Sorry, Krystal Ball --We Should Hold All Presidents To The Same Standards

I've been listening to the talking heads on the right rant and rave all week now about how Democrats are hypocrites because they didn't speak up about this drone program from the Obama administration and that is somehow equal to George W. Bush
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I've been listening to the talking heads on the right rant and rave all week that Democrats are hypocrites because they didn't speak up about this drone program from the Obama administration, and that is somehow equal to George W. Bush sanctioning torture. That if everyone is not equally outraged and calling for accountability or impeachment, they should just shut up because they're just partisans who don't really care about any of this if it means speaking out against their own party.

Examples like this one aren't helping the cause any. As Digby noted, we had Fox on the attack, quoting John Yoo and calling the Obama administration hypocrites, and then we were treated to Krystal Ball proving their point:

Today's Fox News Special Report showed footage of Candidate Obama in 2008 hotly condemning the Bush administration's extra-judicial terrorism policies and then the "all-stars" debated whether President Obama and all his supporters are hypocrites. It's hard to argue that there isn't some serious hypocrisy going on here. Unless you are Stephen "those WMD are there somewhere I swear it" Hayes who insisted that he is not a hypocrite, he's nothing but a pansy who's letting terrorists run free, I tell you, free! Everyone nodded solemnly. [...]

Meanwhile on MSNBC, Krystal Ball proves their point. She starts off saying that she's mostly "ok" with the drone program but thinks it needs more transparency and oversight. And then she discusses what really bothers her about the debate: the idea that we should have the same standards for all presidents. No, I'm not kidding:

Look, I voted for President Obama because I trust his values and his judgment and I believe his is a fundamentally responsible actor. Without gratuitously slamming ex-president Bush, I think he displayed extraordinary lapses in judgement in executing his primary responsibility as commander in chief and put troops in harms way imprudently.

President Obama would have exercised better judgment and he has exercised better judgment. The way it stands now the drone program is exclusively within the domain of the Executive. Their protocol, their judgement. So yeah, I feel a whole lot better about the program when the decider, so to speak, is President Obama. That's not to say that again the process shouldn't be codified, that there shouldn't be oversight.

But really, is our standard so low that we would only grant powers to the executive that we would trust in the hands of a man who misled the nation into a war we never should have been involved in? What would George W. Bush do? That's our standard? We would never allow a power to the presidency that we wouldn't feel comfortable giving to George W. Bush? I think we can raise the bar a little bit from that.

For a little perspective, let's keep in mind that the president does have the unilateral power to drop nuclear bombs and destroy the whole planet. Do you feel the same about George W. Bush having that power as President Obama? Call me a hypocrite but I sure don't.

Glenn Greenwald's been calling this out for years, but I defy him to find a better example of the hypocrisy that drives him so crazy. Obviously, this is a fairly common belief among those who believe the President they voted for is "good" and the one they don't like is "bad" but it's rare that you see anyone boldly say that they think the standard should be different for their own because well ... he's a better person. It takes a certain courage (or blindness) to come right out and admit it. [...]

Personally, I think all presidents have too much power over life and death in this American Empire. But I really don't trust presidents who create new powers to torture, kidnap and kill civilians with no due process and no accountability out of whole cloth. Bush did all that. As far as we know, Obama isn't doing the torturing and kidnapping, but eliminating two out of three is hardly virtuous. And he's doing exactly what Bush did by issuing secret memos giving him extra-judicial powers, this time to draw up lists of humans to be targeted by drone planes --- and he gave himself the power to order the murder of American citizens with no due process at all. That's new. Very new. I think if anyone had blind faith in the president's judgment that fact should make them take their blinders off.

And sadly we're going to see this interview run every time those who supported Bush want to make excuses for what went on during his administration. Two wrongs don't make a right if liberals actually want to help to put an end to the policies that have allowed this drummed up "war on terror" to continue into the next administration, we need to be pushing Congress to repeal the authority to use military force.

Shame on Krystal Ball for pretending that there should be different standards for different administrations, based on whether you trust them or not. That's not a standard anyone should be proud to adhere to.

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