prevent the theft in 2000), I will fight with him.

    I think the real issues are in the Senate. Obama never needed “filibuster proof” anything; the Republicans demonstrated a while back that all you need is a simple majority. Did Obama even have 51 votes? This is unclear.

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