Thursday, February 07, 2013

Dr. Jekyll and President Hyde

By Frank Moraes

My friend Andrea gets mad at me when I rag on the president too much. To her, Obama is so much better than Bush that we should just be grateful that we don't have a complete fucking idiot in the White House. But here's the thing: I am grateful. I usually defend myself by saying, "I think Obama is the best president we could ever expect to have!" But this is more a statement of my terrifying level of cynicism than it is of my opinion of Obama.

Let me pull back for a moment. If I were in the Senate and I got to question John Brennan today, I would have only one question for him, "Do you want to be head of the CIA?" I assume his answer would be, "Yes." And that would tell me everything I needed to know. "Then I'm afraid, Mr. Brennan, that you are not qualified to run the CIA. I'm very sorry. I hope you will spend the rest of your life volunteering at a local homeless shelter. The second to last place we can afford to put a power hungry asshole in charge is at the CIA."

The very last place we can afford to put a power-hungry asshole in charge is the presidency of the United States. I suspect that when Obama was a community organizer, he was a great guy. He was the kind of guy who should be the President of the United States. But once he started to be noticed as a member of the Illinois State Senate? And certainly, by the time he became a United States Senator? He'd been corrupted.

Look, I'm sure even in December 2008, Obama still thought that he would do a lot. He still thought he would stand up for his ideals. But once he was in office, when it came to the stuff he had complete control over, he acted as despots have everywhere at every time. And nowhere is that more clear than in his approach to killing Americans that he doesn't like.

Hey, I understand! There is no up-side to protecting civil rights and all that garbage about upholding the Constitution. But there is an upside to being the badass president. No president ever looked bad because he didn't care about civil rights. Nixon? People don't like him because of Watergate -- a scandal that at this point just seems strange. Bombing Cambodia? What's a "Cambodia"? Paranoia and the "enemies list"? Unitary executive? "When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal"? None of that. It's all Watergate and no one even remembers what that was all about.

But that doesn't mean I have to accept it. And if the Democrats stand for anything at all, we will see it today in the questioning of John Brennan. 


Five seconds of wonderful:

(Cross-posted at Frankly Curious.)

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