I’m stumped. What does Barack Obama believe in? Is there any promise he wouldn’t break, any anti-progressive stand he wouldn’t take if he thought it might gain him some political advantage?
Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth is convinced that Obama, if he signs the National Defense Authorization Act, “will go down in history as the president who enshrined indefinite detention without trial in U.S. law.” And Obama has signaled he will indeed sign after apparently caving to Congressional factions. Or maybe he simply believes in an imperial presidency.
As Robert Scheer wrote:
On Wednesday, White House press secretary Jay Carney claimed “the most recent changes give the president additional discretion in determining how the law will be implemented, consistent with our values and the rule of law, which are at the heart of our country’s strength.”
What rubbish, coming from a president who taught constitutional law. The point is not to hock our civil liberty to the discretion of the president, but rather to guarantee our freedoms even if a Dick Cheney or Newt Gingrich should attain the highest office.
Sadly, this flagrant subversion of the constitutionally guaranteed right to due process of law was opposed in the Senate by only seven senators, including libertarian Republican Rand Paul and progressive Independent Bernie Sanders.
Arguably, this bill is the most recent bad consequence of 9/11. That calamity a decade ago didn’t begin the erosion of our civil liberties but it gave a tremendous boost to authoritarians — Dick Cheney and that gang — who were dead-set on stoking fear in order to subvert laws and traditions that date all the way back to the founding of the republic.
But who among us dreamed in 2007-2008 that Obama was in the gang? Who would have guessed he’d be just as eager to pump up the military and ditch due process as Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romnney and other Republicans? Obama and the Republicans, one of whom will be the other presidential nominee, would rather fuel the war machine than create jobs and fix the country’s decaying infrastructure. This is how low the American political system has sunk.