Patterico's Pontifications

5/22/2009

Dr. Obama

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 12:49 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

During the Presidential campaign, Barack Obama challenged John McCain’s call for a spending freeze, quipping it was the equivalent of “using a hatchet where you need a scalpel.” Likewise, in yesterday’s Presidential address on national security, Obama explained his position on state secrets by again referring to surgery:

“On all these matters related to the disclosure of sensitive information, I wish I could say that there was some simple formula out there to be had. There is not. These often involve tough calls, involve competing concerns, and they require a surgical approach. But the common thread that runs through all of my decisions is simple: We will safeguard what we must to protect the American people, but we will also ensure the accountability and oversight that is the hallmark of our constitutional system. I will never hide the truth because it’s uncomfortable. I will deal with Congress and the courts as co-equal branches of government. I will tell the American people what I know and don’t know, and when I release something publicly or keep something secret, I will tell you why. (Applause.)”

My first, fleeting thought was to wonder if Obama really wanted to be a doctor instead of a lawyer, but I know that’s not the case. Obama is a man of words, not deeds, and his use of surgical metaphors is no accident. We’ve been conditioned to trust what surgeons tell us — especially to trust in their skill — and the Obama Administration wants that same level of trust. But while we must trust a surgeon during surgery, we should have more input when it comes to the way the government spends our money and makes decisions that affect our lives.

Finally, now that we know Obama “will never hide the truth because it’s uncomfortable,” I trust he will agree to VP Dick Cheney’s request that Obama release the memos showing “the information that, Cheney says, those [enhanced] interrogations successfully helped prevent another attack on the homeland since 9/11.”

If he wants, we can call it informed consent.

— DRJ

40 Responses to “Dr. Obama”

  1. “Im a Doctor, not a . . .” what that line didn’t occur to you.

    narciso (41e035)

  2. I will never hide the truth because it’s uncomfortable. I will deal with Congress and the courts as co-equal branches of government. I will tell the American people what I know and don’t know, and when I release something publicly or keep something secret, I will tell you why.

    A larger pile of hoo-ha has not been uttered by Teh One this week. It is blocking the declassification of the information obtained by the waterboarding of the 3 individuals that former VP Cheney has repeatedly called for.

    DRJ – As the Left demonstrated yesterday, both with Teh One’s words, and his lapdogs in the MSM following, they will not directly address the effectiveness of waterboarding, nor the results. When Axelrod was questioned by Mathews on this, he followed the same construction as Barcky, in saying that it was not the most effective method of obtaining that information, implying implicitly that it was effective in the cases Cheney alludes to, and that they do not wish to actually discuss those cases.

    Also interesting was the fact that Barcky ignored, and Axelrod refused to answer questions about how Teh One reserved the rights to employ EIT in emergency situations, while simultaneously denouncing same.

    JD (d4c917)

  3. Exactly, where are the memos that show what we learned from “enhanced interrogation”?

    He released the far more sensitive methods memos because it was convenient ( so much for the surgery ).

    This guy is really making Bill Clinton look honest and straightforward.

    SPQR (72771e)

  4. DRJ, you MAY (not are, not necessarily but MAY) be giving Teh WON more credit than he deserves. I don’t think he has the smarts to come up with that connection. Others in his zoo might have but I’m not sure he does.

    GM Roper (85dcd7)

  5. So many words to say so little…

    the wolf (7cffb6)

  6. First he classifies every document he could while in office and now he can’t get access to classified secret documents.

    Cheney knew when he made the request that it wouldn’t happen.

    steve (650d04)

  7. steve, that’s a funny spin since it was Obama that decided to selectively declassify.

    Cheney does not need access, he already knows what is in the documents. He’s just not going to leak like the sieve that is Obama’s administration.

    Pay attention.

    SPQR (72771e)

  8. Obama and his “scalpel” and “surgical bankruptcies”.

    If there was ever a little boy that should not be allowed to play with sharp knives or other instruments, our Ear Leader was the one!

    Mike Myers (674050)

  9. steve – Are you related to Andrew?

    JD (a0720d)

  10. i don’t think he’d have made it through med school.

    corwin (afb154)

  11. But, corwin, Teh One is the smarterest President EVAH !

    JD (a0720d)

  12. McCain’s call for a spending freeze, quipping it was the equivalent of “using a hatchet where you need a scalpel.”

    McCain’s call for a spending freeze was more like using a penknife when you really need one of them ginormous, humongous truck goobers with the hydraulic arms to grab whole forests at a time, and the 84″ carbide disk to chop stuff off at the roots…

    But that’s not a sufficiently distinct difference for a nuanced character like Barcky. Makes me darn glad I got my gall bladder & stuff done by somebody who understood what surgery really is.

    Sometimes, surgery is messy and requires power tools.

    EW1(SG) (5766f7)

  13. Hey, what happened to the Dem’s screeching calls for a “truth commission?” Congress backpedalled on it immediately yesterday? You’re kiddding!

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  14. Dmac, turns out that they can’t handle the Truth …

    SPQR (72771e)

  15. There is something about surgery that attracted me to it and would not be at all attractive to Obama. First, everybody knows that surgeons are frequently rather arrogant. In some circles this is called confidence but it is also partly the knowledge that whatever happens, you own the result. I know some tentative surgeons who will muddle around and never seem to get to the point (so to speak). They nibble at things. Others can be rash and a surgeon friend once told me, “Beware of the courageous surgeon; the patient is the one taking the chances.”

    Somewhere in between is the person who knows that, at least in elective surgery, like cancer and heart disease, you have to have enough confidence in yourself to be willing to take the well person sitting in front of you and make them very sick in the certainty you can get them well again. That is one reason why trauma is popular these days. The patient arrives maximally ill and the surgeon is rarely blamed if things go badly.

    Anyway, I don’t see someone like Obama being at all interested in anything as objective and measurable as surgery. Rhetoric may help convince patients to trust you but it doesn’t get them well. Some of the best surgeons I know have poor bedside manner and some of the worst scoundrels are beloved by patents.

    No, surgery is not something Obama would be interested in. No Teleprompters in the operating room.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  16. Comment by steve — 5/22/2009 @ 2:27 pm

    The Vice-President has no inherent authority to classify anything, only that authority delegated by the President.
    Therefore, I think that if you have any heartburn over documents allegedly classified by the V-P, your real argument is with President G.W.Bush, for he is the ultimate classifier/declassifier of sensitive information within the Executive Branch.

    AD - RtR/OS! (6a6a3b)

  17. …between 1/20/01 & 1/20/09!

    AD - RtR/OS! (6a6a3b)

  18. “I don’t see someone like Obama being at all interested in anything as objective and measurable as surgery.”

    Mike K – It’s not just surgery. Look at his speeches. They’re all platitudes instead of specifics exactly so he can’t be pinned down. Save or create x million jobs? How the hell can you measure that. The man is deathly afraid of accountability, which was why he voted present so many times in the Illinois Senate.

    His promise of transparency is not working out very well for him either, being honored mostly in its breach.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  19. “Dr Obama.” I like that.

    The Emperor (09c9e3)

  20. President G.W.Bush…is the ultimate classifier/declassifier of sensitive information within the Executive Branch.

    Which presented no obstacle to Cheney, when it suited him.

    In his grand jury testimony, Mr. Libby said the president had secretly declassified crucial intelligence on Iraq for Mr. Libby’s use, at the request of the vice president and without the knowledge of other ranking officials. White House officials have said Mr. Bush never knew exactly how Mr. Libby planned to use the information.

    Selective portions of a NIE on Iraq’s WMDs were leaked to Judith Miller at the St. Regis Hotel on July 8, 2003.

    steve (79b303)

  21. The President does not need anyone else’s permission to declassify Executive Branch information, and is not obligated to notify anyone that he will do so, or has done so.
    Also, once information is declassified, it can be given to anyone, which kind of makes what was given to Judith Miller (if it was declassified by the President prior to its’ release) not a “leak”.

    AD - RtR/OS! (6a6a3b)

  22. Lots of classified material was leaked and the leaks were damaging to the country. The Bush administration did far too little to defend itself and us from these problems. They spent the last two years of his second term in a fetal position, as best I can tell.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  23. steve does not mind when Teh One lies to him.

    JD (a0720d)

  24. steve, if you are so interested in leaks, why don’t you contact the New York Tines and find out how they came up with classified information to splash in their paper during the Bush Administration.

    Paul (creator of "Staunch Brayer") (14d6a1)

  25. Paul – Don’t be silly. That does not fit with Teh Narrative.

    JD (a0720d)

  26. daley:

    The man is deathly afraid of accountability …

    I agree but I’m not sure why. My guess is that he’s afraid to do anything that makes him look less than perfect. I don’t know what makes Obama tick but these are common traits in some law students and young lawyers — they can be insecure and arrogant at the same time. Most outgrow these traits as they get older and gain experience but, at least for lawyers, it’s harder to avoid when you are given too much responsibility too early in your career.

    DRJ (f55947)

  27. DRJ – I think it comes from spending more time running for office, as opposed to actually doing the job that you ran for. He is comfortable with being all things to all people, pandering to the interest groups, and saying things that allows people to hear what they want to hear, without actually saying anything.

    But your explanation is prolly more nuanced, and more correct 😉

    JD (a0720d)

  28. Good one, nk! I used to play a lot of golf, and that joke captures the way a lot of golfers feel about the game.

    [Wrong thread. Sorry. — DRJ]

    DRJ (f55947)

  29. Yeah, so? I got it. I read all your comments on every thread. But JD’s Tiger Woods joke on the other thread had my wife telling me to stop laughing.

    nk (a1896a)

  30. The man is deathly afraid of accountability

    Some people don’t want accountability because of arrogance (I don’t answer to anyone) and sometimes it because they don’t want to be found out. They do everything to keep observers from discovering they really are not as smart, capable, secure, confident, or as brilliant as has been assumed. What if people found out Obama was just, well, average?

    I get the impression Obama has been protected from failing by handlers and mentors and people within the machinery. It’s a good thing to be allowed to fail. After all, a man has to know his limitations. Then accountability becomes less fearful.

    Dana (aedf1d)

  31. Finally, now that we know Obama “will never hide the truth because it’s uncomfortable,” I trust he will agree to VP Dick Cheney’s request that Obama release the memos showing “the information that, Cheney says, those [enhanced] interrogations successfully helped prevent another attack on the homeland since 9/11.”

    Rest assured that if the memos did not support Cheney they would have already been released, to much fanfare.

    As for surgery may I suggest that the surgical term to describe Obama’s economic policies is a lobotomy. Or perhaps disembowelment.

    Terry Gain (6b2a64)

  32. steve, once again, your own quotation does not prove what you want it to prove.

    Happens a lot to you.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  33. SPQR – I’m never sure what steve is trying to prove other than to avoid admitting buyers remorse for electing a shameless unqualified liar President.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  34. “Pre-med, pre-law, what’s the difference?”

    Rich Fader (295108)

  35. SPQR – I’m never sure what steve is trying to prove other than to avoid admitting buyers remorse for electing a shameless unqualified liar President.

    Daley, also remember that steve didn’t want to admit that the full 45 minute Rev. Write video showed the full emotional context of his remarks, and continually asked me (along with stef–remember her?) to say what was different from the full transcript. He argued this for six hours, in which he could have viewed that video 7 1/2 times.

    Paul (creator of "Staunch Brayer") (14d6a1)

  36. Whoops, “Wright”

    Paul (creator of "Staunch Brayer") (14d6a1)

  37. Paul – stef was the precursor to obtuse progtard sniper v2.o imdw.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  38. That she was, Daley.

    Paul (creator of "Staunch Brayer") (14d6a1)

  39. Yes Obama will declassify anything whether or not it makes the American public uncomfortable, but if it’s embarrassing to democraps you won’t find any transparency or accountability. And it has now been five months since Mr. Obama was sworn in. How are all those legislative bills showing up on his government website which was another of his empty pledges? What about the five day waiting period? Congress just passed the Credit Card Act and Obama signed it virtually the next day, where was the wait so the US public could read it?

    eaglewingz08 (e40a12)

  40. “…so the US public could read it?”

    I doubt if even half of the interested staff at the WH read it.

    The Obama Administration: Hopeing you don’t notice our Changing of the promises we made so we wouldn’t look like the other guys whose policies we’re actually following.

    AD - RtR/OS! (cc479c)


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