I have never been one of those who saw Barack Obama with blinders on, projecting all my best liberal hopes upon him. However, that said, I will say that just days from his inaugural, it is heartbreaking to my liberal soul to see Obama become so deeply embedded into the Beltway Bubble crowd that he can validate all the logical fallacies that have had so many of us beating our head against the wall for the last eight years.
For example, in a discussion of the War on Terror and what measures must be taken to "keep the country safe," Obama tells host George Stephanopoulos that he appreciates Cheney's advice to not judge the Bush administration's action without the full knowledge of what has taken place, a strange challenge from the most malevolently secretive executive this country has seen, though one not completely ignored by Obama:
"I think that was pretty good advice, which is I should know what’s going on before we make judgments and that we shouldn’t be making judgments on the basis of incomplete information or campaign rhetoric," Obama said. "So, I’ve got no problem with that particular quote. I think if Vice President Cheney were here, he and I would have some significant disagreements on some things that we know happened."
Now, I wish I could be as post-partisan as Obama, because my inclination is to retort back that taking Cheney's advice on how to keep the country safe would be a little like taking Bernie Madoff's advice on my 401k. Maybe that's why public office isn't really my forte. More troubling though is Obama's hedging on items that the country has said definitively they want him to work on--like closing Gitmo.
"It is more difficult than I think a lot of people realize," [..].
"We are going to get it done but part of the challenge that you have is that you have a bunch of folks that have been detained, many of whom may be very dangerous, who have not been put on trial or have not gone through some adjudication. And some of the evidence against them may be tainted even though it’s true," Obama said.
"And so how to balance creating a process that adheres to rule of law, habeas corpus, basic principles of Anglo-American legal system, by doing it in a way that doesn’t result in releasing people who are intent on blowing us up. That’s a challenge."
Really? Intent on blowing us up? Let me explain something: if you held me for over five years without charge or basic judicial rights, I'd want to blow you up too. Hell, I'd like it if you stop trying to feed me through my nose. It's not that complicated. If they're dangerous, try them. By holding them without charges or trials, WE'RE ACTUALLY MAKING US LESS SAFE, because we are confirming every bad thing the global community thinks about how the US considers itself above the law.
And finally, Stephanopoulos brings up Bob Fertik's (of Democrats.com and Change.org) campaign to get the Obama administration to commit to investigating the Bush administration for their abuse of office. While not a definitive "no" like Pelosi, et al., Obama is clearly hedging his bets:
We’re still evaluating how we’re going to approach the whole issue of interrogations, detentions, and so forth…And obviously we’re going to be looking at past practices. I don’t believe that anybody is above the law.
I realize there's a danger in saying too much before the inauguration (and while Bush can still issue pardons), but I find it disheartening that the "Change We Can Believe In" does not include accountability. The whole notion that we shouldn't look back is ridiculous, even when Reid and Pelosi used it. Our whole notion of criminal justice is all about looking back. Unless of course, we've developed some sort of "Minority Report"-like ability to charge people with crimes before they commit them.