Well, if I embrace that philosophy, I can easily accept Leon Panetta as the new head of the CIA. Why? Because Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Jay Rockefeller, who both rolled over on torture, FISA and various other abuses, have a problem with him.
And under the circumstances, maybe that's a good thing. Maybe it'll be a good thing to have someone who isn't buddies with the people who perpetuated the horrors of the past eight years. Or maybe it won't, but what the hell, it's worth a shot.
And Salon's Joan Walsh agrees with me:
In other Obama news: I wasn't sure what to make of the appointment of Leon Panetta as CIA director -- until I heard that Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Jay Rockefeller opposed it. That's not entirely true: I thought the competent and popular Panetta, who came out strongly against Bush administration torture, detention and interrogation policies, was a clear message that Obama wants to change the way our intelligence agencies do business. The two Democrats' pique -- they say Obama didn't vet Panetta with them -- is a good sign that Panetta's not viewed as an insider who will simply roll over for what the intelligence establishment wants, since Feinstein and Rockefeller did little or nothing to stand up against Bush policies (and Glenn Greenwald agrees with me.)
On MSNBC's "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue," I said I trust Obama and Panetta on these issues far more than Feinstein and Rockefeller. Pat Buchanan and David Shuster predicted the opposition of Feinstein and Rockefeller would liberate congressional Republicans to savage Panetta in confirmation hearings; I trust he'll make it through, with Obama's strong backing.