Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Glenn Greenwald: My Friend The President

Over the past couple of days, Andrew Sullivan has linked to and published protests from various individuals who are quite angry that people "on the left" are being so mean to President Obama, and several of them are so upset that they have decided they are "leaving the left," whatever that might mean. What's most striking about these valiant defenses of Obama is how utterly devoid they are of any substantive points and how, instead, suffuse with weird, even inappropriate, emotional attachments they are. These objections are grounded almost exclusively in (a) a deep-seated conviction that President Obama is a good and just man who means well; (b) their own rather intense upset at seeing him criticized; and (c) a spitting ad hominem fury of the type long directed by Bush followers at any critics of their leader, and generally typical of authoritarian attacks on out-groups critics. Just marvel at some of this:

"Thank goodness people are starting to leave the left. Their abandonment of Obama is as unconscionable as the right's refusal to work with him. . . . This is about decency and working together to solve problems. . . . Obama is almost solitary in his desire and ability to tackle problems of epic proportion while realizing that we live in a very heterogeneous society. . . . The loud-mouths on the Left are becoming nearly as hysterical and vicious as those on the right. . . . I marvel (unhappily) on a daily basis on how myopic and stubborn many of those on the left have become in regards to President Obama. I wonder if any of these people have ever truly had to make hard decisions in their lives. Have they not ever had to weigh all consequences?. . . . These are real choices people, not a schoolyard fantasy, in which our guy, king of the geeks, is finally captain of the kickball team, and now he can pick us fellow geeks and play us all in sweet revenge against the jocks. He is not playing. He is leading. Not even one year in, I am willing to continue to trust his instinct, his grace, his patience and his measured hand. . . .These are the reasons I voted for him. Hope for a leader, not hope for "everything to be completely different from the previous guy regardless of the consequences", which is what I think many immature democrats are upset about. What a bunch of selfish babies. . . . The stuff coming out of "progressive" mouths is all too often on a par with Glenn Beck's abusive rants--both sides (right and left wingers) playing thousand-pound national football with the President as the ball--meaning, kick kick kick, until you bust his dick. This truly makes me sick."

These outbursts include everything other than arguments addressed to the only question that matters: are the criticisms that have been voiced about Obama valid? Has he appointed financial officials who have largely served the agenda of the Wall Street and industry interests that funded his campaign? Has he embraced many of the Bush/Cheney executive power and secrecy abuses which Democrats once railed against -- from state secrets to indefinite detention to renditions and military commissions? Has he actively sought to protect from accountability and disclosure a whole slew of Bush crimes? Did he secretly a negotiate a deal with the pharmaceutical industry after promising repeatedly that all negotiations over health care would take place out in the open, even on C-SPAN? Are the criticisms of his escalation of the war in Afghanistan valid, and are his arguments in its favor redolent of the ones George Bush made to "surge" in Iraq or Lyndon Johnson made to escalate in Vietnam? Is Bob Herbert right when he condemned Obama's detention policies as un-American and tyrannical, and warned: "Policies that were wrong under George W. Bush are no less wrong because Barack Obama is in the White House"?
Read the rest here.

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