Really, Jennifer Granholm?

The New York Times had an article over the weekend about President Obama’s emulation of so many Bush policies in the war on terror, including a great many policies that he once strongly criticized as unconstitutional abuses of executive authority. It included this quote from my former governor, Jennifer Granholm:

For four years, Mr. Obama has benefited at least in part from the reluctance of Mr. Bush’s most virulent critics to criticize a Democratic president. Some liberals acknowledged in recent days that they were willing to accept policies they once would have deplored as long as they were in Mr. Obama’s hands, not Mr. Bush’s.

“We trust the president,” former Gov. Jennifer Granholm of Michigan said on Current TV. “And if this was Bush, I think that we would all be more up in arms because we wouldn’t trust that he would strike in a very targeted way and try to minimize damage rather than contain collateral damage.”

Oi vey. Really? And the idea that Obama isn’t going to always be president doesn’t figure into such reasoning at all? Even if you do trust Obama to exercise unilateral authority to decide who can and can’t be killed, would you trust Mitt Romney? Or Marco Rubio? Or whatever Republican president we may have in the future? The precedent has been set, largely because the leadership of both parties is locked in a bipartisan consensus that as long as a president says they’re doing it for national security, screw the constitution and our treaty obligations. So much for the idea of the rule of law.

And I’d like to be able to accuse Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Dianne Feinstein and other Congressional Democrats of being hypocrites on this, but the truth is they’re not. None of them ever lifted a finger to stop Bush from committing horrendous abuses of executive power. The Patriot Act passed overwhelmingly and has been reauthorized more than once, not only without any demand for reforms to protect privacy but with the explicit demand from Reid and Obama that it be passed without any such safeguards. The FISA reauthorizations passed easily, despite Obama’s promise to filibuster the bill when he was in the Senate if it included telecom immunity (and it did, and he not only didn’t filibuster, he voted for the bill). There have been no prosecutions for torture or illegal surveillance and Obama’s use of the State Secrets Privilege has ensured that there will be no judicial oversight as well. So it’s not really hypocrisy, it’s a bipartisan consensus to say “screw the constitution.”

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  • slc1

    What’s going on with the Democrats is very simple. They are terrified of being accused of being “soft” on terrorism if they say anything negative about this presidential usurpation of power. They remember well how effectively Richard Nixon and his Rethuglican cronies used the charge of “soft” on Communism against the Democrats in the 1950s and 1960s.

  • “Oi vey. Really? And the idea that Obama isn’t going to always be president doesn’t figure into such reasoning at all?”

    ZOMG! The crazies were not crazy after all! Obama is going to do away with future elections and be president for life!!!11111

  • daved

    The depressing slide of the country towards what is more and more an “imperial presidency” reminds me strongly of the way James Blish imagined it in his short novel “They Shall Have Stars” (part of the “Cities in Flight” quadrilogy, if that is a word).

  • atheist

    What is the worst thing:

    -The Jennifer Granholm and her ilk cannot even think 2 years ahead?

    -The slide of our republic into an imperial presidentcy?

    -My failure to do much about it beyond talk?

  • DaveL

    Anyone who would trust any person with unchecked power to imprison, torture, and assassinate is an idiot. Anyone who extends that trust because they happen to belong to the same political party is the very definition of a “useful idiot.”

  • gshelley

    At least she is honest and isn’t coming up with some sort of contorted reasoning why the two situations only look superficially similar as most politicians do in these kind of situations

  • This is the sort of thing that makes me rip my hair out when people say we need more bipartisanship.

  • atheist

    @pinkboi – February 15, 2013 at 11:35 am (UTC -5)

    This is the sort of thing that makes me rip my hair out when people say we need more bipartisanship.

    WORD. We don’t need bipartisanship, we need liberals with guts.

  • slc1

    Attached is a link to a column by the neocon’s favorite hack, Charles Krauthammer, defending the drone strike operations. My only surprise, given the fact that the author hasn’t said anything positive about the president since he entered office, is that the former didn’t criticize the latter for not ordering enough drone strikes and killing enough “terrorists”.

  • atheist

    @slc1 – February 15, 2013 at 11:49 am (UTC -5)

    Attached is a link to a column by the neocon’s favorite hack, Charles Krauthammer, defending the drone strike operations.

    Did you know that Charles Krauthammer invented a race of evil robots designed to take over the universe?

    But seriously, I have no idea why Americans still listen to that freak after he’s been shown to be wrong over and over again. I guess our culture is stuck on stupid.

  • slc1

    Re atheist @ #10

    Americans read Krauthammer because he is still published in (formerly) respectable newspapers like the Washington Post.

  • baal

    “-My failure to do much about it beyond talk?”

    I have a hard time knowing else to do. I see the problem as one of politics so the solutions mor or less need to be in that sphere.

    Raising awareness like Ed does is a huge step in the right direction but most of us have extremely limited listening audiences.

    Specifically pushing for face time to flog the issue with elected officials is also necessary but not sufficient. They need to know about the lack of public support for this crap as well as to be convinced to lean against it in the actual decisional meetings.

    The only other route to action is really expensive on time and foregoing other opportunity – run for offices, show up at the parties caucuses and push for saner reps or other wise show-up.

    I don’t think sitting back and name calling or directing abuse towards the proponents of this type of unlawfulness helps )(unless it’s like Ed’s doing, awareness raising with limited overreach).