In our current state of political discourse, the idea of thinking before reacting is getting rarer and rarer. The Thing that Used to be Conservatism, being almost entire a creature of the Conservative Infotainment Complex, seems to never give much thought to its positions these days beyond, “Does this have a chance of ginning up the mob against Obama?” If so, then they run with it, even if its stupid and totally counter to what conservatism used to actually believe.
Case in point: the current hoopla over Bob Woodward. All that it is necessary for the Thing that Used to be Conservatism to know is that Woodward dissed the Prez. All of a sudden he is a hero martyr and FOX and Drudge are issuing the appropriate directives and cues to the faithful:
Only here’s the thing: the “madness” Woodward is protesting is the “madness” of Obama not just sweeping aside the rule of law and doing whatever the hell he feels like because he’s King. Glenn Greenwald, who is actually honest, has the scoop:
That the Obama administration might actually honor the budget cuts mandated by a law enacted by Congress and signed by Obama infuriates Bob Woodward, Washington’s most celebrated journalist. He appeared this week on the “Morning Joe” program to excoriate Obama for withholding a second aircraft carrier in the Gulf, saying:
“Can you imagine Ronald Reagan sitting there and saying ‘Oh, by the way, I can’t do this because of some budget document?’ Or George W Bush saying, ‘You know, I’m not going to invade Iraq because I can’t get the aircraft carriers I need’ or even Bill Clinton saying, ‘You know, I’m not going to attack Saddam Hussein’s intelligence headquarters,’ as he did when Clinton was president, because of some budget document.
“Under the Constitution, the president is commander-in-chief and employs the force. And so we now have the president going out because of this piece of paper and this agreement, I can’t do what I need to do to protect the country. That’s a kind of madness that I haven’t seen in a long time.”
As Brian Beutler points out: “the obscure type of budget document Woodward’s referring to is called a duly enacted law — passed by Congress, signed by the President — and the only ways around it are for Congress to change it. . . . or for Obama to break it.” But that’s exactly what Woodward is demanding: that Obama trumpet his status as Commander-in-Chief in order to simply ignore – i.e. break – the law, just like those wonderful men before him would have done. Woodward derides the law as some petty, trivial annoyance (“this piece of paper”) and thus mocks Obama’s weakness for the crime of suggesting that the law is something he actually has to obey.
But whatever Obama’s motives might be, the fact is that what we call “law” really does require some cuts in military spending. To refuse to do so would be to assert powers not even most monarchs have: to break the law at will. Woodward is right about one point: not only would prior presidents have been willing to do this, this is exactly what they did. Indeed, George Bush’s entire presidency was explicitly predicated on the theory that the president has the power to break the law at will whenever he deems that doing so promotes national security. That America’s most celebrated journalist not only supports this, but demands that all presidents follow this model of lawlessness, is telling indeed.
Our Ruling Class–and the liars and demagogues who constitute the Conservative Infotainment Complex that is currently faking concern about Woodward as some sort of valiant hero for speaking truth to power–are in fact all about the lawless use of power just as Obama is when the Constitution gets in the way. Of course the TTUTBC isn’t in favor of *total* lawlessness. But as is typical for the War Party, they crave the lawless use of power in order to throw military might about. They love that stuff, even when Obama does it. But the main issue is: they crave the lawless use of power. And that by Obama, whom they gin up the base to believe is Hitler, Stalin and Mao all rolled up together, while cheering for Woodward’s demand that he ignore the rule of law.
Why anybody would trust any of these mooks is beyond me. They are a joke.