I will not negotiate. And the reason…is because if we establish a pattern whereby one faction of one party controlling one chamber in Congress can threaten default, that the United States of America is no longer meeting its obligations and fulfilling the full faith and credit of the United States unless they get 100 percent of what they want, then we’ve established a pattern that fundamentally changes the nature of our government. At that point, any president — not just me — any president is subject to that kind of blackmail continuously.
If you had a Republican president in here and a Democratic speaker said, “We’re not going to raise the debt ceiling unless you pass background checks on guns. We’re not going to pass the debt ceiling unless you raise the corporate income tax by 30 percent,” you know, that Republican president would find him- or herself in a similar position. That’s not how our Constitution was designed.
78 percent of respondents to a poll on MSNBC’s The Ed Show said they agreed with the “policy of targeted killing of American citizens,” despite host Ed Schultz arguing that the policy “doesn’t meet the moral or the constitutional standard that we expect of any administration…We’re losing the moral high ground by doing this…”
MSNBC pundit Chris Matthews defended the wisdom of granting the President and his administration the powers of prosecutor, jury, judge, and executioner by stating that Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta “is a conscientious guy. He goes to church every day.”
Toure, an MSNBC pundit and Obama supporter, vociferously defended U.S. drone policy on The Cycle, stating “It’s hard to say, ‘let’s not do things because we might radicalize other people,” to which Glenn Beck protege S.E. Cupp responded, “but that was the argument under Bush.” Indeed it was.
This Fairleigh Dickinson University poll shows little disagreement between liberals and conservatives when it comes to drone strikes and the targeted killings of U.S. citizens. The Presidential debate on foreign policy between Obama and Romney revealed few differences in opinion, aside from the semantics of how harshly we should denounce Iran and how warmly we should embrace Israel.
Many alleged liberals and progressives have revealed not an ideological or intellectual consistency but rather an unthinking devotion to one person. Their judgment is so clouded by a cult of personality that they’ve allowed a President theoretically restricted by laws to simply discard the Fifth Amendment in exchange for the almost dictatorial power of determining who is guilty or innocent and who deserves to live or die. This power, when manifested in leaders of other countries, is routinely denounced as undemocratic. Yet, when wielded by someone liberals like, it becomes a necessary tactic to defend the homeland.
Although the scale of abuse and suffering is not comparable, drone strikes may be the Democratic Party’s contemporary Vietnam, in the sense that an overreaction to a threat (then Communism, now terrorism) has resulted in an almost imperialistic lawlessness. The ideology that fights for civil rights and the alleviation of poverty domestically has obliterated those things for innocent civilians abroad.
What will the arguments be when this power, now codified by President Obama, falls into the outstretched arms of someone liberals don’t trust; someone such as, say, Marco Rubio or Chris Christie? Will the reckless killing of suspected terrorists and hundreds of civilians become a national security necessity or will it suddenly morph into a dangerous and counter-productive war crime?
Every day that these drone strikes continue unabated, liberals lose all credibility and lose the support of those among them who genuinely support the struggle for social justice and peace.
There was a time when merely stating the ideas Obama put forth would have gotten you killed. And we still live in a time where people gladly tell you that the Civil War was not whether we’d be “half-slave and half-free” but about whether we’d be “half-agrarian or half-industrial.” Or some such. I don’t think most Americans really understand the significance of say Seneca Falls or Stonewall. And I don’t know that any president has actually lauded either of these publicly.
As surely as it has always mattered to homophobes, white supremacists, and chauvinists what was and wasn’t said in the public, it should matter to those of who seek to repel them. What ideas do and don’t get exposed in the public square has to matter to any activist, because movements begin by exposing people to ideas.
I don’t think it follows that because Obama used marijuana he should necessarily switch postions. But I would hope that it would give him some empathy. In America, Barack Obama was able to become president, despite his drug use. That is a good thing.
Democrats and Obama supporters are in the best position to pressure the President into revising, or perhaps even eliminating, certain policies. Yet their hatred for Republicans seems to consume their every waking thought, thus allowing the President to do as he pleases with nary a word of dissent.
We have urged the formation of a special court, like the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, that could review the evidence regarding a target before that person is placed on a kill list. Otherwise, the government should establish a clear procedure so officials outside of the administration are allowed to pass judgment on assassination decisions.
Mr. Obama has acknowledged the need for a “legal architecture” to be put in place “to make sure that not only am I reined in but any president’s reined in.” Yet his administration has resisted legal efforts by The Times and the American Civil Liberties Union to make public its secret legal opinions on these killings.
The New York Times - Rules for Targeted Killing
If the President acknowledges the lack of a “legal architecture”, or even a set of rules, for the killing of suspected terrorists, isn’t that essentially an admission of illegal behavior? Imagine someone enters a courtroom, stands before a judge and says, “Your honor, I’ve killed a number of people who I strongly suspect were enemies of the state. I have evidence to condemn them, but I won’t show it to you. I haven’t been following any ‘laws’ or ‘rules’ per se, but I think at some point, I should probably rein myself in.”
Reblogging my essay on the eve of our election.
I can think of few politicians belonging to one of the two major parties who I’d rather see occupy the Presidency than Mr. Obama. I hate to sound too cynical, but if you refuse to support President Obama because of his shortcomings as a progressive, it is unlikely that you will find anyone to support in a general presidential election for at least the foreseeable future. A protest vote can be a valuable thing but if every vote is a protest, you are not so much participating in your government as incessantly complaining about it. America will get better only if we make tangible efforts to improve it.
This election, I seriously considered voting third party due to my opposition to President Obama’s drone strikes, possible forthcoming war with Iran, assault on medical marijuana dispensaries that comply with state laws, mass deportation of immigrants, and failure to prosecute Wall Street criminals. My alternative choice for President was Justice Party candidate Rocky Anderson, but I realized that my support for him was based more on frustration I felt towards Obama and less because a protest vote would actually improve the country. Nonetheless, I donated to Anderson’s ballot access initiative and hope to see his party expand its influence.
It’s regrettable that the Democratic Party, with the election of Bill Clinton, chose to discard certain progressive values, most notably a respect for civil liberties and a restrained foreign policy. There are more than a couple Democrats on my ballot that I will not be voting for this year. Even while supporting the President’s re-election, it will be necessary to ceaselessly pressure Democrats to justify their wayward policies. Let’s not forget this is the same party, by and large, that supported a war with Iraq, the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, and the mass imprisonment of young black men in the name of an absurd “war on drugs.” It’s a deeply flawed party, in many respects divorced from the policies and ethics of some its most celebrated members, among them Robert F. Kennedy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the recently deceased George McGovern.
But as far as Democrats go, Obama is superior to Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, and every other candidate who ran against him in the 2008 primary. He is a far better President that George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan. Thanks to the Obama administration, we exited Iraq within the time frame promised and will exit Afghanistan in the not-too-distant future. We have a President who shapes public opinion by affirming his support for gay Americans and supports legislation to ensure equality for minorities and women. We have tax cuts for working families, the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, a nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia, the body of Osama bin Laden resting on the ocean floor, the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi, the reversal of growing unemployment, and the revitalization of the American automotive industry.
While it is important to have reasons to vote for a candidate, it is also necessary to have reasons to vote against the opposition. Mitt Romney’s mantra of “no apology” aptly describes the kind of insensitive, arrogant administration he would likely preside over. 70% of Romney’s foreign policy advisors served in the Bush-Cheney administration (leading me to believe Romney is either more likely or just as likely to launch an unnecessary war with Iran as Obama) and his economic policies are nearly identical to that same debt-inducing regime. Romney won’t bat an eyelash over union busting or the destruction of the welfare system or the elimination of universal health care or the oppression of gay Americans.
If you want to protect workers’ rights, maintain programs for the poor, expand health care coverage, raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans, and withdraw troops from Afghanistan, then a vote for Obama is the only vote that has any hope of actually accomplishing these goals.
There are Americans out there with no jobs and no education and no money and no hope. Vote for them. Vote for the men and women who, until recently, could not serve in the military without denying who they are. Vote for the working class family, routinely denounced as leeching off government assistance, who longs for an America where they can rise to new heights. Vote for the children being raised in communities with failing schools and soaring crime rates who are ignorantly instructed to fend for themselves in a world they are ill-equipped to navigate.
For those who say a vote for Obama would betray their principles, I ask: what principle could be more sacred than the well-being of your fellow citizens?