Sunday, January 31, 2010


Those of us who felt that the first priority of the Obama administration should have been to investigate and prosecute the crimes of the Bush administration were told by other progressives that we were unrealistic and that Obama had to forego such things because Republican cooperation was necessary for Obama to advance his progressive agenda. That doesn't seem to be working out.

Nevertheless, as eloquent and intelligent as Obama obviously is, he is also not the leader we elected him to be, and Democrats are in dire need of a strong, principled and progressive leader. I don't know what it will take to develop a party with some backbone, but it needs a jumpstart, and soon. Though I really don't know if the progressive movement can recover from this setback:

In sum, there is clearly a bipartisan and institutional craving for a revival (more accurately: ongoing preservation) of the core premise of Bush/Cheney radicalism: that because we're "at war" with Terrorists, our standard precepts of justice and due process do not apply and, indeed, must be violated. To relieve ourselves of guilt and of the bad lingering taste left from having such discredited and unpopular leadership for eight years, we collectively pretended for a little while to regret the excesses of the Bush/Cheney approach to such matters. But it's now crystal clear that the country, especially its ruling elite, is either too petrified of Terrorism and/or too enamored of the powers which that fear enables to accept any real changes from the policies that were supposedly such a profound violation "of our values." One can only marvel at the consensus outrage generated by the mere notion that we charge people with crimes and give them trials if we want to lock them in a cage for life. Indeed, what was once the most basic and defining American principle -- the State must charge someone with a crime and give them a fair trial in order to imprison them -- has been magically transformed into Leftist extremism.

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