I agree with Shakesville.
via Op-Ed Columnist – Forgive and Forget? – NYTimes.com.
And to protect and defend the Constitution, a president must do more than obey the Constitution himself; he must hold those who violate the Constitution accountable. So Mr. Obama should reconsider his apparent decision to let the previous administration get away with crime. Consequences aside, that’s not a decision he has the right to make.
You know, it’s funny how much I’ve been re-evaluating the Bush presidency recently…in particular, I’ve been re-evaluating the numerous breaches of legality that I perceive this administrations to be so manifestly guilty of.
Contrary to expectation, this is not because of the imminent inauguration. Instead, it is because I’m reading the final volume in the Oxford History of the United States, which deals with foreign policy. In particular, I was struck by a revelation that a certain president had directed the FBI to wiretap his political opponents to discover valuable political information.
Not Nixon, though he did it too.
Not Bush, though he almost certainly did it.
Regan might have done it.
The prez I speak of, however, is best known as the author of the New Deal.
Yeah, FDR. Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
I was a little shocked, but mostly bemused. I suppose that’s my real point, which is I have perceived the extreme violations of this administration as though they were isolated, when they in fact seem to be a part of a continuing tradition from the start of the 20th century that saw each president strain to expand the limits of their powers.
The term “Imperial Presidency” did not start with Bush, after all, but instead back with Teddy Roosevelt.
So, the real trick is this: if Obama tries to hold the prior Presidency accountable for its numerous abuses, he is most likely simultaneously limiting his own power as president. While I have no problem with this, and I in fact approve of it, I admit skepticism that any president would follow such a course: Obama’s vaunted pragmatism so far might suggest that it is unlikely.
Aside from the question of likelihood, we must also ask ourselves: is it the crime or violation that offends us, or is it that the wrong people committed these acts using the wrong ideology, leading to the wrong outcomes?
In my opinion, if the Bush administration should be prosecuted, it should not be for the typical transgression of political abuses which most administrations seem to indulge in, but for the far worse and blatantly illegal human rights violations they purposely enacted in the “War on Terror.”
First, who did FDR authorize wiretaps on? Secondly, is the term “Imperial Presidency” being used in the same manner with Teddy as it is with Bush?
And finally: I would be lying if I said both the crime and the individual did not offend me. I am inclined to believe that their “political transgressions” are more significant than you have made them out to be. In regards to the human rights violations, it sounds like you are asking for the individuals behind the War On Terror to be held accountable for violating basic human rights–wouldn’t this lead to actions in the Hague?
I’m too sleepy (and too simultaneously anticipating/dreading Snow Day with the Nublet) to get into huge detail right now, but there’s been a discussion along these lines going on over here. The main thrust of which have been that Wilson, FDR and Lincoln (the latter two of whom are considered heroes in) racked up civil rights violations that would’ve made Bush dizzy. And nobody talks about it.
I read a journal/memoir kept by a Confederate soldier from Maryland, the first two chapters of which boiled down to “Well, I was gonna sit this whole thing out at college, but then I saw people getting impressed for the Union Army off the streets of Baltimore.”
There is still a difference between Lincoln’s, Roosevelt’s and Bush’s violations of civil and human rights. Part of the problem I find in the debate thus far is each side is saying “They violated civil rights.” We need to be a bit more specific as to which is violation is being discussed. And to be fair: What FDR and Lincoln did DOES make some of us on the left Dizzy. The characterizations that “Liberal’s don’t pay attention/don’t care about their own heroes” doesn’t do much to bridge understanding.
I do not believe internment was acceptable. As for FBI Wiretaps, I want Seth to tell me more about it.
I don’t know as much about Lincoln as I should. I do know that people were being pressed into service from Baltimore to Charlotte (yeah irish!) I am aware of the Habeus Corpus suspension and the argument therein. I disapprove of what I know as much as I disapprove of Bush’s policies.
The characterizations that “Liberal’s don’t pay attention/don’t care about their own heroes” doesn’t do much to bridge understanding.
It’s a perception, is all. It’s what I perceive from the same giggly Livejournal crowd whose brand of logical reasoning seems to go “Sarah Palin is stupid because Tina Fey dresses up like Sarah Palin and says stupid things.” People like you, who think and are reasonably courteous, seem to be a rarity as far as I can tell.
What upsets me is the constant media and…hmm, paramedia?, that whole conglomeration of underinformed celebrities of all stripes…drumbeat of “Bush did X,Y, and Z and is therefore EVIL BEYOND ANY HOPE OF REDEMPTION”, without ever once mentioning that, er, it’s been done. Repeatedly. By the good guys. Hell, they could compare him to Wilson if they wanted, and leave FDR and Lincoln out of it…nobody likes Wilson. 🙂 But every time I see it, it’s presented like it’s some heinous towering crime that has no precedent in Western history, ever, period. This raises my hackles. (I joke, with some truth, that 40 percent of the reason I voted for Bush in 04 was because it would take a gun to my head to make me vote Democrat. The other 60 percent was spite.)
I do know that people were being pressed into service from Baltimore to Charlotte (yeah irish!) I am aware of the Habeus Corpus suspension and the argument therein.
Which, seriously? No one knows. I consider myself to have a reasonable layman’s knowledge of history, and then people think I’m a history buff for knowing about stuff like this. Maybe it’s from growing up in Atlanta… 🙂
Discussions like this swing me back toward homeschooling Nublet. History > mass-consumption feelgoodery, kthx. But I digress.
Bet you didn’t know I had a problem with digressing, did you?
mommacow: which what? The arguement or which city?
As per perception, I think that maybe tainted by limbaugh, malkin and fox. It is also as unfair to characterize the left as loud, whiney and angry as it is to paint the right with the same colors.
In defense of the Sarah Palin – Tina Fey pseudoargument: Tina Fey did say actual quotes during the Couric interview skits. 😛
It’s ok. It makes Joe Biden want to protect her.
Ack, misphrasing FTL. My tone of “voice” was going all Valley Girl on me, and would’ve probably come across as “Which, SERIOUSLY, nobody knows.” Emphasizing the nobody-knows, not asking a question.
Perception is easily shifted. Though most of mine comes from the people in my demographic/interests who lean left (that being most of ’em). I don’t read liberal punditry because 1) it frequently makes me angry and 2) it’s hard enough to ESCAPE the damn stuff.