Patterico's Pontifications

5/17/2009

Greenwald Critiques Obama on Civil Liberties

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 12:17 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

In his post yesterday, Glenn Greenwald criticizes liberals who are willing to overlook Obama’s embrace of Bush-era national security policies:

“What should one say about a person who vehemently objected to X when Bush did it, but then suddenly found ways to defend or mitigate X when Obama does it?
***
But unless the opposition of the last eight years was really just a cynical means for opportunistically weakening and demonizing Republican opponents rather than opposing policies that one genuinely found dangerous and wrong, then the actions of Obama are leaving no other choice but to object and object strenuously. As the first paragraph of today’s NYT article put it, this week alone provided “the most graphic examples yet of how [Obama] has backtracked, in substantial if often nuanced ways, from the approach to national security that he preached as a candidate, and even from his first days in the Oval Office.” If nothing else, refraining from objecting will ensure that this continues further and further.”

I’m glad Obama isn’t practicing everything he preached during the campaign but I don’t blame Greenwald for being disappointed in Obama, or in liberals who defend Obama’s duplicity on these issues. I felt the same dismay about some of Bush’s spending decisions.

— DRJ

20 Responses to “Greenwald Critiques Obama on Civil Liberties”

  1. The only two possibilities for Obama’s reversals are that he was lying for political advantage (especially to separate himself from Hillary) or he was sincere and naive. I think I’d prefer the former; a president that naive scares the hell out of me. As if he didn’t already!

    Deuce Geary (4eb0a6)

  2. “But unless the opposition of the last eight years was really just a cynical means for opportunistically weakening and demonizing Republican opponents rather than opposing policies that one genuinely found dangerous and wrong, then the actions of Obama are leaving no other choice but to object and object strenuously.”

    DRJ – Has Greenwald taken a position? It is certainly not evident from reading the piece which you linked.

    I am very fond of the following two paragraphs which I took from one of his comments on his blog when I was actively commenting there. I think they give important clues to his thinking.

    “There are some people who treat our conflicts with the Bush administration and their followers as just a matter of basic, friendly political and policy differences – along the lines of “what should the rate of capital gains tax be?” or “what type of laws can best encourage employers to provide more benefits to their employees” – and therefore, we treat people who support the administration with respect and civility and simply have nice, clean discussions to sort out our differences among well-intentioned people.

    That isn’t how I see that, and nobody should come to this blog expecting that. I don’t think I’ve done anything to lead anyone to expect otherwise. I see the Bush movement and its various component parts as a plague and a threat, as anything but well-intentioned. My goal, politically speaking, is to do what I can to undermine it and the institutions that have both supported and enabled it.”
    Glenn Greenwald | 12.02.06 – 4:22 pm |

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  3. daley,

    I have no doubt Greenwald will support Obama in the next 3 years and this could be no more than doublespeak. But I think it’s fair to conclude Greenwald isn’t happy with liberals who are making excuses for Obama’s positions, and that’s a start. It’s certainly better than anything Olbermann says.

    DRJ (f55947)

  4. Greenwald’s problem is the obverse of Sullivan’s. Sullivan’s U.S. citizen wife cannot get him a visa and Greenwald cannot get his Brazilian wife a visa, and Obama has yet to do anything about it. If only Bush had not mentioned same-sex marriage in his first State of the Union address, how different things might have been.

    nk (a1896a)

  5. And I am sorry to throw out the wheat with the chaff.

    nk (a1896a)

  6. “What should one say about a person who vehemently objected to X when Bush did it, but then suddenly found ways to defend or mitigate X when Obama does it?”

    I’d say that that person is a TYPICAL leftist. Dishonest and hypocritical.

    Dave Surls (f4ab96)

  7. Bush’s activities made him a bad Republican as he abandoned the philosophy of the GOP. Obama’s actions make him a good Democrat as they reflect the core value of the Democratic Party, electability. Since the Democrats don’t have any principles to speak of, Obama is advancing the cause.

    Ken Hahn (14ec34)

  8. “Since the Democrats don’t have any principles to speak of…”

    Sure they do.

    Democrat leaders want power to order the lives of other men,

    Democrat followers want a government that will steal my money and give it to Democrat followers.

    All the other stuff they bitch, and moan and complain about (wars, civil rights, how captured terrorists are treated, whatever they’re currently squeling about) is a big smokescreen.

    It’s all about power and free handouts.

    That’s the only principles the Dems have or ever had.

    Dave Surls (f4ab96)

  9. The first job of a president is to get reelected. The show trials of the Bush period will only polarize voters further. Obama has a steamroller majority but the Republicans cannot stay comatose forever, can they? Obama is giving them nothing to run on.

    howard432 (3f8901)

  10. The ability to see things differently and do things differently when one walks a mile in someone else’s shoes is as old as time.

    As teens, people often think their parents are the dumbest things on two legs and are sadly off base on a number of issues. When these same folks become parents themselves and are responsible for another human being, they often have new insight and respect for their own parents, (and hear themselves parroting their parents’ famous lines).

    Workers are often highly vocal and critical of “the boss” and management’s “asinine” decisions. They know they could do better–much better. That is, until they get promoted themselves and are suddenly in charge of a company’s personnel, production, results, or finances. Gee, balancing it all is just not as simple as it looked.

    Maybe I’m being too kind here, but assuming political office, especially the presidency, is kind of the same. Things that are said to stir things up, or promises that sound good on the campaign trail are often found to be untenable and unsupportable when reality actually sets in. Conflicting constituent needs presenting themselves, department heads weighing in, and security briefings sinking in are, of course, going to prompt some changes in any administration’s approach. Zealots like Greenwald view that as betrayal, treachery and flip-flopping. Most Americans view it as sanity.

    It proves once again, however, that voters should not allow themselves to be seduced by silver tongued candidates who probably have no idea what they are talking about (or getting into) while they are running for office. Bush and Obama are exhibits 1 and 2.

    elizabeth (9f16e4)

  11. I’ve never paid attention to anything Gleen says, because –

    – he hasn’t lived in this country for awhile, and
    – he was outed for narcissistic usage of sockpuppetry in defending his positions.

    Sorry, but the latter offense I don’t believe he’ll ever completely shake. Fool me once, shame on you…

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  12. Check that first one – he divides his time now between Brazil and the US, so that one is not relevant anymore.

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  13. Greenwald’s alleged objections aside, he’s going to stick with Lord Zero because, like Richard Gere in “An Officer and a Gentleman”….

    “I got nowhere else to go! I got nowhere else to g… I got nothin’ else.”

    MarkJ (d2394a)

  14. It’s gotta be hard to be a recovering Obamabot — you know, one who bought into the “hope and change” mantra so completely and unreservedly. Check out how hard the staff writers of the Dog Trainer are working to convince us that all his backtracking is really a sign of how much more reasonable and pragmatic Obama is than George W. Bush. So what we are left with is this:

    fall 2008: Obama deserves our support because he would be a complete and decisive break from all of those disastrous and divisive Bush policies.

    spring 2009: Obama deserves our continued support because he is pragmatic and willing to continue with the Bush policies that he previously opposed if it turns out they are the least-worst options.

    I have all along maintained that, like it or not, Obama will be reelected in 2012. Hopefully though, the people who vote for him in 2012 will be more clear-eyed and mature and realize that he is not some sort of messiah or manifestation of progressive perfection. He is simply a Chicago politician who trades ideals and principles in order to maintain power.

    JVW (eabe68)

  15. These guys focus on Obama’s debt

    Neo (46a1a2)

  16. “Never let a crisis go to waste” doesn’t sound so clever when you and yours are feeling the proverbial bus rolling over them. Were you suckered? Don’t ask, we won’t tell.

    Californio (6657ce)

  17. It’s all about power and free handouts.

    That’s the only principles the Dems have or ever had.

    Comment by Dave Surls

    Ha! oh please. Sorry, some people genuinely do care about civil liberties and the rule of law. We’re Democrats, of course, because the only principles republicans have are “bomb now, bomb forever” and ‘fuck the poor’.

    :)

    bored now (b97d7d)

  18. “What should one say about a person who vehemently objected to X when Bush did it, but then suddenly found ways to defend or mitigate X when Obama does it?

    Hello, leftist.

    Terry Gain (4f27d2)

  19. The only two possibilities for Obama’s reversals are that he was lying for political advantage (especially to separate himself from Hillary) or he was sincere and naive. I think I’d prefer the former; a president that naive scares the hell out of me. As if he didn’t already!

    Comment by Deuce Geary — 5/17/2009 @ 12:46 pm

    It’s clearly the latter. Look at his economic policies.

    Terry Gain (4f27d2)

  20. “…the opposition of the last eight years was really just a cynical means for opportunistically weakening and demonizing Republican opponents…”–Greenwald.

    True.

    Glenn actually makes sense, if you do a little judicious editing of his remarks.

    Dave Surls (89aec3)


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